No. 11 Rebels Renew Rivalry with Mississippi State
Nic Perkins slid safely into third in a game versus Mississippi State last season
March 31, 2016

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The Last Meeting
Mississippi State7  
Ole Miss8(10)
May 9, 2015
Oxford, Miss.
Rebels Rally to Complete Sweep of Mississippi State, 8-7
Trailing by five runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Ole Miss baseball team rallied to tie the game, forcing extra innings before scoring the game-winning run in the 10th to cap off the comeback and beat rival Mississippi State, 8-7, Saturday evening, May 9, at Swayze Field. The wild come-from-behind victory completed the Rebels' (28-24, 14-13 SEC) SEC series sweep over the Bulldogs (24-27, 8-19 SEC), while increasing their winning streak to a season-high four games.

WEEKEND SERIES
Matchup: No. 11 Ole Miss (20-5, 2-4 SEC) at No. 5 Mississippi State (18-7-1, 4-2 SEC)
Date: April 1-3, 2016
Location: Starkville, Miss.
Venue: Dudy Noble Field
Capacity: 7,200
Television: SECN+
    Bart Gregory, play-by-play
    Jay Perry/Matt Wyatt, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
    David Kellum, play-by-play
    Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Series: Mississippi State leads 237-211-5
Last Series: May 7-9, 2015
        Ole Miss won all three games.
        Oxford, Miss.

QUICK HITS
- Ole Miss is ranked in the top 15 of every national poll, including No. 11 in USA Today's coaches poll.
- The Rebels have won the last three weekend series against Mississippi State.
- Ole Miss has taken five of the past six series in Starkville.
- The Rebels won all four games against MSU in 2015, helping make Ole Miss 7-0 through the 2014-15 academic year against its in-state rival in baseball, men's basketball and football; it marked a perfect record in the rivalry among the three sports for the first time since 1972.
- Ole Miss ranks second in the SEC and 10th in the country with 16 sacrifice flies.
- The Ole Miss bullpen holds a combined ERA of 1.84.
- The Rebels have scored five-or-more runs in one inning seven times in 2016.
- Brady Bramlett leads the SEC and ranks fourth nationally averaging 13.06 strikeouts per nine innings.
- Sophomore Tate Blackman leads the SEC with 81 fielding assists.
- With 18 career saves, closer Wyatt Short is tied with Scott Bittle for fourth on the Ole Miss all-time saves list.

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
FRIDAY, 6 P.M.
Mississippi State - Dakota Hudson, Jr., RHP, 3-1, 1.13 ERA
Ole Miss - Brady Bramlett, R-Jr., RHP, 4-1, 2.90 ERA
NOTING BRAMLETT:
- Leads the SEC and ranks fourth in the nation with 13.06 strikeouts per nine innings
- 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

SATURDAY, 2 P.M.
Mississippi State - Austin Sexton, Jr., RHP, 2-1, 3.72 ERA
Ole Miss - Chad Smith, Jr., RHP, 2-2, 4.80 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.

SUNDAY, 1:30 P.M.
Mississippi State - TBA
Ole Miss - Sean Johnson, R-Jr., RHP, 3-0, 1.96 ERA
NOTING JOHNSON:
- Out of last weekend's rotation versus No. 10 South Carolina due to rest
- 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

BREAKING DOWN THE BULLDOGS
Mississippi State enters rivalry weekend with an 18-7-1 record after beating Southern Miss 13-5 Tuesday. The Bulldogs have won series over Vanderbilt and Georgia to start 4-2 in SEC play as well. As a team, MSU is hitting .317 led by Jacob Robson's .379 batting average. Robson has shown his speed throughout the season with team highs in steals (10) and triples (3). Reid Humphreys and Jack Kruger also boast averages over .300 to go along with 11 doubles and three homers apiece. Humphreys has seen action out of the bullpen too, making seven appearances, posting a 3.12 ERA and collecting two saves. Also on the mound, MSU ace Dakota Hudson is 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA in six starts. The Mississippi State pitching staff holds a 3.56 ERA as a team. John Cohen is in his eighth season leading the program; the head coach has a perfect .500 winning percentage at MSU (240-240-2).

LAST SEASON'S SERIES
The Rebels got the best of their rivals last season, sweeping Mississippi State at Swayze Field in memorable fashion. Ole Miss took the series opener 4-3 behind a pair of two-out hits by Errol Robinson that knocked in three runs. Christian Trent earned the win on the mound, tossing 8.0 innings. Game two was a slugfest as the Rebels powered past the Bulldogs 13-10. Sikes Orvis led the way, belting a homer as part of a four-RBI night. Completing the sweep, Ole Miss made one of the biggest comebacks in school history. Down five runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Rebels rallied to tie the game and force extra innings. In the 10th, Nic Perkins singled home Tate Blackman to cap off the thrilling comeback victory. The win not only completed the four-game season sweep over the Bulldogs, but it also made Ole Miss a perfect 7-0 against Mississippi State in baseball, men's basketball and football during the 2014-15 academic year.

SHORT VERSUS STATE
Junior Wyatt Short has had his fair share of success against Mississippi State. Last season, the closer pitched in all three weekend games versus the Bulldogs, collecting two saves and a victory to earn SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week honors. The southpaw recorded saves in the first two contests before claiming the win in the series finale. He pitched one scoreless inning in each game without allowing a hit, retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced throughout the weekend and striking out four of them. Add in 2.1 innings of work as a freshman, Short has not allowed a run in four career appearances (5.2 innings) against the in-state rival.

CAPTAIN CLUTCH
One of three team captains, J.B. Woodman has shown his leadership ability by being a clutch hitter all season long. The junior is hitting .436 with runners on base, including a remarkable .545 with runners in scoring position. Both averages lead the Ole Miss Rebels. With a runner on third and less than two outs, Woodman has knocked the runner in six out of eight opportunities. He also posts a .647 rate of advancing runners on base, another team best.

RELIABLE LONG RELIEF
Against No. 10 South Carolina over the weekend, Ole Miss relied upon a trio of Rebels to throw long relief outings. David Parkinson, Brady Feigl and Wyatt Short all stepped up to put together quality outings in career-long appearances. Parkinson tossed 4.1 innings Thursday night, allowing just one run on five hits. On Friday, Feigl struck out a career-high six in 3.2 innings out of the bullpen. Wrapping up the series, Short entered Saturday's game in the fourth inning, earlier than his usual closing role. Nonetheless, the junior southpaw delivered with 5.2 innings of one-hit baseball. Short's stellar performance marked the longest outing by a Rebel reliever since Scott Weathersby pitched 6.0 scoreless extra innings in a 16-inning win over No. 1 Vanderbilt, April 10, 2015.

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.

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 7-1 record to go along with eight saves and a combined 1.84 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 eight relief appearances without allowing an earned run and also has a save to his credit. David Parkinson has made a team-high 11 appearances out of the `pen, boasting an impressive 1.53 ERA. Coming off Tommy John surgery, redshirt-freshman Brady Feigl is 2-0 with a 2.93 ERA in eight appearances. The excellent relief pitching has helped the Rebels get off to a 20-5 start.

OLE MISS IN THE POLLS
Despite the setback to No. 10 South Carolina over the weekend Ole Miss remained in the top 15 in every national poll, including its highest ranking of No. 11 in the USA Today coaches poll. Baseball America, D1Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) all ranked the Rebels 13th, while Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game placed Ole Miss at No. 14 in their respective national polls.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
Through the first six weeks of the season, Ole Miss ranks in the top 25 nationally in several statistical categories. Individually, junior J.B. Woodman is fifth in the nation with five sacrifice flies, while classmate Colby Bortles has 11 doubles to rank 17th among sluggers. Ole Miss ace Brady Bramlett boasts an impressive strikeout rate, ranking fourth with an average of 13.06 strikeouts per nine innings.

Stat National Rank SEC Rank
W/L Percentage  0.800 10th 5th
Sacrifice Flies 16 11th 3rd
ERA 2.73 17th 5th
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio 2.93 20th 5th


    
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 is tied for the team lead in hits (28) and multi-hit games (9). The second baseman also ranks second among Rebels in batting average (.341) and runs scored (21).

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).

STRIKING FIRST
Ole Miss wastes no time striking first, outscoring the opposition 33-10 in the first inning. The Rebels have scored in the opening frame 12 times this season, posting an 11-1 record in 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.

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.

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.

ON DECK
Following the rivalry series against No. 5 Mississippi State, Ole Miss starts the week away from Swayze Field before returning to its home diamond for the weekend. On Tuesday (April 5), the Rebels will head south to face Southern Miss in a neutral site game at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Mississippi. Ole Miss will follow the midweek matchup with a weekend series at Swayze Field versus nationally ranked Arkansas (April 8-10). The SEC battle begins Friday night at 6:30 p.m. CT on SECN+. Saturday's game will be broadcast on national television, SEC Network, in primetime with a 7 p.m. first pitch. The series finale can also be seen on SEC Network at noon Sunday afternoon.


 

 

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