Baseball Hosts Little Rock for School Day Game
March 27, 2017

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The Last Meeting
Arkansas-Little Rock1
Ole Miss11
March 9, 2014
Oxford, Miss.
No. 15 Rebels Sweep UALR Series
The No. 15 Ole Miss Rebels (14-2) swept the weekend series against UALR (8-5) with an 11-1 win on Sunday in the final non-conference weekend of the year.

MIDWEEK MATCHUP
Dates: March 28
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Venue: Swayze Field
Capacity: 10,323
Television: SECN+
    Richard Cross, play-by-play
    David Dellucci, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
    David Kellum, play-by-play
    Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Series: Ole Miss leads 16-4
Last Meeting: March 7-9, 2014
        Ole Miss won all three games
        Oxford, Miss.

PROMOTIONS
School Day Game - Thousands of elementary school students will be on hand to watch the Rebels take on the Trojans. This year's School Day Game is currently filled to capacity.

QUICK HITS
- Ole Miss hosts Little Rock for the fifth annual School Day Game with approximately 6,000 elementary students expected to be in attendance.
- The Rebels begin a four-game homestand this week, playing all four games in a five-day span.
- Ole Miss ranked No. 17 in the RPI and as high as No. 19 in the national polls.
- The first team Ole Miss faced under head coach Mike Bianco was Little Rock (Feb. 10-11, 2001).
- Austin Knight, a four-year letterman at Ole Miss (2012-15), serves as Little Rock’s graduate manager.
- Colby Bortles was named a candidate for the 2017 Senior CLASS Award Monday afternoon.
- Ole Miss pitching leads the SEC in ERA (2.79), opposing batting average (.207), fewest hits allowed (159), strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.74) and WHIP (1.04).
- The Rebels rank top five nationally in four different pitching categories: fewest hits allowed per nine innings, shutouts, strikeout-to-walk ratio and WHIP.
- Dallas Woolfolk leads the SEC in saves (6) and ranks 13th nationally.

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
TUESDAY, 11 A.M.
Little Rock - Ryan LeMoine, Jr., RHP, 0-2, 13.94 ERA, 10.1 IP
Ole Miss - Greer Holston, Fr., RHP, 0-2, 2.95 ERA, 18.1 IP
NOTING HOLSTON:
- Has made eight appearances, including a pair of starts
- Against Furman (March 10), pitched a career-long 7.0 scoreless innings and allowed only two hits to go along with a career-high six strikeouts
- Posts a 2.45 ERA as a reliever (7.1 innings) and a 3.27 ERA as a starter (11.0 innings)
- Out of high school, named the best right-handed pitcher in the state of Mississippi by Perfect Game
- Attended IMG Academy as a senior, going 6-2 with a 1.02 ERA and hitting .360 at the plate
- Named 2015 4A Player of the Year in Mississippi after leading Saint Stanislaus to a state championship and posting a 12-1 record with 99 strikeouts as well as a 0.91 ERA over 72.0 innings

SCOUTING LITTLE ROCK
The Trojans enter Tuesday’s game with a 9-15 record after dropping a weekend series to ULM as well as a midweek contest at Missouri. Little Rock is a veteran squad with 23 upperclassmen (14 seniors, 9 juniors). One of those veterans, senior Hunter Owens, has been on fire through this point of the season. Owens leads the team in multiple offensive categories, including batting average (.394), hits (37), runs (20), RBI (28), doubles (9) and home runs (5). On the mound, Little Rock will start junior Ryan LeMoine. While he has made a team-high 15 relief appearances this season, LeMoine will be starting for the first time. Chris Curry is in his third season as head coach of the Trojans.

SERIES HISTORY
Ole Miss leads the all-time series 16-4 that dates back to 1978. The two non-conference foes have not played since 2014 when the Rebels swept the Trojans in a weekend series. Under head coach Mike Bianco, Ole Miss has played Little Rock 12 times (10-2 record). In 2001, the first season with Bianco leading the program, the Rebels kicked off the season against Little Rock and won the series.

REBEL BECOMES A TROJAN
With Little Rock in town for the midweek game, a familiar face returns to Swayze Field. Austin Knight, a four-year letterman at Ole Miss (2012-15) and the team’s starting catcher in 2015, serves on the Little Rock staff as a graduate manager. While at Ole Miss, Knight hit .257 over 120 career games. Along with serving as the primary starter behind the dish in 2015, he also started two games in the 2014 College World Series and posted a .303 batting average during the Rebels’ memorable run.

BORTLES NAMED SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE
Ole Miss senior Colby Bortles was recognized as one of 30 candidates for the 2017 Senior CLASS Award® in college baseball Monday afternoon. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. Not only is Bortles representing Ole Miss on the list, but he is also the only player from the SEC to be selected as a candidate for the prestigious award. Displaying leadership on and off the field, Bortles is a two-time team captain. He was chosen by his teammates to be team captain for the 2016 season before getting re-elected again this year. From playing in 40 games and earning a start in the 2014 College World Series as a freshman to starting all 62 games last year, Bortles has made his mark on the program. The Oviedo, Florida, native has appeared in 180 games as a Rebel, making 151 starts. Since he arrived on campus, Bortles has been active in the Oxford community. For the past four years, he has participated in the Reading with the Rebels program, through which he reads children’s books to local elementary students. Looking towards life after baseball, Bortles is currently interning with the Batesville Police Department as he pursues a degree in criminal justice.

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 1.04 2nd 1st
Shutouts 6 2nd 2nd
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio 3.74 5th 1st
Hits/9 Innings  6.61 5th 1st
Strikeouts/9 Innings 10.3 7th 2nd
ERA 2.79 13th 1st
Walks/9 Innings 2.75 13th 3rd


TEAM CAPTAINS STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE
When the Rebels got off to their fast start to the 2017 season, winning their first seven games, newcomers and a couple veterans were leading the way offensively. Team captains Tate Blackman and Colby Bortles took several games to find their swing, but now they have it. Through the first five games, Blackman and Bortles were hitting .162 and .062, respectively. Since then, Blackman holds a .323 batting average, while Bortles boasts a .333 average during the current span. Through the entire 2017 campaign thus far, Bortles leads the Rebels with four home runs and 17 RBI to go along with team highs in slugging percentage (.493) and on-base percentage (.380). Blackman is just behind his fellow captain in on-base percentage, while also ranking second in batting average (.278) and runs (14).

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 103-1 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 15-0 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 team-low 1.06 ERA over a team-high 11 appearances. Along with tallying 20 strikeouts and issuing only two walks, Woolfolk boasts six saves to lead the SEC and rank 13th nationally. Stokes adds four saves to the Ole Miss total of 10, which ranks second in the conference.

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 (22 starts), C Cooper Johnson (18 starts), SS Grae Kessinger (22 games) and 1B Cole Zabowski (16 starts). On the mound, five freshmen have made their presence known as well: Jason Barber (two appearances), Will Ethridge (six appearances), Greer Holston (eight appearances), Ryan Rolison (11 appearances), Houston Roth (seven appearances)

GOLSAN LEADS THE WAY
Junior Will Golsan has been the most consistent Ole Miss hitter this season, leading the team in hits (27), runs (15), doubles (6) and total bases (36). The Columbus, Mississippi native has also produced seven 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 24 games.   

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 8,422 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 645 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
After the midweek games against Little Rock, 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 (6 p.m., 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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