March 9, 2017
Matchup: No. 14 Ole Miss (8-5) vs. Furman (8-4)
Dates: March 10-12
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Venue: Swayze Field
Richard Cross, play-by-play
David Dellucci, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
Eli Savoie/David Kellum, play-by-play
Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Series: First Meeting
Last Series: N/A
Friday, March 10, 6:30 PM
» Disney Princess and Character Night
Sunday, March 12, 1:30 PM
» Meet the Rebels Poster Giveaway
» Kids Run the Bases Presented by Belles and Beaus. Kids are invited to come down on the field following the completion of the game.
- With SEC play starting next week, Ole Miss hosts Furman in its final non-conference weekend series.
- Ole Miss is 7-3 all-time versus schools currently in the Southern Conference.
- After splitting a midweek series with Georgia State, the Rebels continue a stretch of five games over six days; all games are part of a homestand.
- The fourth weekend of the season is also the first weekend that the Rebels do not have to face a ranked opponent.
- Ole Miss pitching leads the SEC in opponent batting average (.206), saves (6), fewest hits allowed per nine innings (6.64), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.03), strikeouts per nine innings (11.1) and WHIP (1.04); the strikeout categories rank top 10 nationally.
- Cooper Johnson was named to the watch list for the 2017 Johnny Bench Award Thursday afternoon.
- Ole Miss leads the nation in total attendance entering the weekend with 88,158 fans watching baseball at Swayze Field this season; an average of 8,815 fans per game ranks second in the country.
- With 638 victories at Ole Miss, head coach Mike Bianco is seventh on the SEC’s all-time wins list.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
FRIDAY, 6:30 P.M.
Furman - Will Gaddis, Jr., RHP, 1-1, 2.84 ERA, 19.0 IP
Ole Miss - David Parkinson, Jr., LHP, 2-1, 3.71 ERA, 17.0 IP
- Suffered the loss versus No. 17 Baylor last week, his first loss over his last five starts dating back to the 2016 season
- Against No. 23 UNCW, retired the first 12 hitters he faced and finished his night allowing one earned run on three hits with six strikeouts.
- Earned the win on Opening Day versus No. 6 East Carolina, allowing three runs on six hits while tying career highs for innings pitched (7.0) and strikeouts (6)
- Held the lowest ERA among Rebel starting pitchers in 2016
- Made 22 appearances, including nine starts, and logged 68.0 innings last season
- Transferred to Ole Miss in 2016 after spending one season at Florence-Darlington Technical School
SATURDAY, 1:30 P.M.
Furman - Grant Schuermann, R-So., LHP, 3-0, 4.50 ERA, 18.0 IP
Ole Miss - Brady Feigl, R-So., RHP, 1-1, 6.00 ERA, 15.0 IP
- Has pitched 5.0 innings in each of his three starts
- Earned a win over No. 23 UNCW, his second career start; allowed one run on three hits and two walks without surrendering a hit until the fifth inning
- 2016 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American (Collegiate Baseball)
- Made 26 appearances out of the bullpen in his debut season, the second-most outings on the team and most by a freshman; his 39 strikeouts ranked second among Rebel relievers in 2016
- Career-long outing is 5.1 innings of relief against Mississippi State (April 2, 2016)
- Redshirted the 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery
SUNDAY, 1:30 P.M.
Furman - Matthew Quarles, Sr., RHP, 1-1, 7.71 ERA, 11.2 IP
Ole Miss - TBA
SCOUTING THE PALADINS
Ole Miss and Furman will meet on the diamond for the first time in history, squaring off in the final weekend series before the start of SEC play. The Paladins are 8-4 on the season following a midweek loss to Butler. Hitting .317 as a team, Furman has had success at the plate to start the season, ranking top three in the Southern Conference in nearly every offensive category. Landon Kay and Brandon Elmy lead the way as the top two Paladins in batting average, home runs and RBI. On the mound, the Furman weekend rotation holds a 5-2 record. The team’s ace, Will Gaddis, holds a 2.84 ERA in 19.0 innings over three starts. The Paladins are led by first-year head coach Brett Harker, who was the team’s pitching coach for the past two seasons.
AGAINST THE SOUTHERN CONFERENCE
Ole Miss has not faced many Southern Conference opponents over its history, going 7-3 all-time against the league. Eight of the 10 games versus SoCon teams were with Samford as the Rebels hold a 5-3 record in those contests. Ole Miss also has wins over East Tennessee State in 1983 and Mercer in 2009.
SOMETIMES IT ONLY TAKES ONE
Kyle Watson’s solo home run proved to be all No. 14 Ole Miss needed in a 1-0 victory over Georgia State (March 7). The Rebels claimed a 1-0 victory for the first time since Feb. 23, 2013 (vs. Rhode Island). It was the 54th 1-0 game in program history as well as the fourth consecutive win in that scenario. Three Rebels combined to give Ole Miss its first shutout of 2017. Freshman Ryan Rolison made his first career start, going 5.0 innings and adding five strikeouts. Freshman Greer Holston followed, contributing 2.0 scoreless innings to set up Will Stokes. Pitching for the first time in 10 days, the Ole Miss closer earned his second six-out save of the year. The trio of Rebel arms recorded 10 strikeouts on the night, while walking four.
ETHRIDGE IS ELECTRIC
One of the nation’s top high school pitchers last year, freshman Will Ethridge has been just as dominant at the collegiate level to start his Ole Miss career. In three appearances, including two starts, the right-hander boasts a 1-0 record with a 1.15 ERA over 15.2 innings. The Liburn, Georgia, native is holding opponents to a .082 batting average, which ranks second in the SEC. He has recorded 26 strikeouts, fourth in the conference, while only issuing two walks. Ethridge also cracks the nation’s top 10 in WHIP (0.38) and fewest hits allowed per nine innings (2.30) at sixth and seventh, respectively. In his debut against Arkansas State (Feb. 21), he struck out 10 for the most strikeouts by a freshman since 2007. Making his first relief appearance, Ethridge did not back down from No. 1 TCU (March 5) and retired all six hitters he faced in 2.0 scoreless innings. Three days later versus Georgia State, Ethridge put together a stellar performance of 7.2 scoreless frames to go along with 10 strikeouts for the second time in as many starts.
ON THE MOUND
The Ole Miss pitching staff has been efficient on the mound this season, leading the SEC in several categories and ranking top 25 nationally.
Cooper Johnson NAMED TO JOHNNY BENCH AWARD WATCH LIST
Ole Miss freshman Cooper Johnson was named to the watch list for the 2017 Johnny Bench Award, one of 85 catchers nominated for the award given annually to the top catcher in Division I baseball. Johnson, the top-ranked catcher out of high school last season, has earned the starting nod behind the dish in his first season as a Rebel. Making 10 starts through the first 13 games of the season, the Mundelein, Illinois, native has thrown out five baserunners (three caught stealing, two pickoffs). With only seven attempted stolen bases against Ole Miss so far (second-fewest in the SEC), opponents have been wary of the freshman’s strong arm. The tradition of great catchers at Ole Miss is well known, especially over recent history. Stuart Turner won the Johnny Bench Award in 2013. One year later, Will Allen was an All-American catcher as a 2014 Johnny Bench Award finalist. As a first team All-SEC catcher, Henri Lartigue made the cut of semifinalists in 2016. With a coaching staff filled with guys who played the position, expectations of Rebel catchers are always lofty. Head coach Mike Bianco was a catcher at LSU, while assistant coaches Carl Lafferty and Mike Clement also started behind the plate during their playing days.
THE YEARLY GAUNTLET
Playing ranked opponents in each of the first three weekends of the 2017 campaign, Ole Miss will face its first unranked weekend opponent in Furman. The Rebels are 6-3 versus ranked teams this season, which includes sweeps of both No. 6 East Carolina and No. 23 UNCW in three-game series at Swayze Field. Last season, the Rebels won 12 games against ranked teams which included series victories over No. 2 Louisville, No. 8 LSU and No. 21 Arkansas. Ole Miss also topped No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 4 South Carolina, No. 5 Mississippi State and No. 18 Coastal Carolina, which went on to win the national championship, in games last year. In 2015, the Rebels made the NCAA Tournament after having the nation’s No. 1 strength of schedule.
With 15 freshmen as part of the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, some of the newest young Rebels are making an impact right away. Ole Miss has started four freshmen in the majority of the early games: Thomas Dillard (LF), Cooper Johnson (C), Grae Kessinger (SS) and Cole Zabowski (1B). After Dillard paced Ole Miss in hitting through the first two weekends, Zabowski now leads the team with a .316 average. Meanwhile, Johnson and Kessinger have provided great defense at two of the most important positions on the field.
TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE
Last year, Ole Miss had the luxury of having two closers in lefty Wyatt Short and right-hander Will Stokes. The duo combined for 18 saves in 2016 with Short in the primary role, closing 11 games. After drafted by the Chicago Cubs, Short took his talents to the professional level, and it appeared as if Stokes would become the lone closer on the staff in 2017. However, another Rebel has emerged to join Stokes in the back end of the bullpen. Sophomore Dallas Woolfolk, who’s fastball ranges from 93-95 mph, has become another pitcher that Ole Miss can rely on as a closer. The Southaven, Mississippi, native holds a 1.69 ERA over a team-high six appearances. Along with tallying 14 strikeouts and only one walk, Woolfolk also boasts three saves. Stokes has recorded three saves as well, and the Rebels’ six lead the conference.
GOLSAN GETS GOING
Junior Will Golsan has gotten off to a fast start this season, leading the team in hits (14), runs (9), doubles (4) and total bases (21). He’s shown his versatility in the field as well, starting in his third different position in as many seasons. Golsan won the starting nod at second base following the beginning of his freshman season before moving to first base last year. This season, Golsan has found his home in right field to better showcase his athleticism.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Swayze Field provides the best atmosphere and some of the biggest crowds across the country for college baseball games. The Rebels have won over 70 percent of their home games throughout the past 28 seasons. The combination of winning baseball plus an electric fan base makes Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field a bucket list item for any sports fan. A 2016 survey conducted by D1Baseball.com proved it as Division I baseball coaches ranked Swayze Field top 10 nationally in six different categories, including prettiest setting, best traditions, best overall stadium and most intimidating cracking the top five. Last year, the Rebels averaged 8,502 fans per game, including five contests with the attendance over 10,000, to rank second nationally. In total, 291,714 fans watched Ole Miss Baseball at Swayze Field, which was also the third-highest total attendance in the country. Both marks set season attendance records. With single-game and series records already broken this season, Ole Miss has averaged 8,815 per game to rank second in the nation.
THE 17TH SEASON OF THE BIANCO ERA
The 2017 season is the 17th year of Ole Miss Baseball led by Mike Bianco, the program’s all-time wins leader. With 638 wins at Ole Miss over the past 16+ seasons, Bianco is the winningest and longest active coach in the Southeastern Conference. He ranks seventh on the SEC’s all-time wins list, passing longtime Auburn coach Hal Baird earlier this season. Bianco is also on pace to leapfrog former Vanderbilt coach Roy Mewbourne, who sits in sixth, this season; Mewbourne produced 655 wins in 24 seasons.
ON THE HORIZON
Ole Miss will hit the road to begin next week, traveling south to MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi for a neutral site matchup with Nicholls (March 14). First pitch from the home of the Biloxi Shuckers is scheduled for 7 p.m. Following the midweek contest, the Rebels will return home to lift the lid on Southeastern Conference play by hosting No. 15 Vanderbilt (March 17-19). The first two games of the series will air on SECN+, while the series finale will be a national broadcast on SEC Network.