April 7, 2016
Matchup: No. 14 Ole Miss (22-7, 3-6 SEC) vs. No. 21 Arkansas (20-9, 4-5 SEC)
Date: April 8-10, 2016
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Venue: Swayze Field
Television: SECN+ (Fri.)/SEC Network (Sat., Sun.)
Richard Cross (Fri.)/Clay Matvick (Sat., Sun.), play-by-play
David Dellucci (Fri.)/Chris Burke (Sat., Sun.), analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
David Kellum, play-by-play
Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Series: Arkansas leads 45-37
Last Series: March 26-28, 2015
Arkansas won 2-of-3
Friday, April 8, 6:30 p.m.
Armed Forces Weekend
Friday Night Fireworks
Saturday, April 9, 7 p.m.
Armed Forces Weekend
The Last Meeting
March 28, 2015
Sunday, April 10, 12 p.m.
Armed Forces Weekend
Kids Run the Bases Presented by Belles and Beaus. Kids are invited to come down on the field following the completion of the game.
Baseball Card Pack Giveaway (2-of-5)
- Ole Miss has won three of the past four series against Arkansas.
- The last time a series sweep occured between these two teams was 2009 when the Rebels took all three games in Fayetteville to end the regular season.
- No. 21 Arkansas marks the third ranked opponent Ole Miss has faced in as many weekends.
- The Ole Miss bullpen holds a combined ERA of 2.01 to go along with nine saves and an 8-1 record.
- Junior Colby Bortles leads the team with four three-RBI games.
- Ole Miss is outscoring opponents 36-15 in the first inning of games and holds a 13-2 record when scoring in the opening frame.
- Sophomore Tate Blackman has reached base in 15 consecutive games.
- Junior J.B. Woodman is hitting .577 (15-for-26) with runners in scoring position.
- With 18 career saves, closer Wyatt Short is tied with Scott Bittle for fourth all time at Ole Miss.
- Head coach Mike Bianco is one of nine coaches in history to win at least 600 games at an SEC school.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
FRIDAY, 6:30 P.M.
Arkansas - James Teague, Jr., RHP, 2-2, 3.12 ERA
Ole Miss - Brady Bramlett, R-Jr., RHP, 4-2, 2.97 ERA
- Ranks second in the SEC in strikeouts looking with 22
- Tossed five scoreless innings versus Grambling (March 11), striking out 11 and not issuing a walk
- Struck out eight in a victory over No. 2 Louisville (February 26)
- 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, 7 P.M.
Arkansas - Zach Jackson, Jr., RHP, 2-2, 3.68 ERA
Ole Miss - David Parkinson, So., LHP, 0-0, 1.40 ERA
- Leads the team in appearances with 13, all out of the bullpen in 19.1 innings of work
- Holding opponents to a .224 batting average
- Pitched the Rebels out of trouble in each of the last two games
- Tossed a career-high 4.1 innings versus No. 10 South Carolina (March 24)
- Junior college transfer from Florence-Darlington Technical School
- In JUCO, made 12 starts and posted a 5-2 record with a 2.77 ERA
SUNDAY, 12 P.M.
Arkansas - TBA
Ole Miss - TBA
ATTENTION ON ARKANSAS
Arkansas, ranked No. 21 in the USA Today coaches poll, enters the weekend with a 20-9 record after beating Memphis, 12-4, in a midweek contest. The Razorbacks are 4-5 in SEC play, falling to South Carolina in three games before sweeping Auburn and dropping two-of-three to Missouri. Behind a team-high six homers from Michael Bernal, Arkansas leads the SEC with 31 home runs. Carson Shaddy has five dingers of his own to go along with a .352 batting average to lead the Razorbacks at the plate. On the mound, junior right handers James Teague and Zach Jackson plan to make their first starts of the season after combining for 20 appearances out of the Arkansas bullpen. Dave Van Horn is in his 14th season in charge of the Razorbacks and 28th overall as a head coach.
LAST TIME WE MET AT SWAYZE
Ole Miss took two-of-three from Arkansas in 2014, the last time the SEC schools played at Swayze Field. As a freshman All-American, J.B. Woodman went 3-for-3 to lead the Rebels to a 3-2 victory in the series opener. Woodman knocked in another run and scored one of his own in game two as Ole Miss clinched the weekend with a 7-4 win. However, the Razorbacks took the finale to ensure the last sweep in between the two remain in 2009 when Ole Miss won all three games in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
ANOTHER WEEKEND, ANOTHER RANKED FOE
When the Rebels take the field against Arkansas, they will be battling a ranked team for the third straight weekend. After facing No. 10 South Carolina and No. 5 Mississippi State over the past two weekends, the gauntlet of SEC play continues with the No. 21 Razorbacks. Overall, Ole Miss has played four ranked teams through the first seven weeks of the season. The Rebels hosted No. 2 Louisville in week two before traveling to No. 18 Coastal Carolina for the Chanticleer Classic.
FAST START PROPELS OLE MISS PAST SOUTHERN MISS
Scoring all six runs in the first four innings, No. 14 Ole Miss remained perfect in midweek games with a 6-2 win over Southern Miss Tuesday night at Trustmark Park. Behind six scoreless innings from freshman starter James McArthur, the Rebels improved to 8-0 in midweek contests this season. McArthur allowed just four hits and struck out five to earn his fourth straight victory in as many starts. The six innings of work was a career high for the tall right hander as he kept the team with the nation’s ninth-best batting average off the scoreboard. Ole Miss tallied 11 hits throughout the night behind multi-hit games from four Rebels. Freshman Ryan Olenek led the way, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and one run. Connor Cloyd, Errol Robinson and J.B. Woodman also recorded two hits apiece, with Cloyd knocking in a pair of runs. The Rebels went 6-for-14 with two outs and with runners on base.
STRINGING TOGETHER INNINGS
In Tuesday’s win over Southern Miss, the Rebels scored in the first four innings to take a 6-0 lead before claiming a four-run win. It was the second time this season Ole Miss put together four consecutive scoring innings, matching the series opener versus Grambling State (March 11). The Rebels also scored runs in three straight innings in another game versus GSU (March 13) as well as against No. 18 Coastal Carolina (March 5).
MCARTHUR IN THE MIDDLE
Freshman James McArthur has been the Rebels’ primary midweek starter, and after getting settled in, the tall right hander has found success. In his last four starts on the mound, McArthur is a perfect 4-0 with a 2.14 ERA. The New Braunfels, Texas native has struck out 23 and walked just three over 21.0 innings during that stretch. His most recent outing was the best of his young Ole Miss career. Facing one of the nation’s top offensive teams in Southern Miss, McArthur tossed a career-high six shutout innings to lead Ole Miss to another midweek victory.
Ole Miss is 8-0 in midweek games for the third time in program history, also accomplishing the feats in 2007 and 2010. 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. With a win over in-state foe Southern Miss on Tuesday, the Rebels kept their streak alive. Ole Miss has outscored the opposition a combined 56-22 in midweek matchups, averaging 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 two earned runs in 28.2 innings, boasting a 0.63 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 as part of a 3-for-4 game Monday. 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.
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 .467 with runners on base, including a remarkable .577 (15-of-26) 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 .649 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 2.01 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 three saves to go along with a 1.17 ERA. Freshman Dallas Woolfolk has made nine relief appearances with a 0.96 ERA and one save. Fellow freshman Connor Green has appeared in seven games and has not surrendered a run in his Rebel career. Coming off Tommy John surgery, redshirt-freshman Brady Feigl is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in nine outings. David Parkinson has made a team-high 13 appearances out of the ‘pen, boasting an impressive 1.40 ERA. However, Parkinson is expected to make the transition to the rotation this weekend.
OLE MISS IN THE POLLS
Despite dropping a series over the weekend, Ole Miss did not fall far in the polls. Baseball America, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) 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 is tied for the team lead in hits (33) and multi-hit games (10), while ranking second in runs scored (22). The second baseman has reached base in each of the last 15 games, a season best by any Rebel.
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 9 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. A pair of five-run fifth innings helped Ole Miss down UAB 5-1 (March 16), as well as Tennessee, 10-7 (March 20).
Ole Miss wastes no time striking first, outscoring the opposition 36-15 in the first inning. The Rebels have scored in the opening frame 15 times this season, posting an 13-2 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.
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 8,414 fans per game, including four contests with the attendance over 10,000, to rank second nationally. In total, 143,035 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.
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.
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.
The Rebels will remain at Swayze Field for their next midweek matchup on Wednesday, April 13. Ole Miss will face Southern Miss for the second time in eight days after the two programs squared off at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Mississippi (April 5). In that neutral site matchup, the Rebels struck early and never looked back to win 6-2. First pitch of the Wednesday night contest is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT. Ole Miss will then travel to Alabama for a weekend series against the Crimson Tide (April 15-17). All four Rebel baseball games next week will be broadcast on SECN+ and can also be heard on the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network.