March 10, 2016
Matchup: No. 13 Ole Miss (12-1) vs. Grambling State (4-6)
Date: March 11-13, 2016
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Venue: Swayze Field
Television: SEC Network+
Tyler Springs (Friday) Richard Cross or Will Kollmeyer (Saturday/Sunday), play-by-play
David Dellucci, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
Richard Cross or David Kellum, play-by-play
Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Series: First Meeting
Last Game: N/A
Saturday, March 12, 1:30 p.m.
Celebrate St. Patty's Day a little early. The team will wear green hats.
Sunday, March 13, 1:30 p.m.
Kids Run the Bases Presented by Belles and Beaus. Kids are invited to come down on the field following the completion of the game.
St. Patty's Celebration. As part of the celebration, the first 1,000 fans will receive a green Ole Miss Baseball jersey koozie.
- Ole Miss is 12-1 for the fourth time in school history and the third under Mike Bianco.
- The Rebels are riding a seven-game winning streak.
- Head coach Mike Bianco is one win away from his 700th career victory and 600th at Ole Miss.
- Ole Miss is coming off a midweek sweep over Southeast Missouri, winning 10-2 Tuesday night and adding a 6-4 comeback victory on Wednesday.
- The Ole Miss bullpen holds a combined ERA of 1.31.
- Rebel relievers have not allowed an earned run in 19.0 innings of work over the past five games.
- Ole Miss is 7-0 when scoring in the first inning, outscoring the opposition 20-6.
- The Rebels are hitting .346 with runners in scoring position, including .417 with the bases loaded.
- Ole Miss will face Grambling State for the first time in program history.
- On March 4, Brady Bramlett became just the second student-athlete ever to be elected into the University of Mississippi Hall of Fame.
- Ole Miss ranks second in the nation in average home attendance, drawing 8,259 fans per game.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
FRIDAY, 6:30 P.M.
Grambling State - TBA
Ole Miss - Brady Bramlett, R-Jr., RHP, 3-0, 2.81 ERA
- Allowed two runs over six innings in win versus Ball State
- Struck out eight in a victory over No. 2 Louisville; has recorded 8+ strikeouts six times in his career
- Pitched five scoreless innings to earn the opening day victory over FIU
- Became just the second student-athlete ever to be named to the University of Mississippi Hall of Fame; also named 2015-16 Who’s Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges
- Serves as the vice-chair of the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)
- Sings in the university choir and serves as the president of Ole Miss SAAC
SATURDAY, 1:30 P.M.
Grambling State - TBA
Ole Miss - Chad Smith, Jr., RHP, 1-1, 4.02 ERA
- Surrendered just two runs over 5.0 innings against No. 18 Coastal Carolina, earning his first win as a Rebel
- Tossed 7.0+ innings and allowed two earned runs versus No. 2 Louisville
- Pitched 3.2 innings in his Ole Miss debut, allowing three runs on four hits
- Selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 23rd round of the 2015 MLB Draft
- Named one of the top 150 MLB Draft prospects by Perfect Game
- Junior college transfer from Wallace State C.C.
SUNDAY, 1:30 P.M.
Grambling State - TBA
Ole Miss - Sean Johnson, R-Jr., RHP, 3-0, 2.20 ERA
- Allowed one hit over six scoreless innings versus Cincinnati, retiring the final 17 batters he faced
- Limited No. 2 Louisville to two runs over 5.1 innings to help the Rebels claim the series
- Earned a victory versus FIU, tossing 5.0 innings in his first start as a Rebel
- Coming off Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss nearly the entire 2015 season
- Named to the 2015 SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll
- In 2014, went 10-1 with 88 strikeouts and 16 walks over 75.0 innings to lead Iowa Western Community College to a national championship
SCOUTING GRAMBLING STATE
A member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Grambling State enters the weekend with a 4-6 record. Three of the Tigers’ four wins have come against rival Southern. Daniel Barnett leads GSU at the plate with a .415 average, including a team-high 15 RBI. On the mound, the Tigers are giving up an average of nine runs per game. Issac O’Bear posts the best record and ERA in the rotation; the redshirt-junior is 2-1 with a 5.19 ERA in three starts, spanning 17.1 innings.
For the fourth time in school history, Ole Miss holds a 12-1 record. The Rebels have won 12 of their first 13 games for the third time under head coach Mike Bianco, having accomplished the feat in 2004 and 2013. The 2013 Rebels got off to a 19-1 start, while the 2003 squad won 18 of the first 19 games of the season. In 1955, Ole Miss began the season 13-1.
BIANCO NEARS MILESTONE VICTORY
Head coach Mike Bianco, already the winningest coach in Ole Miss Baseball history, is just one win away from another milestone victory. The next Rebel win will be Bianco’s 600th at Ole Miss as well as No. 700 for his career. Ole Miss has reached the 30-win plateau in each of Bianco’s previous 15 seasons, proving that the Rebels reload their roster, not rebuild. With 13 postseason appearances in 15 years, five Super Regional appearances over the last 11 years and a College World Series appearance in 2014, Ole Miss has continued to rank among the nation’s elite each season under Bianco. This season, the Rebels are off to a fast start, winning 12 of their first 13 games for the fourth time in school history and third under Bianco.
Ole Miss increased its winning streak to seven games with a midweek sweep over Southeast Missouri. The Rebels started the series by cruising to a 10-2 win. The Ole Miss bats were hot, tallying 13 hits on the night and sending in three RBI with the bases loaded. Nine Rebels tallied at least one hit, and the team racked up six extra-base hits throughout the evening. Freshman James McArthur picked up his first career win, allowing just two runs over 5.0 innings. In the final game of the two-game set, Ole Miss needed to rally late to beat the Redhawks 6-4. Will Golsan’s two-run homer tied the game in the seventh, and Holt Perdzock delivered a pinch-hit two-RBI single to lead No. 13 Ole Miss in the comeback victory. Retiring all four batters he faced to end the game, closer Wyatt Short picked up his first win of the season.
BRINGING THE RELIEF
The Ole Miss bullpen has been a reliable force throughout the start of the 2016 campaign. As a group, the staff boasts a 4-0 record to go along with five saves and a combined 1.31 ERA in relief appearances. Five Rebel relievers have a 0.00 ERA, including closer Wyatt Short, who ranks third in the SEC with three saves on the season. Freshman Andy Pagnozzi is 2-0 out of the bullpen with a 1.38 ERA, the only Ole Miss reliever earning more than one victory at this point. Over the past five games, the Rebel bullpen has pitched 19.0 innings without surrendering an earned run. The excellent relief pitching helped Ole Miss sweep the Chanticleer Classic and collect a pair of midweek wins over Southeast Missouri.
BRAMLETT ELECTED TO HALL OF FAME, WHO’S WHO HONOREE
While on the road with the team, starting pitcher Brady Bramlett received some major recognition on campus. A redshirt junior on the field but a senior academically, Bramlett was named to the 2015-16 University of Mississippi Hall of Fame. The Bartlett, Tennessee native was one of 10 seniors throughout the entire university that earned the honor. He was also just the second student-athlete ever to be elected into the university’s hall of fame, joining Maggie McFerrin of women’s basketball (2013). Bramlett was selected based on his academic achievement, community service and potential for future success. He represents the SEC and serves as the Vice-Chair of the NCAA National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is a representative on the NCAA Strategic Vision and Planning Committee, a subcommittee of the NCAA Division I Council. Bramlett is also a representative on the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee. Bramlett’s busy schedule off the field includes serving as president of the Ole Miss SAAC, singing in the university choir and working towards his degree as a biological science major. He also donates his time to the community, going to local elementay schools as part of the Reading with the Rebels program. Along with his hall of fame induction, Bramlett was also chosen to represent Ole Miss on the 2015-16 Who’s Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
Ole Miss wastes no time striking first, outscoring the opposition 20-6 in the first inning. The Rebels have scored in the opening frame seven times this season, winning each one of those ballgames. The Rebels tallied 13 runs in the first inning on opening weekend, including nine in the series finale. The fast start gave the Rebels momentum in each game, helping lead to the series sweep of FIU. In the series opener versus No. 2 Louisville, junior J.B. Woodman belted a two-run homer to right field in the first, giving Ole Miss the early lead that it kept throughout the contest to hand the top-ranked Cardinals their first loss of the season. Facing another ranked team in No. 18 Coastal Carolina, the Rebels tallied three runs in the first inning to cruise to an 8-2 win on the road.
A major factor to the Rebels’ 12-1 start can be credited to clutch hitting. With a runner on third and less than two outs, Ole Miss has knocked the runner in 39 out of 53 chances (.736). The Rebels are hitting at a .346 clip with runners in scoring position and .417 (10-for-22) with the bases loaded. Tate Blackman and J.B. Woodman lead the Ole Miss bats in clutch situations. Blackman is 8-for-17 (.471) with runners in scoring position, while Woodman is hitting a team-high .571 (8-for-14) in that category.
OLE MISS IN THE POLLS
Heading into the season, Ole Miss was only ranked in one top-25 poll. However, starting the season 12-1 and going 3-1 against ranked teams thus far, the Rebels are now ranked No. 13 in almost all of the major national polls. Baseball America ranked Ole Miss 13th last week and kept the team in the same spot this week. Meanwhile, making its first poll since the preseason, the USA TODAY Sports Top 25 coaches’ poll moved the Rebels into their latest rankings at No. 13. D1Baseball, Perfect Game and Collegiate Baseball all placed Ole Miss in the same position for their respective rankings.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Swayze Field provides the best atmosphere and some of the biggest crowds across the country for college baseball games. Rebel Nation has taken advantage of the nice weather to come out to the ballpark in full force to see Ole Miss Baseball open the 2016 season. The Rebels have averaged 8,259 fans per game, including three contests with the attendance over 10,000, to rank second nationally. In total, 82,590 fans have watched Ole Miss Baseball at Swayze Field this season. The third-largest combined attendance for a three-game home series (28,659) watched the Rebels take two-of-three from No. 2 Louisville. On Saturday, the fourth-largest crowd in Swayze Field history (10,561) saw the Rebels battle the Cardinals. Attendance on opening day was 10,129, the sixth-largest in stadium history and the biggest opening day crowd in school history. More than 10,000 fans watched the Rebels win game two against FIU, and the three-game series attendance totaled 26,910 (8,970 average). That mark set an opening series record and also ranks seventh for three-game series attendance at Ole Miss.
Following the five-game homestand, the Rebels will hit the road for five matchups away from Swayze Field next week. First, Ole Miss will make the trek to Birmingham, Alabama to battle the Blazers of UAB in a midweek series, March 15-16. Then, the Rebels will open up Southeastern Conference play with a three-game tilt against Tennessee, March 18-20.