No. 9 Ole Miss Battles No. 3 MSU for Governor's Cup
April 25, 2016

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The Last Meeting
Ole Miss8
#5 Mississippi State5
April 3, 2016
Starkville, Miss.
Bortles and Lartigue Lead Rebels Past Rival MSU, 8-5
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. Third baseman Colby Bortles knocked in three runs and made numerous plays with his glove to help the Rebels (21-7, 3-6 SEC) claim the series finale over the rival Bulldogs (20-8-1, 6-3 SEC).

GOVERNOR’S CUP
Matchup: No. 9 Ole Miss (31-10) vs. No. 3 Mississippi State (27-13-1)
Date: April 26, 2016
Location: Pearl, Miss.
Venue: Trustmark Park
Capacity: 8,480
Television: SEC Network
    Clay Matvick, play-by-play
    Ben McDonald, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
    David Kellum, play-by-play
    Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Series: Series tied 18-18
Last Governor’s Cup: April 28, 2015
        Ole Miss won 11-1
        Pearl, Miss.

QUICK HITS
- Ole Miss is ranked fifth in the RPI and as high as No. 9 in the national polls.
- This is the 37th meeting in the neutral site rivalry series known as the Governor’s Cup, formerly the Mayor’s Trophy game; each team has won 18 games in the series  
- Ole Miss won last year’s Governor’s Cup 11-1 behind seven scoreless innings from Scott Weathersby.
- The Rebels enter the contest after winning all five of their games last week.
- Henri Lartigue leads all SEC catchers with a .362 batting average
- Ole Miss is 10-1 in midweek games this season.
- Tate Blackman has reached base in 26 of the last 27 games.
- Ole Miss has won at least 30 games for the 19th consecutive season.
- James McArthur is the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week.
- Seven of the Rebels’ 31 wins have been against ranked teams.
- All four games this week are versus teams ranked in the top 10.
- Ole Miss is outscoring the opposition 113-47 in the first three innings of games.

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
TUESDAY, 6:30 P.M.
Mississippi State - Ryan Cyr, Fr., RHP, 1-0, 0.00 ERA
Ole Miss - Chad Smith, Jr., RHP, 3-3, 4.99 ERA
NOTING SMITH:
- Collected a midweek win over Murray State (April 20), posting a career-high nine strikeouts.
- Struck out 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.

BREAKING DOWN THE BULLDOGS
No. 3 Mississippi State enters the rivalry game with an 27-13-1 record after taking two-of-three from LSU over the weekend. The Bulldogs are currently tied with the Rebels at 10-8 in SEC play. As a team, MSU is hitting .308 led by Jake Mangum’s .422 batting average. Along with his .372 average, Jacob Robson has shown his speed throughout the season with team highs in steals (12) and triples (3). Reid Humphreys leads the team with 15 doubles and has four home runs to his credit. Humphreys has seen action out of the bullpen as the team’s closer, making 12 appearances, posting a 5.94 ERA and collecting five saves. MSU will give the ball to freshman Ryan Cyr in the Governor’s Cup. It will be Cyr’s first career start; the right hander has not allowed a run in nine relief appearances (12.0 innings) this season. The Mississippi State pitching staff holds a 3.84 ERA as a team. John Cohen is in his eighth season leading the program.

A TIGHT SERIES
Aside from their conference series, Ole Miss and Mississippi State have played in a neutral-site rivalry game each season since 1980. The series, tied at 18-18 over the past 36 years, began as the Mayor’s Trophy game, but was changed to the Governor’s Cup in 2007. Started in 1980 by then Jackson Mayor Dale Danks Jr., the Mayor’s Trophy/Governor’s Cup game has been one of the most anticipated matchups of the college baseball season. Beginning in the 2007 season, the non-conference meeting between the two teams moved to Trustmark Park in Pearl, Mississippi, and began anew as the two teams now compete for the Governor’s Cup. Throughout the history of the annual midweek rivalry game, the two in-state foes have alternated being the home team at the neutral site venue. This season, Mississippi State will serve as the home team at Trustmark Park.

LAST SEASON’S GOVERNOR’S CUP
In the 2015 Governor’s Cup, Scott Weathersby threw seven scoreless innings, and the Ole Miss baseball team used 15 hits to score 11 runs in a 11-1 thumping of Mississippi State. The 10-run win for the Rebels marked the largest margin of victory in the 36-year history of the Mayor’s Trophy/Governor’s Cup between the two rivals. In the first start of his four-year career, Weathersby was brilliant, tossing seven scoreless innings. The senior right-hander allowed just six hits and walked one, while striking out three. For his outstanding performance, Weathersby was named the Governor’s Cup Most Valuable Player. Ole Miss recorded 15 hits paced once again by leadoff hitter Connor Cloyd, who went 3-for-6 with a career-high four RBI to produce his seventh-straight multi-hit game. Four more Rebels provided multi-hit games as Colby Bortles, Cameron Dishon, Austin Knight and Sikes Orvis all recorded two hits apiece. Bortles and Dishon each knocked in a pair of Rebels.

MIDWEEK SUCCESS
Ole Miss is 10-1 in midweek games. The Rebels won their first eight midweek contest of the season for the third time in program history, also accomplishing the feats in 2007 and 2010. The Rebels have won games over Arkansas State, Murray State, Southern Miss and UT Martin, while also sweeping Memphs, Southeast Missouri and UAB in a pair of midweek contests. Ole Miss has outscored the opposition a combined 72-30 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 11 earned runs in 45.0 innings, boasting a 2.20 ERA.

McARTHUR NAMED SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Ole Miss pitcher James McArthur was named SEC Freshman of the Week for the period ending April 24. McArthur earned the first weekly accolade of his career and became the first Rebel to earn SEC Freshman of the Week since Will Golsan claimed the honor last season (March 23, 2015). McArthur had an outstanding week on the mound, making two appearances that helped Ole Miss complete a perfect 5-0 record throughout the week. The New Braunfels, Texas native pitched 11.2 innings without allowing a run, giving up just six hits and recording 11 strikeouts. In a midweek win over Memphis (April 19), McArthur tossed a career-high seven scoreless innings and tied his career high in strikeouts with seven. Five days later (April 24), the tall right hander made his SEC debut versus Auburn. Entering the game in the second with the Rebels trailing 4-0, McArthur was able to strikeout his first two SEC hitters to get out of the jam. He continued to keep his team in the game with 4.2 scoreless innings of relief. In just his first collegiate season, McArthur has settled in and has been impressive, especially as of late. Over his last seven outings, he boasts a 5-0 record with a 1.62 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 33.1 innings. The freshman has allowed just 14 earned runs this season, the third-fewest in the SEC among qualifying pitchers.

SUPER SWEEPERS
With a three-game sweep of Auburn over the weekend, Ole Miss collected its fifth weekend sweep of the 2016 campaign. The Rebels swept Florida International to begin the season, won all three games at the Chanticleer Classic and close out the weekend non-conference slate with a trio of wins over Grambling State. In conference play, Ole Miss has swept SEC West foes Arkansas and Auburn at Swayze Field. The Rebels also earned two-game sweeps of Memphis, Southeast Missouri and UAB in midweek contests.

REBELS VERSUS RANKED OPPONENTS
All four games this week will be against top-10 opponents in No. 3 Mississippi State and No. 9 LSU. The Rebels have faced their six different ranked opponents this season. Ole Miss is 7-7 versus ranked teams, including series victories over then-No. 2 Louisville and then-No. 21 Arkansas. The Rebels also topped then-No. 5 Mississippi State and then-No. 18 Coastal Carolina in games earlier this year.

PLAYING IN PROFESSIONAL BALLPARKS
The Rebels return to Trustmark Park for its fourth game in a Minor League Baseball ballpark this season. Ole Miss faced Memphis at AutoZone Park, home of the Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals) last week (April 19). The Rebels met UAB at Regions Field (March 15-16), home of the Birmingham Barons. Earlier this month (April 5), Ole Miss headed down to the Mississippi Braves’ Trustmark Park for a neutral site matchup against Southern Miss.

RALLY REBELS
Trailing by five runs through the first seven innings of Sunday’s game versus Auburn, the Rebels made a remarkable comeback with six runs in the last two frames to win 6-5. Colby Bortles started the rally with a two-run home in the eighth, putting Ole Miss on the board. Freshman Ryan Olenek belted a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth before Henri Lartigue delivered the game-winning hit for the walk-off victory. The win marked the second time this season that Ole Miss rallied back from a deficit five runs or greater; the Rebels trailed Memphis 6-0 (March 2) before winning by a 9-7 final. It was also the largest ninth-inning comeback since Ole Miss trailed Mississippi State by five before winning in the 10th last season (May 9, 2015).

HERE’S TO YOU, MR. ROBINSON
A preseason All-American, junior Errol Robinson has flashed the leather at shortstop all season long. His bat has sparked recently to provide a solid combination of offense and defense. The Boyds, Maryland native has recorded a hit in 13 of the last 14 games, putting together seven multi-hit performances. Robinson has scored a run and registered a hit in each of the last six games.

STRINGING TOGETHER INNINGS
Against Murray State (April 5), the Rebels scored in four straight innings to take an 8-0 lead before claiming a five-run win. It was the third time this season Ole Miss put together four consecutive scoring innings, matching the series opener versus Grambling State (March 11) and the neutral site contest against Southern Miss (April 5). 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).

DOUBLE MACHINE
Junior Colby Bortles has blasted 15 doubles thus far in 2016, five more than his nearest teammate. His 15 doubles rank second among SEC sluggers as well as 34th nationally. The Oviedo, Florida native is four doubles away from cracking the Ole Miss single season top 10 list. He needs 10 more to break the single season record, currently 24 by Brad Henderson (1999) and Will Allen (2014).

CATCHER U
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 the team’s top hitter at the plate and leads all SEC catchers with a .362 batting average. Moreover, Lartigue is raking during conference play, hitting at a .423 clip. He has put together eight games with at least three hits, pacing the Rebel bats. In Sunday’s walk-off come-from-behind victory over Auburn, Lartigue went 4-for-5, tying a career high in hits which included the game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth.

OUTFIELD ASSISTS
The Ole Miss outfield has had its fair share of assists this season, especially as of late. Rebel outfielders have tallied 13 assists in 2016, including three in the past four games. Seven of the 13 assists have been outs at home, preventing opponents from scoring. J.B. Woodman leads the way with six assists, throwing four runners out at the plate. Freshman Ryan Olenek has four assists to his credit, while Cameron Dishon has three.

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 .400 with runners on base, including a remarkable .436 (17-of-39) 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 nine out of 11 opportunities. He also posts a .593 rate of advancing runners on base, another team best.

OLE MISS IN THE POLLS
After a perfect 5-0 week, Ole Miss moved up in every national poll. The Rebels’ highest ranking is No. 9 in Baseball America’s poll, while Perfect Game slotted Ole Miss 11th. The USA Today coaches poll placed had the Rebels as the 12th-best team in the country. D1Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) agreed that Ole Miss should be ranked 13th. Following an uncharacteristic fall outside the Collegiate Baseball rankings, Ole Miss returned to No. 24 in the publication’s top 30. With the combination of a quality record and strength of schedule, Ole Miss is fifth in the RPI.
    
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 second on the team with 13 multi-hit games, while ranking third in hits (45), runs (30) and RBI (27). The second baseman has reached base in 26 of the last 27 games.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
Ole Miss ranks in the top 25 nationally in several statistical categories. Individually, junior J.B. Woodman is seventh in the nation with six sacrifice flies, while Brady Bramlett ranks 21st averaging 11.55 strikeouts per nine innings.

Stat National Rank SEC Rank
W/L Percentage       0.756 8th 4th
Sacrifice Flies 23 17th 3rd
ERA 3.07 20th 4th


BIG INNINGS
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 in the series finale

STRIKING EARLY
Ole Miss wastes no time striking first, outscoring the opposition 39-15 in the first inning. The Rebels have scored in the opening frame 17 times this season, posting a 15-2 record in those ballgames. The first three innings are the Rebels’ best in terms of outscoring the opponent. Ole Miss has recorded a combined 113 runs in the first three frames, while only giving up 47 runs through the first third of the game for a +66 advantage. The second inning is the team’s best inning offensively, tallying 46 runs. On the mound, the Rebels’ best inning is the third; over 41 games, Ole Miss has surrendered just eight runs the third inning of contests.

Score by Innings      1          2        3        Total
Ole Miss 39 46 28 113
Opponents 15 24 8 47


MLB REBELS
The 2016 Major League Baseball season is now underway, and seven 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), Alex Presley (Milwauke Brewers) and Seth Smith (Seattle Mariners). 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. Presley already heard his named to Milwaukee, earning the call up on Thursday, April 21.

ON DECK
After the rivalry game, Ole Miss returns home for a conference series versus LSU (April 28-30). The three-game set with the Tigers begins Thursday night at 6 p.m. on SEC Network. Game two will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday night on SECN+, while Sunday’s game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 with an 11 a.m. first pitch. The Rebels’ will also be celebrating Alumni Weekend, bringing back former Ole Miss baseball players which includes members of the 1956 College World Series team.


 

 

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