April 4, 2016
Matchup: No. 14 Ole Miss (21-7) vs. Southern Miss (22-7)
Date: April 5, 2016
Location: Pearl, Miss.
Venue: Trustmark Park
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
David Kellum, play-by-play
Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Series: Ole Miss leads 71-49
Last Series: March 4, April 7, 2015
Southern Miss won both games
Final: 5-1, Hattiesburg, Miss.
Final: 6-5, Pearl, Miss.
- Ole Miss and Southern Miss will face off at Trustmark Park for the 11th straight season.
- The Golden Eagles are the Rebels’ opponent for the next two midweek games.
- Trustmark Park, home of the Mississippi Braves (Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves), will be the second of three Minor League Baseball ballparks the Rebels are scheduled to play in this season.
- The Ole Miss bullpen holds a combined ERA of 1.98 to go along with nine saves.
- The Rebels have left the fewest runners on base out of all SEC teams.
- Junior Colby Bortles leads the team with four three-RBI games.
- Ole Miss is outscoring opponents 35-15 in the first inning of games and holds a 12-2 record when scoring in the opening frame.
- Sophomore Tate Blackman has reached base in 14 consecutive games.
- After going 3-for-3 with runners in scoring position over the weekend, junior J.B. Woodman is 15-for-25 (.600) in the clutch category this season.
- Ole Miss will be the designated visiting team for Tuesday’s game.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
TUESDAY, 6:30 P.M.
Southern Miss - Mason Walley, Jr., RHP, 1-1, 4.32 ERA
Ole Miss - James McArthur, Fr., RHP, 3-0, 5.48 ERA
- Won his last three starts
- Struck out a career-high seven hitters in a win over UT Martin (March 22)
- Against UAB (March 16), allowed just one run on five hits to pick up his second victory in as many starts
- Has started five midweek games for Ole Miss
- Earned his first career win, allowing two runs over five innings against Southeast Missouri (March 8)
- Is one of the tallest Rebels on the team, standing 6’7” alongside Sean Johnson
SCOUTING SOUTHERN MISS
The Golden Eagles enter Tuesday’s in-state matchup after winning six of their last seven games, including a three-game sweep of Charlotte over the weekend. Southern Miss is an impressive team offensively, ranking ninth nationally with a .324 team batting average. Nick Dawson is hitting at a .398 clip, while Tim Lynch paces USM in hits (46) and RBI (34). The Golden Eagles have belted 39 home runs this season, which is the third-most in the nation. Taylor Braley has hit 10 of those home runs, tallying 31 RBI as well. On the mound, Southern Miss will hand the ball to junior right hander Mason Walley. In four appearances totaling 8.1 innings, Walley has a 1-1 record with a 4.32 ERA. He has one start under his belt with the other three appearances coming out of the bullpen. The Golden Eagles are led by eighth-year head coach Scott Berry.
A LOOK AT THE SERIES
The Rebels and Golden Eagles have been meeting on the diamond since 1916, and the teams will face off for the 121st time on Tuesday. Ole Miss leads the all-time series, 71-49, but will be looking for its first victory over Southern Miss since 2013. The two teams have squared off at Trustmark Park for the past decade with Southern Miss holding a 7-3 advantage in those neutral site contests. Trustmark Park is home of the Mississippi Braves, Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. The Mississippi Braves currently have former Rebel Chris Ellis on their roster. Ellis helped lead the Rebels to the College World Series in 2014.
Ole Miss is 7-0 in midweek games this season. The Rebels have won games over Arkansas State, Memphis and UT Martin, while also sweeping both Southeast Missouri and UAB in a pair of midweek contests. Ole Miss has outscored the opposition a combined 50-20 in midweek matchups, averaging over seven runs per game. As has been the case throughout the entire season, major credit goes to the bullpen. In midweek games this season, the Rebel bullpen has allowed just one earned run in 25.2 innings, boasting a 0.35 ERA.
The 2016 Major League Baseball season is now underway, and six former Rebels earned spots on big league ballclubs: Aaron Barrett (Washington Nationals), Chris Coghlan (Oakland Athletics), Zack Cozart (Cincinnati Reds), Lance Lynn (St. Louis Cardinals), Drew Pomeranz (San Diego Padres) and Seth Smith (Seattle Mariners). Cozart began the season with the Reds’ first hit (a leadoff double) and first run of the season. While they are certainly not new to the big leagues, Coghlan and Pomeranz find themselves on new teams for the 2016 campaign. Barrett and Lynn continue rehab from Tommy John surgery as the two MLB Rebels look to return to the diamond. Although he was optioned to Triple-A to start the season, former Rebel David Goforth made the Milwaukee Brewers’ 40-man roster and could hear his name called up at any point during the year.
BORTLES AND LARTIGUE LEAD REBS TO WIN OVER RIVAL MSU
Catcher Henri Lartigue went 3-for-5 with two runs and a career-high three RBI to lead No. 11 Ole Miss past No. 5 Mississippi State, 8-5, Sunday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field. The junior switch hitter fell just a triple shy of the cycle, belting his second home run of the season from the right side of the plate and adding a ground-rule double as a lefty. Third baseman Colby Bortles knocked in three runs and made numerous plays with his glove to help the Rebels claim the series finale over the rival Bulldogs. Bortles was active in the hot corner all day long, but he knocked down the rockets hit his way to prevent any extra-base hits. His timely hitting that brought in three runs ended up being a major key to the victory.
RELIABLE LONG RELIEF
Over the last two weekends, Brady Feigl and Wyatt Short stepped up to put together quality long relief outings. Against No. 10 South Carolina, Feigl struck out a career-high six in 3.2 innings out of the bullpen. Wrapping up the series, Short entered the 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 against the Gamecocks 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. Feigl nearly matched Short’s lengthy outing by going a career-high 5.1 innings at No. 5 Mississippi State Saturday afternoon. The next day, Short’s four innings of relief earned him a victory over the in-state rival. The effectiveness of the two relievers has helped the Rebels keep their bullpen fresh.
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 .465 with runners on base, including a remarkable .600 with runners in scoring position. Both averages lead the Ole Miss Rebels. With a runner on third and less than two outs, Woodman has scored the runner in seven out of nine opportunities. He also posts a .655 rate of advancing runners on base, another team best.
The Ole Miss bullpen has been a reliable force throughout the start of the 2016 campaign. As a group, the staff boasts a 8-1 record to go along with nine saves and a combined 1.98 ERA in relief appearances. Closer Wyatt Short, who ranks third in the SEC with five saves on the season, is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA. Sophomore Will Stokes adds a three saves to go along with a 1.26 ERA. Freshman Dallas Woolfolk has made eight relief appearances without allowing an earned run and also has a save to his credit. Fellow freshman Connor Green has appeared in seven games and has not surrendered a run in his Rebel career. David Parkinson has made a team-high 12 appearances out of the ‘pen, boasting an impressive 1.45 ERA. Coming off Tommy John surgery, redshirt-freshman Brady Feigl is 2-0 with a 3.05 ERA in eight appearances.
OLE MISS IN THE POLLS
Despite dropping a series over the weekend, Ole Miss did not fall far in the polls. Baseball America and Perfect Game rank the Rebels 14th, while Collegiate Baseball and the USA Today coaches poll place them at No. 15. D1Baseball moved Ole Miss into the No. 18 slot for its national poll, while the publication lists the Rebels with the seventh-best RPI in the country.
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 team in hits (32) and multi-hit games (10), while ranking second in runs scored (22). The second baseman has reached base in each of the last 14 games, a season best by any Rebel.
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).
Through the first seven weeks of the season, Ole Miss ranks in the top 25 nationally in several statistical categories. Individually, junior J.B. Woodman is sixth in the nation with five sacrifice flies.
|Walks Allowed per Nine Innings
Ole Miss wastes no time striking first, outscoring the opposition 35-15 in the first inning. The Rebels have scored in the opening frame 14 times this season, posting an 12-2 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. A run in the first also helped the Rebels knock off No. 5 Mississippi State. 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
Ole Miss will follow the midweek matchup with a weekend series at Swayze Field versus No. 21 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 Sunday afternoon at noon.