No. 4 Baseball Hosts In-State Rival No. 14 Southern Miss

TUESDAY - 6:30 p.m.
PROJECTED STARTERS
Ole Miss: LHP Jordan Fowler 
3-0, 1.93 ERA, 14.0 IP
Southern Miss: RHP J.C. Keys
1-2, 6.95 ERA, 13.2 IP

Game 26
Date: March 27, 2018
First Pitch: 6:30 p.m. CT
Location: Oxford, Mississippi
Venue: Swayze Field (10,715)
Dimensions: LF-330, CF-390, RF-330
TV: SEC Network+
     Richard Cross, Play-by-Play
     Brady Bramlett, Analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
     David Kellum, Play-by-Play
     Keith Kessinger, Analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Live Stats: OleMissSports.com
Twitter Updates: @OleMissBSB
Series: 74-50, Ole Miss
Last Meeting: April 11, 2017

Quick Hits
• No. 4 Ole Miss took an SEC road series, winning two of three at No. 11 Texas A&M over the weekend.
• Ole Miss remains the winningest team in college baseball this season as the only team with 22 wins.
• The Rebels have another tough week, hosting No. 14 Southern Miss on Tuesday before a three-game set vs. No. 5 Arkansas.
• Ole Miss leads the all-time series against USM at 74-50. 
• This will be the 125th meeting between the in-state rivals. 
• The Golden Eagles bring a dangerous offense into Oxford, at No. 5 in the nation averaging 8.8 runs per game.
• The Ole Miss pitching staff remains No. 1 in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.83), but USM isn’t far behind in 7th (3.23).
• The Rebels are 7th nationally and first in the SEC in team ERA at 2.54
• Ole Miss is up to as high as No. 4 (Perfect Game, D1 Baseball, and ESPN/USA Today) in this week’s national rankings. The Rebels are now ranked in the Top 10 of every major poll and are third in RPI.
• Ole Miss is No. 5 in the nation with 61 doubles on the year. The Rebels are 16th with 30 home runs and 12th in slugging (.487).}
• Sophomore reliever Will Ethridge was one of several key performers out of the Rebel bullpen against Texas A&M. In two appearances, the Lilburn, Georgia, native went: 5.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 8 K.
• Center fielder Will Golsan was named a 2018 Senior CLASS Award Candidate last week. He backed it up with a big week on the field, including a triple against New Orleans and tremendous G3 at TAMU: 3-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI. He leads Ole Miss with 13 2-out RBI.
• Sophomore left fielder Thomas Dillard has become a feared power hitter early this season, taking just 21 games to eclipse his HR total from all of last season, now with six on the 2018 campaign. He hit his sixth last Tuesday against New Orleans.
• Sophomore RHP Parker Caracci has emerged as yet another dominant arm out of the Rebel bullpen. He boasts an astronomical strikeout-to-walk ratio of 33-to-1. He’s averaging just shy of 19 strikeouts per nine innings.

Probable Starters
LHP Jordan Fowler (Ole Miss) | 3-0, 1.93 ERA, 14.0 IP
RHP J.C. Keys (Southern Miss) | 1-2, 6.95 ERA, 13.2 IP

FOWLER NOTES
• Opponent batting average of .188 is lowest among Ole Miss starting pitchers
• Tied for lowest ERA among Rebel starters at 1.93
• Critical relief performance in Game 3 at Texas A&M, inheriting and cleanly escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam by pitching into an inning-ending double play in the Rebels’ 7-6 win.
• Earned first-career win in a start at Georgia State: 5.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K
• Had fantastic first-career start vs. Little Rock: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
• Two wins early this season in relief of Sunday starter James McArthur
• Drafted in 26th round of 2017 MLB Draft by Texas Rangers
• Was 20-2 in high school career, tossing two no-hitters

SCOUTING SOUTHERN MISS
• Balanced team with .297 collective batting average and 3.40 team ERA
• Five regular starters hitting over .300, 26 total HR on the season
• No. 12 in the nation in runs scored, 5th in per-game scoring at 8.8 runs per contest
• No. 7 in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 3.23
• Record includes a three-game sweep of SEC opponent Mississippi State to open season
• Coming off a 2-1 series win at one of its biggest Conference-USA challengers in Florida Atlantic
• Leading offensive player is 3B Luke Reynolds .369/.690/.500, 6 HR, 9 2B, 29 R, 21 RBI
• OF Hunter Slater leads team with 23 RBI and is hitting .356
• Projected starter J.C. Keys boasts opp. avg. at .216
• Saves leader Matt Wallner boasts 1.29 ERA in 7.0 IP

SERIES HISTORY
• This will be 125th meeting all-time between the two in-state rivals. 
• Ole Miss holds a 74-50 advantage in the series history. 
• The Rebs went 2-0 vs. Southern Miss last season, a 6-2 win in Hattiesburg and a 12-inning 6-5 win in Pearl.
• Head coach Mike Bianco is 16-20 all-time against the Golden Eagles.

ON THE RECORD
• Ole Miss is the winningest team in college baseball this season at 22-3
• Ole Miss enters the weekend with the best win percentage in the SEC (.880), third-best in the NCAA.
• Rebels are one of three teams with three losses or fewer, joined by Oregon State (20-2), Stanford (17-2)
• Rebels, Beavers and Cardinal are only three teams with a win percentage greater than .850

STELLAR STAFF
Without a doubt, Ole Miss has established itself as one of the very best pitching staffs in college baseball. Pitching coach Carl Lafferty’s staff stands at No. 1 in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 3.83. 

The Ole Miss staff is 7th in the nation in team ERA at 2.54. That mark is good for 1st in the Southeastern Conference. The Rebs also enter the weekend at seventh in the country and second in the SEC in walks per nine innings at 2.66. 

The Rebels are No. 9 in the NCAA and No. 2 in the SEC in WHIP at just 1.13. Ole Miss ranks 13th nationally in strikeouts per nine innings at 10.2—good for No. 2 in the conference. Additionally, the Rebels are allowing just 7.6 hits per nine innings, good for 31st in the country and 5th in the SEC.

DOUBLE OR NOTHING
Ole Miss is No. 5 in the nation with 61 doubles on the year. The Rebels lead the SEC in that category. They’re No. 14 in the nation and second in the league with 2.44 doubles per game.

Will Golsan, Grae Kessinger and Ryan Olenek all rank among the top 100 players in college baseball in doubles, and they’re all top-10 in the SEC.

CRANKING OUT THE HITS
The Ole Miss offense is hitting .299 as a group this season, now up to No. 25 in the NCAA and No. 5 in the SEC. 

With 246 hits on the season, the Rebel offense is 30th in the country. With 33 hits on the year, Grae Kessinger leads the Rebels and is in the top 100 nationally, as well as eighth in the SEC.

EARNING THE GREEN SHIRT
Ole Miss doles out its green “game changer” shirt to players who make things happen on the basepaths. The Rebels are 47th in the country and third in the SEC with 32 stolen bases on the season.

BOMBS AWAY
After tallying four home runs at Texas A&M, Ole Miss is 16th nationally with 30 homers on the year. That mark is good for 5th in the SEC. The Rebels average 1.2 home runs per game, good for No. 20 in the nation and No. 5 in the conference. Ole Miss is also 12th in the country in slugging at .487.

Three Rebels—Nick Fortes (Memphis), Thomas Dillard (Austin Peay) and Chase Cockrell (Eastern Illinois) boast multi-home-run games this season. Twelve different Rebels have hit a home run this season, seven of whom have hit two or more. Dillard holds the team lead with six on the year, while Nick Fortes and Cole Zabowski are on his heels with five apiece.

CAPTAIN CLUTCH
Senior Will Golsan was named a 2018 Senior CLASS Award Candidate last week.

Golsan had a tremendous week: .353/.706/.389, 4 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 4 R, 4 RBI. He hit his third-career triple as part of a 2-for-4 day last Tuesday against New Orleans. His Game 3 at Texas A&M was outstanding, as he fueled a Rebel rally. Golsan went 3-for-5 with 2 2B, 2 R and 2 RBI. He knocked in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and scored what would be the game-deciding run moments later.

Golsan is 3-for-4 with the bases loaded this year. He’s also hitting .385 with RISP, and his 13-for-26 (.500) with two outs. He leads Ole Miss in two-out RBI with 13. 

The selfless Rebel center fielder is No. 12 in the nation and is tied for first in the SEC with four sacrifice flies on the season. As a result, he boasts 20 RBI, tied for second on the team. 

CARDIAC CARACCI
Redshirt sophomore Parker Caracci has been outstanding out of the bullpen lately, asserting himself as one of several key pieces to the Rebel relief crew. Caracci boasts 33 strikeouts and just one walk in eight appearances this season. The Jackson, MS, native is averaging 2.1 strikeouts per inning or 18.9 per nine innings.

Caracci was critical to the Rebels’ series win at Texas A&M, earning saves in both wins. The Rebel reliever struck out five in a six-out save in Game 1. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth before retiring the side and striking out two in the ninth. In Game 3, he faced the top of the Aggie order and fanned the Aggies’ top offensive threat, and the go-ahead run, Logan Foster, on a full count to end the series.

Caracci has been dynamite with two outs, allowing just two hits in 19 at-bats (.105). 

ADAMS' EMERGENCE
A junior college transfer for 2018, second baseman Jacob Adams has been a difference maker for the Rebels this season. Adams has shined in the field since joining the SEC ranks, but only recently has he settled in at the plate. 

Adams was 7-for-11 at the dish a week ago with an incredible line: .636/1.182/.733. He belted his second-career home run, a leadoff blast to open Game 3 against Tennessee. Adams also ripped two doubles down the right field line in Game 2 against the Volunteers and doubled his RBI total, knocking in three runs. 

Adams is hitting .421 with runners on base and .545 with runners in scoring position.

DILLY, DILLY!
Thomas Dillard is hitting the cover off the baseball this season. It took Dillard, who was a regular starter in 2017 as well, just 21 games to eclipse his home run total from all of last season, now with six on the year.

Dillard cranked his sixth homer last Tuesday against New Orleans. His biggest blast of the year came against Eastern Illinois. It traveled an estimated 435 feet with an astounding exit velocity of 111.7 mph—the hardest-hit ball at Swayze Field this season.

POWER BLUES
Ole Miss is a perfect 5-0 on #EnergySunday this season, as well as 1-0 on the rare #EnergySaturday. The Rebels are a perfect 6-0 in their customary Sunday powder blue uniforms.

AIN’T IT GRAND?
In Game 2 against Texas A&M, junior Michael Fitzsimmons came in to pinch hit in the eighth inning and blasted a grand slam, the Rebels’ first since Colby Bortles knocked in four on April 15, 2015. The pinch-hit blast brought the Rebels within one run, though they couldn’t quite complete the rally in a 7-6 defeat.

Ole Miss is hitting .611 (11-for-18) with the bases loaded this season.

RALLY ON TWO
Ole Miss has had a knack for two-out hitting this season. Of the Rebels’ 160 RBI, 69 have come with two outs. By comparison, the Rebel pitching staff has allowed just 28 two-out RBI.

The Rebels are hitting .319 with two outs, as well as .316 with runners in scoring position. 


 

 

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