No. 11 Ole Miss Remains on the Road, Faces No. 19 Kentucky
March 22, 2017

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The Last Meeting
Kentucky5
Ole Miss7
May 14, 2016
Oxford, Miss.
Lartigue's Walk-Off Homer Completes Comeback Victory
Henri Lartigue hit his second walk-off of the season when he sent a three-run homer to right field in the bottom of the ninth, giving No. 6 Ole Miss a 7-5 victory over Kentucky Saturday evening at Swayze Field. The Rebels (39-13, 17-10 SEC) rallied from a five-run deficit to complete a three-game sweep of the Wildcats (29-23-13-14 SEC).

WEEKEND SERIES
Matchup: No. 11 Ole Miss (14-7, 2-1 SEC) at No. 19 Kentucky (16-6, 3-0 SEC)
Dates: March 23-25
Location: Lexington, Ky.
Venue: Cliff Hagan Stadium
Capacity: 3,000
Television: SEC Network/SECN+
    Mike Morgan, play-by-play
    Mike Rooney, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
    David Kellum, play-by-play
    Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Series: Ole Miss leads 50-31
Last Series: May 12-14, 2016
        Ole Miss won all three games
        Oxford, Miss.

QUICK HITS
- The Rebels have won six straight against Kentucky (three-game sweeps in 2014 and 2016).
- This weekend’s matchup features a battle of the SEC’s best pitching (Ole Miss) versus the conference’s best offense (Kentucky).
- Ole Miss continues a four-game road trip this week, playing all four games in a five-day span.
- The Rebels are 8-4 versus ranked teams this season, which includes winning series over No. 6 East Carolina, No. 15 Vanderbilt and No. 23 UNCW.
- Ole Miss is coming off a midweek loss to Memphis, falling 2-1 in 11 innings Tuesday.
- Six of the Rebels’ last seven wins have been shutouts.  
- Ole Miss pitching leads the SEC in ERA (2.68), strikeouts (226), fewest hits allowed (131), opponent batting average (.193), saves (9), fewest hits allowed per nine innings (6.16), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.04), fewest walks issued per nine innings (2.63) and WHIP (0.98).
- The Rebels rank top five nationally in five different pitching categories: fewest hits allowed per nine innings, shutouts, strikeout-to-walk ratio, strikeouts per nine innings and WHIP.

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
THURSDAY, 6 P.M.
Kentucky - Sean Hjelle, So., RHP, 3-1, 4.99 ERA, 30.2 IP
Ole Miss - James McArthur, So., RHP, 0-1, 1.76 ERA, 15.2 IP
NOTING MCARTHUR:
- Returns to the rotation after missing the last two weekends with a mild strain in his forearm
- Has not given up a hit during the first four innings in each of his last two starts
- Against No. 23 UNCW, recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts and did not allow a hit until the sixth inning; pitched 6.0 innings and allowed just one run on two hits and one walk (no decision)
- Allowed two runs on three hits versus No. 6 ECU (no decision)
- 2016 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American (Collegiate Baseball)
- Pitched in 15 games, making 12 starts last year (primarily in midweek games)
- Tied with Sean Johnson as the tallest person on the team (6’7”)

FRIDAY, 5:30 P.M.
Kentucky - Zach Logue, Jr., LHP, 3-1, 2.43 ERA, 29.2 IP
Ole Miss - David Parkinson, Jr., LHP, 4-1, 2.03 ERA, 31.0 IP
NOTING PARKINSON:
- Has not allowed a run in 14.1 straight innings
- Tossed 6.0 frames without allowing a run to earn the win over No. 15 Vanderbilt
- Named SEC Pitcher of the Week after tossing a career-high 8.0 scoreless innings versus Furman (March 10), facing the minimum and allowing only one hit to go along with a career-high nine strikeouts; took a no-hitter into the eighth inning.
- 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
- 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, 11 A.M.
Kentucky - Justin Lewis, R-So., RHP, 3-1, 3.07 ERA, 29.1 IP
Ole Miss - TBA

SCOUTING KENTUCKY
The Wildcats enter the weekend winners of their last eight games for a 16-6 record. Along with a pair of midweek wins, including Tuesday’s victory over Western Kentucky, UK has swept Miami (OH) and Texas A&M in back-to-back three-games series. Last weekend, Kentucky opened up SEC play by taking all three games against Texas A&M for its first road sweep since 2008. The biggest reason for their success is at the plate as the Wildcats lead the SEC in several categories (see next note). Hitting a conference-best .328 as a team, Kentucky has six regular starters with batting averages cracking the .300 mark. Luke Becker and Marcus Carson lead the way with averages of .373 and .371, respectively. Providing power at the plate, Riley Mahan paces the Wildcats in doubles (11) and RBI (26). On the mound, UK holds a 2.79 ERA as a staff. Reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week Sean Hjelle has moved into a starting role after serving as the team’s closer last season. Nick Mingione is in his first year guiding the Kentucky baseball program.

BATTLE OF SEC LEADERS
When Ole Miss and Kentucky face off this weekend, it will be a battle of the best pitching in the SEC against the conference’s best offense. The Rebels lead the SEC in several categories: ERA (2.68), strikeouts (226), fewest hits allowed (131), opponent batting average (.193), saves (9), fewest hits allowed per nine innings (6.16), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.04), fewest walks issued per nine innings (2.63) and WHIP (0.98). Meanwhile, the Wildcats top the league in multiple hitting stats: batting average (.328), slugging percentage (.502), on-base percentage (.435), runs (187), hits (247), RBI (174), doubles (62), total bases (378), hit by pitch (37) and sacrifice bunts (26).

SERIES HISTORY
Ole Miss leads the all-time series against Kentucky 50-31, including victories in the last six games. The Rebels swept the Wildcats at Swayze Field last season (May 12-14), winning a 14-2 contest in between a pair of two-run games. The series finale was a memorable one as the Ole Miss rallied from an early 5-0 deficit. In the bottom of the ninth, Henri Lartigue belted a three-run walk-off home run to complete the comeback. The last time these programs met in Lexington, Kentucky, the Rebels also broke out the brooms for a three-game sweep (April 25-27, 2014). Ole Miss outscored then-No. 17 Kentucky a combined 39-15 in the series led by Auston Bousfield, who hit a blistering .714 during the series and ended up earning National Offensive Player of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America. Ole Miss has swept Kentucky in three of the last five series between the two conference foes.

THE YEARLY GAUNTLET
The Rebels are 8-4 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. Ole Miss also won a series over No. 15 Vanderbilt to start SEC play. 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.

ON THE MOUND
The Ole Miss pitching staff has been efficient on the mound this season, leading the SEC in several categories and ranking among the best in the nation.

Stat National Rank SEC Rank
WHIP               0.98 2nd  1st
Shutouts 6 2nd  2nd 
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio 4.04 5th 1st
Hits/9 Innings  6.16 5th 1st
Strikeouts/9 Innings 10.6 5th 2nd 
ERA 2.68 14th 1st
Walks/9 Innings 2.63  11th  1st

REBELS FALL IN EXTRAS
Colby Bortles produced a game-tying double in the top of the ninth to force extra innings, but timely hits in the 11th lifted Memphis to a 2-1 victory over No. 11 Ole Miss Tuesday night at AutoZone Park. The Rebels threatened with runners on late in the game, but it was the Tigers who used three singles to claim the win in walk-off fashion. Bortles finished the night going 2-for-4 for another multi-hit game. Making his first start of the season, Sean Johnson was efficient in a limited outing. The redshirt-senior allowed only one run on two hits and one walk over 4.0 innings. Sophomore Connor Green was effective out of the bullpen, tossing a season-high 2.2 innings and not giving up a run.

JUCO TRANSFERS CLUTCH IN SEC DEBUTS
Two Rebels made the SEC debuts in style, recording the game-winning hit in their first plate appearance of conference play. On Friday night, junior college transfer Tim Rowe smacked a pinch-hit single for the games only run in the win over No. 15 Vanderbilt. Two days, another JUCO transfer made his mark in his first SEC game. Coming off the bench initially as a defensive replacement, Chase Cockrell roped a double down the line that score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth. The two clutch hits helped Ole Miss win the first conference series of the season.

FINISHING THE JOB
Over the past few seasons, Ole Miss has been lights out when holding a lead after the eighth inning. In fact since March 15, 2014, the Rebels are a blistering 102-1 in games they’ve led heading into the ninth. The lone loss occurred during the 2016 NCAA Regional when a Tulane two-run homer shocked Ole Miss at Swayze Field. This season, the Rebels hold a 14-0 mark when ahead through eight innings of play.

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, whose 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 1.15 ERA over a team-high 10 appearances. Along with tallying 19 strikeouts and issuing only two walks, Woolfolk boasts five saves to lead the SEC and rank 17th nationally. Stokes adds four saves to the Ole Miss total of nine, which paces the conference.

IT ALL STARTS WITH PITCHING
Beginning with a midweek game against Georgia State (March 7), Ole Miss starting pitching went the next seven games without allowing a run. Until Vanderbilt scored a run in the top of the fourth during game two (March 18), Rebel starters combined to pitch 52.2 scoreless innings. During the streak, 69 strikeouts were recorded while only 28 hits and 19 walks were allowed. The impressive stretch helped the entire Ole Miss staff pitch six shutouts, including a school-record five in a row.

SHUTOUT STREAK
For the first time in program history, Ole Miss posted shutouts in five straight games. To begin the streak, the Rebels held Furman, a team with a combined batting average of .317, scoreless for the entire weekend to earn their third three-game sweep of the 2017 season. Keeping the Paladins without a run (March 10-12), the Rebels posted a three-game series shutout for the first time since March 12-14, 2004, coincidentally vs. Nicholls. Continuing the streak, Ole Miss shut out Nicholls 5-0 (March 14) in Biloxi, Mississippi. Coming back to Swayze Field and kicking off SEC play, the Rebels took down No. 15 Vanderbilt 1-0 (March 17). Before the Commodores broke the streak during the second game of the series, Ole Miss pitched tossed 48.2 consecutive scoreless frames, surrendering just 16 hits and issuing 14 walks. Meanwhile, the Rebels added 53 strikeouts and held opposing hitters to a .104 batting average.

THE FRESHMEN
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 games: LF/DH Thomas Dillard (19 starts), C Cooper Johnson (16 starts), SS Grae Kessinger (19 games) and 1B Cole Zabowski (16 starts).

GOLSAN LEADS THE WAY
Junior Will Golsan has been the most consistent Ole Miss hitter this season, leading the team in hits (24), runs (14), doubles (5) and total bases (32). The Columbus, Mississippi native has also produced six multi-hit games to lead the Rebels. 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. He is the only Rebel to start all 21 games.   

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 644 wins at Ole Miss over the past 16+ seasons, Bianco is the winningest and longest active coach in the Southeastern Conference. In fact, he’s the conference’s longest active coach among the sports of baseball, men’s basketball and football. He ranks seventh on the SEC’s all-time wins list after 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
Following the weeklong road trip, the Rebels return to Swayze Field for a four-game homestand. Tuesday morning (March 28), Ole Miss welcomes Little Rock for the annual School Day Game as 6,000 local elementary school students plan to arrive for the 11 a.m. first pitch. Two days later, the Rebels kick off another SEC weekend early with a nationally televised matchup with Mississippi State Thursday night (March 30). The rivalry begins at 7 p.m. CT on ESPNU before jumping over to SEC Network for game two of the series (March 31). Concluding the series, the Rebels and Bulldogs will meet for a Saturday afternoon contest starting at 1:30 p.m. (April 1).
 

 

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