Top-10 Battle at Swayze Field Begins Thursday
March 23, 2016

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WEEKEND SERIES
Matchup: No. 6 Ole Miss (20-2, 2-1 SEC) vs. No. 10 South Carolina (20-2, 3-0 SEC)
Date: March 24-26, 2016
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Venue: Swayze Field
Capacity: 10,323
Television: SECN+ (Thurs., Fri.)/SEC Network (Sat.)
    Richard Cross (SECN+)/Mike Couzens (SEC Network), play-by-play
    David Dellucci (SECN+)/Ben McDonald (SEC Network), analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
    David Kellum, play-by-play
    Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Series: South Carolina leads 32-22
Last Series: March 14-15, 2014
        Columbia, S.C.
        USC won 2-of-3

PROMOTIONS
Friday, March 25
Friday Night Fireworks

Saturday, March 26
Kids Run the Bases Presented by Belles and Beaus: Kids are invited to come down on the field following the completion of the game.
Postgame Easter Egg Hunt for Kids 12 and Under
Get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny and the best Easter Egg there is, the Egg Bowl Trophy
1-of-5 baseball card pack giveaways

QUICK HITS
- The Rebels 20-2, tying the best record through the first 22 games of the season.
- Ole Miss is 3-1 against ranked teams this season, including 2-1 versus then-No. 2 Louisville.
- The Rebels are ranked in the top 10 of every national poll, including No. 6 in Collegiate Baseball’s poll.
- Ole Miss will host South Carolina at Swayze Field for the first time since 2011 (Rebels won two-of-three).
- The Rebels lead the SEC with 16 sacrifice flies, which also ranks fourth in the country.
- The Ole Miss bullpen holds a combined ERA of 1.87 with an SEC-leading eight saves this season.
- Ole Miss is 11-0 when scoring in the first inning, outscoring the opposition 31-8.
- The Rebels have scored five-or-more runs in one inning seven times in 2016.
- Ole Miss ace Brady Bramlett leads the SEC with 19 strikeouts looking.
- With 18 career saves, closer Wyatt Short is tied with Scott Bittle for fourth on the Ole Miss all-time saves list.
- Head coach Mike Bianco is one of nine coaches in history to win at least 600 games at an SEC school.
- Ole Miss ranks second in the nation in average attendance, bringing in 8,529 fans at each home game.

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
THURSDAY, 6:30 P.M.
South Carolina - Clarke Schmidt, So., RHP, 5-0, 1.27 ERA
Ole Miss - Brady Bramlett, R-Jr., RHP, 4-0, 2.03 ERA
NOTING BRAMLETT:
- Leads the SEC in strikeouts looking with 19
- Has struck out at least eight in three of his five starts
- Tossed five scoreless innings versus Grambling, striking out 11 and not issuing a walk
- Struck out eight in a victory over No. 2 Louisville
- Named to the University of Mississippi Hall of Fame and 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

FRIDAY, 6:30 P.M.
South Carolina - Braden Webb, Fr., RHP, 4-1, 1.71 ERA
Ole Miss - Chad Smith, Jr., RHP, 2-1, 3.91 ERA
NOTING SMITH:
- Struck out a career-high seven in his SEC debut at Tennessee
- Surrendered just two runs over 5.0 innings against No. 18 Coastal Carolina, earning his first win
- Tossed 7.0+ innings and allowed two earned runs versus No. 2 Louisville
- 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.

SATURDAY, 2 P.M.
South Carolina - Adam Hill, Fr., RHP, 4-0, 2.42 ERA
Ole Miss - TBA

SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina enters the weekend with a 20-2 record after sweeping Arkansas at home to begin SEC play. The Gamecocks are off to a strong start to the season, ranking 10th in the USA Today coaches poll. South Carolina is one the SEC’s leaders at the plate, hitting .325 as a team. John Jones tops the conference in batting average (.422), hits (35) and home runs (6). He was also named national player of the week and SEC Player of the Week for his weekend performance against Arkansas, batting .500 and hitting a pair of game-winning home runs. On the mound, the Gamecocks boast the second-best ERA in the SEC at 2.25. The ace of the staff is sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt, who is 5-0 with a 1.27 ERA. Out of the bullpen, Josh Reagan leads the SEC with six saves and has not allowed a run in 16.2 innings. South Carolina is coached by Chad Holbrook, who is in his fourth year as head coach of the Gamecocks.

LAST TIME WE MET AT SWAYZE
The last time the Rebels and Gamecocks met at Swazye Field was five seasons ago (May 6-8, 2011). After dropping the series opener, Ole Miss got the best of then-No. 1 South Carolina by winning the final two games to take the series. The Rebels cruised to a 10-2 victory to even the series in game two. David Goforth, who is now a reliever for the Milwaukee Brewers, earned the victory in six innings of work. In the rubber match, Preston Overbey hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth that scored Matt Tracy, who made his Major League debut last season with the New York Yankees. The sac fly gave Ole Miss the win and clinched the series over the nation’s top-ranked team. Ole Miss ended up being the only team that defeated South Carolina in a series during the 2011 campaign, as the Gamecocks ended up winning the national championship.    

SUCCESS AGAINST RANKED TEAMS
Ole Miss is 3-1 against ranked teams this seasons, which includes claiming two-of-three games for a series victory over No. 2 Louisville as well as a road win at No. 18 Coastal Carolina. The Rebels have won the last three series against top-10 teams at Swazye Field. In 2015, Ole Miss took series over Florida and Vanderbilt, which were both No. 1 at the time of the conference matchups. The Rebels boast an 8-5 record against top-10 teams throughout the past two seasons.

SEC GRIND
Traditionally known as the best conference in college baseball, the SEC has once again lived up to that expectation again this season with over half of the conference ranked in the nation’s top 25. The Rebels have fared well in the nation’s toughest conference over the years. Ole Miss has posted a .500-or-better SEC record in 12 of the last 15 seasons. To put that in terms of difficulty, the Rebels are just one-of-two SEC schools that have accomplished the feat. South Carolina has been .500-or-better in the SEC in 14 of the last 15 years.

HOMERS POWER REBELS OVER UT MARTIN
With over 6,000 children in attendance for the annual School Day at Swayze Field Tuesday morning, No. 6 Ole Miss powered past UT Martin, 8-2. The Rebels blasted three home runs to pick up their 20th win of the season. The victory improves the Rebels’ record to 20-2. That mark ties a program best through the first 22 games of a season. The Rebel bats helped the team pick up the victory as Tate Blackman, Colby Bortles and Cameron Dishon each hit a home run. The three Rebels recorded two hits apiece to combine for six of the team’s seven hits. Freshman James McArthur also played a key role on the mound, earning his third straight victory in as many starts. McArthur threw 5.0 innings, allowing only four hits and striking out a career-high seven.

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 7-0 record to go along with an SEC-best eight saves and a combined 1.87 ERA in relief appearances. Four Rebel relievers have a sub-1.00 ERA, including closer Wyatt Short, who ranks second in the SEC with five saves on the season. Sophomore Will Stokes adds a pair of saves to go along with a 1.69 ERA. Freshman Dallas Woolfolk has made seven relief appearances without allowing an earned run and also has a save to his credit. David Parkinson has made a team-high 10 appearances out of the ‘pen, boasting an impressive 1.35 ERA. Coming off Tommy John surgery, redshirt-freshman Brady Feigl is 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in eight appearances. The excellent relief pitching has helped the Rebels get off to a 20-2 start and rise in the national rankings.

OLE MISS IN THE POLLS
Heading into the season, Ole Miss was only ranked in one top-25 poll. However, starting the season 20-2 and going 3-1 against ranked teams thus far, the Rebels have risen up the rankings. This week, Ole Miss cracked the top 10 in every national poll, including its highest ranking of No. 6 by Collegiate Baseball. Baseball America, the only publication listing Ole Miss in its top 25 all season long, moved the Rebels up four spots to No. 7. D1Baseball placed Ole Miss at eighth in this week’s poll, while the ESPN/USA TODAY coaches poll and Perfect Game agreed that the Rebels are the ninth-best team in the nation.

BRAMLETT ELECTED TO HALL OF FAME, WHO’S WHO HONOREE
While on the road with the team (March 4), 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 first student-athlete elected into the university’s hall of fame since 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 elementary 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.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
Through the first five weeks of the season, Ole Miss ranks in the top 25 nationally in several statistical categories. The Rebels’ top ranking is boasting the second-best record in the country at 20-2.

The Last Meeting
Ole Miss1
South Carolina3
March 15, 2014
Columbia, S.C.
No. 12 Ole Miss Drops Doubleheader To No. 1 Gamecocks
No. 12 Ole Miss (17-4, 1-2 SEC) fell victim to late rallies on Saturday, dropping a doubleheader to No. 1 South Carolina in SEC play.

Stat   National Rank SEC Rank
W/L Percentage      0.909 2nd 2nd
Sacrifice Flies 16 4th 1st
ERA 2.42 12th 3rd
Walks  112  13th 3rd
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio        2.97 19th 5th
WHIP  1.17  24th  6th


Individually, junior J.B. Woodman is third in the nation with five sacrifice flies, while classmate Wyatt Short has five saves to rank 16th among closers. Ole Miss ace Brady Bramlett boasts an impressive strikeout rate, ranking 10th with an average of 13.16 strikeouts per nine innings. Overall, Bramlett’s 39 strikeouts place the redshirt junior at No. 23 in the national category.
    
BLACKMAN’S BAT
Throughout the spring and fall, there was talk about the improvement of Tate Blackman. After going through a difficult freshman season, the Altamonte Springs, Florida native was determined to prove that his 2015 preseason expectations (a preseason freshman All-American before he even took the field in an Ole Miss uniform) were more than just hype. Putting in the time to get better during the offseason, Blackman’s hard work has paid off thus far in 2016. Blackman leads the Rebels in batting average (.347) and is also tied for the team lead in hits (25), RBI (21), and multi-hit games (8). The second baseman also ranks second among Rebels with 20 runs scored.

STRIKING FIRST
Ole Miss wastes no time striking first, outscoring the opposition 31-6 in the first inning. The Rebels have scored in the opening frame 11 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. In the series finale at Tennessee, Ole Miss scored twice in the opening frame en route to a series-clinching victory.

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, 115,620 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.

BIG INNINGS
Ole Miss has put together big innings throughout the 2016 campaign. Seven times this season, the Rebels have scored at least five runs in an inning. Ole Miss scored a season-high nine runs in the first inning versus FIU. Against Memphis, the Rebs used a seven-run third inning to rally from an early 6-0 deficit. At the Chanticleer Classic, six runs in the second helped Ole Miss roll to a 7-1 win over Cincinnati. The Rebels had two five-run innings to cruise past Grambling in a weekend sweep. Last week, a pair of five-run fifth innings helped Ole Miss down UAB 5-1 (March 16), as well as Tennessee, 10-7 (March 20).

THE AVENGERS
During its longest road trip of the 2016 season, the Ole Miss baseball team won four out of five games against competition that got the best of the Rebels in 2015. The week started out with a two-game sweep over UAB at Regions Field in Birmingham. After the Blazers won a doubleheader at Swayze Field last year, Ole Miss limited them to just two runs in the pair of games this season, winning 8-1 on Tuesday (March 15) and 5-1 on Wednesday (March 16). The Rebels opened up SEC play at Tennessee, a team who gave Ole Miss its only losing weekend series at Swayze Field a season ago. This time around, Ole Miss claimed the weekend series over the Vols by winning the final two games of the three-game set. The Rebels took game two 6-4 before breaking out red-hot bats for a 10-7 victory in the series finale.

CLUTCH HITTING CLINCHES OPENING SEC SERIES
The Rebels broke out the bats on Sunday against Tennessee, making sure the rubber match ended in their favor. Ole Miss hit in clutch situations, going 11-for-25 (.440) with runners on base and 8-for-17 (.471) with runners in scoring position. The Rebels also kept innings alive with five two-out hits throughout the contest. All nine Rebels in the lineup recorded at least one hit, including four who produced multi-hit games. Will Golsan and Henri Lartigue led the way with three hits, two RBI and one double each.

BIANCO EARNS 700TH CAREER VICTORY
Head coach Mike Bianco, the winningest coach in Ole Miss Baseball history, collected his 700th career victory March 4 as Ole Miss cruised to a 15-2 win over Grambling. The win was also Bianco’s 600th as head coach of the Rebels. With the milestone victory, Bianco became just the ninth coach in NCAA Baseball history to earn at least 600 wins at an SEC school. 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 15 of their first 16 games for the third time in school history and second under Bianco.

ON DECK
Following the series against the No. 10 Gamecocks, Ole Miss returns to life on the road next week. The Rebels will head to Memphis Wednesday, (March 30) looking to complete the season sweep over the Tigers. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT at AutoZone Park, home of the Memphis Redbirds, Triple A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Ole Miss will then head to Starkville, Mississippi to face in-state rival Mississippi State in a weekend SEC series (April 1-3).


 

 

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