No. 4 Rebels Meet No. 12 Southern Miss at Trustmark Park

TUESDAY - 6 p.m.
PROJECTED STARTERS
Ole Miss: RHP Houston Roth 
4-0, 4.00 ERA, 36.0 IP
Southern Miss: RHP J.C. Keys
2-2, 6.26 ERA, 23.0 IP

GAME 34
Date: April 10
First Pitch: 6 p.m. CT
Location: Pearl, Mississippi
Venue: Trustmark Park (8,480)
Dimensions: LF-330, CF-402, RF-332
TV: None
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: 75-50, Ole Miss
Last Meeting: March 27, 2018 - Ole Miss 7, Southern Miss 6

QUICK HITS
• No. 4 Ole Miss enters its second meeting this season with in-state rival No. 12 Southern Miss looking to bounce back from its first series loss of the year.
• Ole Miss held strong in the top five of the national polls after a 2-2 week, including No. 4 rankings from Perfect Game and ESPN/USA Today, as well as No. 5 designations by D1Baseball and Baseball America.
• The Rebels are tied for the second-most wins in college baseball, trailing only top-ranked Florida (28-6).
• The Ole Miss pitching staff remains No. 1 in the SEC in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.47). The Rebels have struck out more batters (326) and walked fewer batters (94) than any team in the conference.
• Ole Miss is the only team in college baseball to rank in the top 25 in the nation in ERA, batting average and fielding percentage.
• The Rebels earned real estate in the SEC Weekly Awards for the second straight week and the fourth time this season as Tyler Keenan was named SEC Freshman of the Week, making him the first Rebel to ever accomplish the feat in consecutive weeks. 
Thomas Dillard had a tremendous week for the Rebs, scoring five runs and driving in five more. He added a dazzling defensive play, making a sliding grab at the warning track that kept the game alive for Ole Miss in the bottom of the 10th in Game 3 at Mississippi State.
Ryan Olenek stayed hot over the weekend, extending his team-best hitting streak to 11 games. In that span, Olenek has posted a slash line of .523/.659/.522 with 23 hits, six doubles and seven runs scored. He’s reached base successfully in 13 straight contests.
Nick Fortes found his rhythm at the plate in Starkville. The junior homered in Game 1 at MSU and slashed .353/.588/.421 for the week with a double, a homer, five RBI and 4 runs scored.
• Freshman Max Cioffi turned in a strong week on the mound. He went 1.2 innings in Memphis, allowing just one hit and no runs. He came in and stopped the bleeding in Game 1 at MSU, going 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. His ERA stands at 0.00.
• Sophomore starter Houston Roth will look to continue his strong play on the mound for Ole Miss Tuesday night. The Oxford native has gone a combined 9.1 innings in his last two appearances, allowing just one run on 10 hits with five walks and 12 K.

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Tuesday • 6 p.m. 

RHP Houston Roth (Ole Miss) | 4-0, 4.00 ERA, 36.0 IP
RHP J.C. Keys (Southern Miss) | 2-2, 6.26 ERA, 23.0 IP

ROTH NOTES
• Last two outings: 9.1 IP, 10 H, 1 R, 5 BB, 12 K
• No. 40 in the NCAA, fifth in SEC averaging 12.0 strikeouts per nine innings.
• Earned win, throwing 4.1 scoreless innings, allowing only three hits last week at Memphis.
• Was in outstanding in relief last week vs. No. 14 Southern Miss, allowing just one run over 5.0 innings, striking out seven and walking one to top the bleeding and set the table for a Rebel comeback.
• Earned second win of the season, allowing two runs in 5.0 IP with 7 K at Georgia State
• Held Murray State scoreless an allowed just one hit after the first inning of Tuesday’s walk-off victory.
• Went 4.0 IP with six K in his first collegiate start against Memphis
• Allowed two runs off three hits in the start earning his first win of 2018
• 2017 Freshman All-American (Collegiate Baseball)
• Held the lowest ERA on the team a year ago (1.57) to go along with a perfect 3-0 record
• Recorded 41 strikeouts and walked only eight in 28.2 IP
• Allowed only five earned runs all season in 2017

SCOUTING SOUTHERN MISS
• Balanced team with .290 collective batting average and 3.64 team ERA
• Four regular starters hitting over .300, 36 total HR on the season
• No. 8 in the nation in runs scored, 5th in NCAA per-game scoring at 8.5 runs per contest
• No. 6 in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 3.16
• Record includes a three-game sweep of SEC opponent Mississippi State to open season
• Coming off a 2-1 series win over Western Kentucky, including a 14-1 seven-inning rout in Game 3
• Led offensively by trio Luke Reynolds, Matt Wallner and Hunter Slater, each hitting .355.
• Wallner leads team with 8 HR, 39 RBI; Reynolds boasts 7 HR, team-best 11 2B; Slater with team-high 44 hits
• Offensively, Golden Eagles are top 20 in the nation in home runs, OBP, walks drawn
• Projected starter J.C. Keys boasts opp. avg. at .242. Has thrown team-high seven wild pitches.

SERIES HISTORY
• This will be 126th meeting all-time between the two in-state rivals. |• Ole Miss holds a 75-50 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 17-20 all-time against the Golden Eagles.|
• The Rebels won the prior meeting with USM this season, rallying from an early 5-0 deficit to win.
• Last meeting, Ole Miss hit touched up J.C. Keys for 3 ER in 4.0 innings

RIVALRY WEEK
Ole Miss’ schedule features five rivalry contests in a one-week span. The Rebels opened Rivalry Week with a dominant 12-0 win over Memphis. They then suffered their first series loss of the season, dropping two of three at Mississippi State. Ole Miss now travels to Pearl to take on Southern Miss. The Rebels will have Rivalry Week 2.0 at the end of the month when they face the Bulldogs for the Governor’s Cup in Pearl (April 24) before a weekend series with LSU.

ON THE RECORD
• Ole Miss is tied for the second-most wins in college baseball, matching Duke at 27-6, trailing only top-ranked Florida (28-6).
• The Rebels and Blue Devils are tied for the fourth-best win percentage (.818) in the NCAA, trailing only Tennessee Tech (.833), Florida (.824) and Stanford (.821).
• Ole Miss trails just Florida in the SEC in both wins and win percentage.
• The Rebels are tied with Florida for the fewest losses (6) in the SEC, trailing only Stanford and Tennessee Tech (5) nationally.
• Ole Miss is one of seven teams in the nation with a win percentage in the .800s.

ALL THREE PHASES
Ole Miss is the only team in college baseball to rank in the top-25 nationally in team ERA (20th, 3.14), team batting average (16th, .301) and fielding percentage (24th, .979).

REBS RECOGNIZED
Ole Miss added its fourth SEC Weekly Honor of year this week as Tyler Keenan was named SEC Freshman of the Week for the second straight week. He’s the first Rebel ever to earn FOTW honors in back-to-back weeks, and he joins Alex Yarbrough as the only two Rebels to win the award twice. Ole Miss is tied with Kentucky and Arkansas for the most weekly awards in the conference this season at four apiece. Only the Rebels and Razorbacks boast multiple winners in two categories. No team has a winner in every category.

The week prior, closer Parker Caracci was named SEC Pitcher of the Week after earning the save in all three of the Rebels’ wins. Keenan was named SEC co-Freshman of the Week after hitting the game-deciding home run in Game 3 against Arkansas. Last, Caracci also earned Midseason All-American honors from Perfect Game/Rawlings and D1Baseball.

Brady Feigl was named NCBWA’s Pitcher of the Month for February after his torrid start to the season. Ryan Rolison earned the first Pitcher of the Week award of the season in the SEC after mowing down Winthrop in the Rebels’ season opener.

ALL STRIKES, NO WALKS
Ole Miss remains No. 1 in the SEC in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 3.47, good for third in the nation. With 326 strikeouts and 94 walks on the season, the Rebels are the only team in the league with a K/BB ratio above 3.1.

The Rebels’ 326 K are the most in the SEC and the 10th-most nationally. Ole Miss has issued the fewest walks in the league at 94, just outside of the top 25 in the country.

Ole Miss averages just 2.86 walks issued per nine innings, the best rate in the SEC and 11th in the NCAA.

DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK
Of the Rebels’ 27 wins this season, 11 have been come-from-behind victories. 

MIDWEEK WINNERS
Ole Miss is a perfect 9-0 in midweek games this season, including three road midweek wins.

SHUT IT DOWN
Ole Miss is 22-1 when leading after six innings. That number improves to a perfect 25-0 after seven and 26-0 after eight innings. 

DOUBLE TROUBLE
Ole Miss is No. 8 in the nation with 74 doubles on the year. The Rebels are No. 2 the SEC in that category behind Florida (75). They’re No. 15 in the nation and second in the league with 2.24 doubles per game. To this point last season, the Rebels had just 49 doubles.

REBELS RAKE
Compared to last season, the Rebels have found another level of production at the plate.

Through 33 games last year, Ole Miss carried a team slash line of .246/.364/.338, with 149 runs scored, 49 doubles, 25 home runs and 251 strikeouts. Through 33 games this season, the Rebels are slashing .301/.476/.386 with 230 runs scored, 74 doubles, 37 home runs and 201 strikeouts.

The Ole Miss offense is hitting .301 as a group this season, now at No. 16 in the NCAA and No. 3 in the SEC. With 332 hits on the season, the Rebel offense is 17th in the country and fourth in the conference. 

INTRIGUING TRIPLES
Ole Miss has four triples this season, and they’ve come in interesting fashion—two off the bat of Thomas Dillard and two off the bat of Will Golsan, all coming in just two games where Dillard hit a triple first, followed shortly thereafter by a Golsan triple.

On March 20 against New Orleans, Dillard tripled in the fourth, and Golsan followed suit in the seventh. On April 4 at Memphis, Dillard hit his second triple of the season in the third, and Golsan drove his in the fifth.

BOMBS AWAY
Ole Miss has been one of the best power-hitting teams in college baseball this season. The Rebels are 15th in the nation and fifth in the SEC with 37 home runs on the season. The Rebels are averaging 1.12 homers per game, good for 20th in the country and fifth in the conference.

Ole Miss is No. 13 in the nation in slugging percentage and fourth in the league at .476.

Thomas Dillard, Cole Zabowski and Nick Fortes lead the Rebels with seven home runs apiece. Three Rebels—Fortes, Dillard and Chase Cockrell—boast multi-homer games this year.

RALLY ON TWO
Ole Miss has had a knack for two-out hitting this season. Of the Rebels’ 208 RBI, 82 have come with two outs. By comparison, the Rebel pitching staff has allowed just 42 two-out RBI. Through 30 games last season, Ole Miss had just 57 two-out RBI. The Rebels totaled 95 all of last year. The Rebels are hitting .309 with two outs, as well as .321 with runners in scoring position and .327 with runners on base.

KEENAN IS KEY
Tyler Keenan has been seeing the ball as well as anyone in the country of late en route to back-to-back SEC Freshman of the Week honors. Keenan is the first Rebel to win the award in back-to-back weeks, and he joins Alex Yarbrough as just the second Rebel ever to win it twice.

Over the past two weeks, the rookie out of Clayton, North Carolina, is slashing .464/.679/.484 with 13 hits, eight runs scored and seven more batted in. He’s hit two home runs in that span while adding a stolen base.

Keenan hit a towering home run to break a fifth-inning tie in the Game 3 rubber match at Mississippi State. Immediately prior to his home run, he turned a 5U3 double play to help the Rebels escape a two-on, one-out situation in the fourth inning. He later drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly.

His highlight of Week 7 came in Game 3 against No. 5 Arkansas. Keenan delivered what proved to be the game-winning 3-run home run, clearing the bases in the seventh inning and scoring the game-deciding run in a wild 11-10 win.

OLEY DOESN’T MISS
Ryan Olenek has been one of Ole Miss’ most reliable bats this season, including an incredible tear of late. Olenek is currently on a team-best 11-game hitting streak and has reached base successfully in 13 straight games. In the past 11 games, Oley is slashing .523/.659/.522 with 23 H, 6 2B, 7 R.

Olenek has tallied eight multi-hit performances in the last nine games. He leads the Rebels with 15 multi-hit games this season. He’s hitting .468 in SEC play with six doubles. The Winter Park, Florida, native boasts a team-best 13 doubles on the year, good for 21st in the nation and first in the SEC. 

Olenek is the toughest player to strike out in the SEC, having struck out just 10 times in 125 at-bats for a K rating of 12.5. 

CARACCI IN THE CLUTCH
Parker Caracci had his best week yet as a Rebel a week ago, earning the save in all three of the Rebels’ Week 7 wins to become the first, and still the only, reliever to win SEC Pitcher of the Week this season.

Caracci recorded saves in back-to-back games to lock down the Rebels’ series win over No. 5 Arkansas. Saturday’s Game 3 save was the fifth in a seven-game span for Caracci, all coming in just nine days’ time. The redshirt sophomore out of Jackson, Mississippi, carried a 0.00 ERA throughout Week 7.

Five of Caracci’s six saves have come in SEC play. Those six saves tie him for the team lead with Dallas Woolfolk

Z-BO HITTING Z-BOMBS
Cole Zabowski has caught fire in SEC play. Four of the sophomore’s seven home runs have come in league play, a team-high, including two a week ago against No. 5 Arkansas. Zabowski is hitting .400 in SEC play, second-best among Rebels. He’s slugging .775 against league competition, the best mark on the team.

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 seven on the year.

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.

His latest home run was a clutch game-winning blast in the seventh inning against Southern Miss. The sophomore out of Oxford sent the ball just shy of 400 feet over the left field wall. It left his bat at 103.1 mph. It was the switch hitter’s first home run of the season hitting right-handed.

Dillard is coming off a tremendous Week 8. Oxford High product slashed .463/.769/.611 with five runs scored and five more batted in. He knocked two doubles and a triple while drawing five walks. Dillard also flashed the leather, making a game-saving sliding catch at the warning track in the bottom of the 10th inning in Game 3 at MSU.

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

Golsan is No. 10 in the nation and is tied for the SEC lead with five sacrifice flies on the year. Golsan drove in the game-tying run on a sac fly in Game 3 at Mississippi State.

CI0.00FFI
Freshman Max Cioffi has emerged as yet another strong arm out of the Rebel bullpen of late. The rookie out of Chicago turned in a strong week on the mound. He was the first arm out of the bullpen against Memphis and

went 1.2, allowing just one hit and no runs. He came in and stopped the bleeding in Game 1 at MSU, going 3.1 scoreless, allowing just two hits.

Cioffi has maintained a 0.00 ERA through 10.0 IP, allowing just three hits for an opponent batting average of .094.


 

 

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