Baseball Treks to Alabama for Weekend Series
April 14, 2016

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The Last Meeting
Ole Miss1
May 19, 2015
Hoover, Ala.
Ole Miss Exits SEC Tournament
In the single-elimination first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, the No. 6 seeded Ole Miss baseball team dropped a 6-1 decision to No. 11 seed Alabama Tuesday morning, May 19, at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The Rebels (30-26) recorded nine hits throughout the contest, but the Crimson Tide (31-26) used two-out hitting to score all six runs and claim the victory.

Matchup: No. 8 Ole Miss (25-8, 6-6 SEC) at Alabama (20-13, 6-6 SEC)
Date: April 15-17, 2016
Location: Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Venue: Sewell-Thomas Stadium
Capacity: 8,500
Television: SEC Network+
    Mick Gillispie, play-by-play
    Lance Cormier, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
    David Kellum, play-by-play
    Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio:
Series: Alabama leads 196-147-2
Last Game: April 25-26, 2015
        Ole Miss won two of three
        Oxford, Miss.

- Ole Miss is ranked fourth in the RPI and as high as No. 8 in the national polls.
- The Rebels dropped their first midweek game of the season Wednesday, falling to No. 18 Southern Miss.
- Ole Miss has won three of the past four series over the Crimson Tide.
- The Rebels have taken 9-of-15 three-game series against Alabama under head coach Mike Bianco.
- Pitchers Chad Smith and Brian Browning hail from the state of Alabama.
- Errol Robinson has recorded five multi-hit games during his current six-game hitting streak.
- Henri Lartigue leads all SEC catchers with a .361 batting average.
- Ole Miss is outscoring opponents 38-15 in the first inning of games and holds a 14-2 record when scoring in the opening frame.
- Tate Blackman has reached base in 19 consecutive games and boasts an eight-game hitting streak.
- J.B. Woodman is hitting .484 (15-for-31) with runners in scoring position.
- Woodman has at least one hit in each of the six career games versus Alabama (7-for-21, four runs).
- Head coach Mike Bianco is one of nine coaches in history to win at least 600 games at an SEC school.

Alabama - Geoffrey Bramblett, Jr., RHP, 3-1, 2.39 ERA
Ole Miss - Brady Bramlett, R-Jr., RHP, 5-2, 2.49 ERA
- Tied a personal best with 12 strikeouts over a season-high 7.0 scoreless innings in win over No. 21 Arkansas (April 8)
- Pitched a career-high 7.1 scoreless innings versus Alabama last season (April 25, 2015), recording nine strikeouts and zero walks
- 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

Alabama - Jake Walters, So., RHP, 2-3, 2.44 ERA
Ole Miss - David Parkinson, So., LHP, 1-0, 1.46 ERA
- Earned his first victory in his first career start, allowing one run over a career-high 5.1 innings
- Before being moved into the rotation, led the team in appearances out of the bullpen
- Holding opponents to a .221 batting average
- Tossed 4.1 innings of relief 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

Alabama - Nick Eicholtz, Jr., RHP, 2-1, 2.51 ERA
Ole Miss - TBA

Alabama enters the weekend with a 20-13 record and tied with the Rebels at 6-6 in SEC play. The Crimson Tide won its first two conference series, taking two-of-three from both LSU and Tennessee. However, UA dropped series at Georgia and Kentucky over the past two weekends. Alabama picked up its 20th win of the season Tuesday night, squeaking past UAB 7-6. Chance Vincent paces the bats with a .308 average and 20 RBI. On the mound Geoffrey Bramblett serves as the Crimson Tide’s ace with a 3-1 record and 2.39 ERA. Thomas Burrows is the team’s closer, ranking second in the SEC with eight saves. Burrows has not allowed a run in 10 appearances, spanning 12.1 innings, and holds opposing hitters to a .098 average.

Under head coach Mike Bianco, Ole Miss is 9-6 in SEC series versus Alabama, including claiming three of the past four series. Last season, the Rebels took two-of-three at Swayze Field by winning a Saturday doubleheader (April 25, 2015). Ole Miss took game one 10-2 before an outstanding night from Brady Bramlett led to a 4-0 shutout. In the first contest, Cameron Dishon went 4-for-5, setting a career high for hits, and Colby Bortles tied a career high with five RBI thanks to a double and a home run. The Rebels pounded out 17 hits as five players recorded multi-hit games, including Errol Robinson (3-for-4, one run, one walk), Will Golsan (2-for-3, two runs, one RBI, two walks) and Connor Cloyd (2-for-5, two runs, two RBI). In the nightcap, Bramlett went a career-long 7.1 innings, shutting out Alabama and limiting the Crimson Tide to just four hits. He also struck out nine batters with no walks in front of 10,119 fans at Swayze Field. In the series finale, Alabama prevented the sweep with a 13-4 win and later knocked the Rebels out of the SEC Tournament, evening the entire regular season series at two games apiece.

In his first season with the Rebels in 2015, Connor Cloyd emerged towards the end of the year as the team’s leading hitter. The Maple Valley, Washington native found some of that success against Alabama, putting together multi-hit games in all three games he faced the Crimson Tide. Cloyd tallied two hits in each game of the three-game set at Swayze Field to help Ole Miss take the series. He did not play versus Alabama in the SEC Tournament due to an injury.  

In a battle of two ranked teams, No. 8 Ole Miss suffered its first midweek loss of the season, falling 5-1 to No. 18 Southern Miss Wednesday night at Swayze Field. After five scoreless innings, the Golden Eagles used a three-run eighth inning to avenge a loss to the Rebels just eight days ago and snap Ole Miss’ five-game winning streak. Right-handed pitcher James McArthur tossed 5.1 innings on the mound in his seventh midweek start, recording five strikeouts and allowing only one run to score in the no decision. The one run was the first run surrendered by McArthur against Southern Miss in 11.1 innings after his pitched six scoreless frames in last week’s outing versus the Golden Eagles. Will Golsan added a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 on the evening. Sophomore Tate Blackman singled in the first to extend his reached base streak to 19 games hitting streak to eight games.

Against Southern Miss (April 5), 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 games versus No. 18 Coastal Carolina (March 5) and GSU (March 13), as well as in a pair of contests against No. 21 Arkansas (April 8-9).

After beating in-state rivals Mississippi State and Southern Miss in back-to-back games, Ole Miss continued its winning ways with a three-game sweep of No. 21 Arkansas at Swayze Field. Behind seven scoreless innings and a career-high 12 strikeouts by ace Brady Bramlett, the Rebels cruised to a 7-3 victory in the series opener. In game two, the Rebel bats exploded to plate14 runs, the most scored by Ole Miss in an SEC game since April 26, 2014, an 18-5 win at Kentucky. Ole Miss recorded seven doubles throughout the night and went 7-for-18 with runners in scoring position. Closing out the series, the Rebels held off the pesky Razorbacks 8-7 to complete the three-game sweep. It was the first sweep of Arkansas since 2009, including the first ever over the Razorbacks at Swayze Field. Arkansas became the fourth ranked team that Ole Miss has swept in three games throughout the past four seasons.

Junior Colby Bortles has blasted 14 doubles thus far in 2016, six more than his nearest teammate. His 14 doubles rank second among SEC sluggers as well as 17th nationally. The Oviedo, Florida native is five doubles away from cracking the Ole Miss single season top 10 list. He needs 11 more to break the single season record, currently 24 held by Brad Henderson (1999) and Will Allen (2014).

The tradition of great catchers at Ole Miss is well known, especially over recent history. Stuart Turner was a Johnny Bench Award winner and Will Allen was an All-American. Last year, Austin Knight threw out 17 baserunners. This season, another Rebel catcher is making his presence known. After spending most of last season as the team’s designated hitter or backup catcher, junior Henri Lartigue has taken the reigns behind the plate in 2016. The Southaven, Mississippi native is one of the team’s leaders at the plate. In fact, his .361 batting average ranks 10th in the SEC and leads all conference catchers. Moreover, Lartigue is raking during conference play, hitting at a .413 clip. He has put together six games with at least three hits, pacing the Rebel bats.

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 .453 with runners on base, including a remarkable .484 (15-of-31) 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 eight out of 10 opportunities. He also posts a .636 rate of advancing runners on base, another team best.

With a perfect 4-0 week last week, the Rebels moved up in almost every national poll. Baseball American pushed Ole Miss into the top 10 at No. 8. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), Perfect Game and the USA Today coaches poll tabbed the Rebels at 11th in the country. Meanwhile, moved Ole Miss to the No. 13 spot, while Collegiate Baseball kept the Rebels at No. 15. With an impressive record and strength of schedule, Ole Miss is fourth in the RPI.
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 (39) and multi-hit games (12), while ranking second in RBI (26) and third in runs scored (24). The second baseman has reached base in each of the last 19 games, a season best by any Rebel.

Ole Miss ranks in the top 25 nationally in several statistical categories. Individually, junior J.B. Woodman is fourth in the nation with six sacrifice flies, while Brady Bramlett ranks 12th averaging 12.25 strikeouts per nine innings. With a team-high 14 doubles, Colby Bortles sits at 17th nationally.  

Stat National Rank SEC Rank
W/L Percentage 0.757  9th  5th
Sacrifice Flies 19 18th 4th
ERA  3.10  19th 4th
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio    
2.65 24th 6th

Ole Miss has put together big innings throughout the 2016 campaign. Eight 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). With six runs in the bottom of the eighth (April 9), the Rebels held off No. 21 Arkansas before claiming the weekend sweep with a win on Sunday.

Ole Miss wastes no time striking first, outscoring the opposition 38-15 in the first inning. The Rebels have scored in the opening frame 16 times this season, posting a 14-2 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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Next week, Ole Miss will play five games in six days, including four at Swayze Field. The Rebels will head to Memphis to begin the week (April 19) before hosting Murray State (April 20). Both midweek matchups are slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. CT. The busy stretch ends with a weekend series at Swayze Field versus SEC West foe Auburn (April 22-24). The final two games of the series with the Tigers will be nationally televised on SEC Network.






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