Baseball Welcomes UAPB to Town for Star Wars Night
May 3, 2016

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The Last Meeting
Arkansas-Pine Bluff6
Ole Miss7
March 18, 2015
Oxford, Miss.
Three-Run Ninth Propels Ole Miss Comeback Victory
Blackman goes 3-for-5 with 3 RBI, including the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth, to help the Rebels down UAPB, 7-6

Matchup: No. 7 Ole Miss (33-12) vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (17-21)
Date: May 4, 2016
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Venue: Swayze Field
Capacity: 10,323
Television: SECN+
    Will Kollmeyer, play-by-play
    David Dellucci, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
    David Kellum, play-by-play
    Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio:
Series: Ole Miss leads 5-0

Last Game: March 18, 2015
        Ole Miss won 7-6
        Oxford, Miss.

Star Wars Night at Swayze: First 500 fans get a replica lightsaber. First 1,000 fans get a commemorative poster.
Kids Night! Kids 12 and under get in FREE
$1 Hot Dog Night

- Ole Miss is ranked seventh in the RPI as well as the national polls.
- The Rebels are coming off a series victory over No. 8 LSU, taking two-of-three games at Swayze Field.
- Ole Miss is 10-2 in midweek games this season.
- J.B. Woodman is the reigning NCBWA National Hitter of the Week and SEC Player of the Week.
- Ole Miss and UAPB have faced off five times over the past seven years; the Rebels have won all five games in the all-time series.
- Henri Lartigue leads all SEC catchers with a .348 batting average.
- Tate Blackman has reached base in 30 of the last 31 games.
- Ole Miss has won at least 30 games for the 19th consecutive season.
- Closer Wyatt Short is on the watch list for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award.
- The Rebels are 33-1 this season when scoring at least four runs in a game (lone loss to then-No. 10 South Carolina, 9-5, March 25, 2016).
- Ole Miss is outscoring the opposition 124-57 in the first three innings of games.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff - Humberto Medina, Sr., RHP, 4-4, 6.47 ERA
Ole Miss - Chad Smith, Jr., RHP, 3-4, 4.84 ERA
- 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.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff heads to Oxford with wins in 11 of its last 15 games, including weekend sweeps over Alabama A&M and Texas Southern. The Golden Lions are 17-21 on the season and sit at the top of the SWAC Western Division standings with a 13-5 record. Through 38 games, UAPB owns the second-best ERA (5.59) and the top fielding percentage (.965) in the conference. Junior Anthony Bowmaker leads the team with a 3.42 ERA and 5-1 record in 15 appearances. Senior Humberto Medina has also struck out a conference-best 76 batters in 55.2 IP. The Golden Lions share three common opponents with Ole Miss, having faced Southeast Missouri, Memphis and Grambling State. UAPB took two-of-three from Grambling State but lost three games to SEMO as well as a midweek matchup to Memphis. Carlos James is in his sixth season guiding the UAPB baseball program.

Ole Miss leads the all-time series with UAPB 5-0; the two programs first met in 2009. In last season’s matchup (March 18, 2015), the Rebels rallied with three runs in the ninth as Tate Blackman’s single clinched the 7-6 walk-off victory. Blackman tallied three hits and drove in three runs, both season highs. Kyle Watson and Will Golsan both went 2-for-5, scoring two and three runs, respectively. Golsan added two RBI to hit stat line as the three then-freshmen combined for seven of the Rebels’ 10 hits. Sikes Orvis homered for Ole Miss, adding a solo blast in the bottom of the seventh.

When the Rebels and Golden Lions take the field Wednesday, there will be a connection between the programs in the first base coaching box. Prior to returning to his alma mater, Ole Miss volunteer assistant Marc MacMillan spent three years as UAPB’s associate head coach. MacMillan worked with the pitchers, infielders and base runners, while also coordinating the program’s recruiting efforts plus strength and conditioning programs. In 2013, he coached a pitching staff that led the conference in ERA, helping lead UAPB to the program’s first SWAC Tournament appearance since the 2009 season. His recruiting classes stretched from coast-to-coast and aided UAPB’s back-to-back Western Division titles in 2014 and 2015.

Ole Miss is 10-2 in midweek games. 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 72-32 in midweek matchups, averaging six runs per game. The Rebels won their first eight midweek contests of the season for the third time in program history, also accomplishing the feats in 2007 and 2010. 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 2.02 ERA.

After dominating all aspects of the game throughout the past week, Ole Miss junior outfielder J.B. Woodman was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) National Hitter of the Week and the SEC Player of the Week. Woodman was a monster at the plate and also made play after play in the field to earn the awards. Playing four games against top-10 teams last week did not seem to faze Woodman. The Orlando, Florida native recorded two hits in each contest, hitting at a .500 clip throughout the week. Woodman went 6-for-12 with three home runs, two doubles, eight RBI and five runs in the weekend series versus No. 8 LSU to help Ole Miss conquer the SEC rivalry series. He not only led the Rebels at the plate, but also in the field. From his center field position, Woodman threw three runners out at the plate and now has a team-high nine outfield assists this season. In the series opener against LSU, Woodman gunned down a pair of runners at home which proved to be the difference in a one-run game. In game two, he belted a two-run homer and threw another Tiger out at the plate. Woodman made sure the Rebels took the series finale, hitting a pair of home runs to deep center field and driving in a career-high four runs. Extending his home run count to a team-leading eight, Woodman became the first Rebel to homer twice in one game since Sikes Orvis accomplished the feat last season (May 3, 2015 at Missouri).

In terms of offense, four seems to be the magic number for Ole Miss. With an outstanding pitching staff, the Rebels are 33-1 when scoring at least four runs in a game. The lone loss when plating more than four runs came at the hands of South Carolina (March 25) in a 9-5 setback.

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 17 of the last 18 games, putting together eight multi-hit performances. Robinson is currently riding a season-high 10-game hitting streak.  

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. 8 LSU (April 30), No. 18 Coastal Carolina (March 5), GSU (March 13), as well as a pair of contests against No. 21 Arkansas (April 8-9).

Junior Colby Bortles has blasted 16 doubles thus far in 2016, five more than his nearest teammate. His 16 doubles rank third among SEC sluggers as well as 34th nationally. The Oviedo, Florida native is three doubles away from cracking the Ole Miss single season top 10 list. He needs nine more to break the single season record, currently 24 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 the team’s top hitter at the plate and leads all SEC catchers with a .348 batting average. Moreover, Lartigue is raking during conference play, hitting at a .383 clip. He has put together eight games with at least three hits, pacing the Rebel bats. In a 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.

The Ole Miss outfield has had its fair share of assists this season, especially as of late. Rebel outfielders have tallied 16 assists in 2016, including three in the past three games by J.B. Woodman. Out of the 16 assists, 10 have been outs at home to prevent opponents from scoring. Woodman leads the way with nine assists, throwing seven runners out at the plate. Against LSU, the center fielder made three perfect throws home to keep runs off the scoreboard. Freshman Ryan Olenek has four assists to his credit, while Cameron Dishon has three.

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 .413 with runners on base, including a remarkable .457 (21-of-46) 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 .583 rate of advancing runners on base.

After tough stretch that saw them play four games against top-10 teams, the Rebels moved up in nearly every national poll thanks to a series win over No. 8 LSU. Baseball America remained the most impressed with the Rebels, placing them at seventh in the country. Ole Miss cracked the top 10 in both Perfect Game’s rankings and the USA Today Coaches Poll, while the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and D1Baseball had the Rebels listed at No. 11 and No. 12, respectively. Collegiate Baseball was the only publication to drop Ole Miss (No. 26) after a victorious weekend versus a top-10 team. With the combination of a quality record and strength of schedule, Ole Miss is seventh 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 in 2016. He is second on the team in hits (53), runs (35) and multi-hit games (15), while ranking third in RBI (30). The second baseman also has reached base in 30 of the last 31 games.

Ole Miss ranks in the top 25 nationally in several statistical categories. Individually, junior J.B. Woodman and sophomore Tate Blackman are tied for ninth in the nation with six sacrifice flies apiece.

Stat National Rank SEC Rank
W/L Percentage       0.733 15th 5th
Sacrifice Flies 25 18th 2nd
ERA 3.07 18th 3rd

Ole Miss wastes no time striking first, outscoring the opposition 36-19 in the first inning. The Rebels have scored in the opening frame 20 times this season, posting a 17-3 record in those ballgames. The first three innings are the Rebels’ best in terms of outscoring the opponent. Ole Miss has recorded a combined 124 runs in the first three frames, while only giving up 57 runs through the first third of the game for a +67 advantage. The second inning is the team’s best inning offensively, tallying 47 runs. On the mound, Ole Miss has surrendered just 13 runs the third inning of contests.

Score by Innings      1          2        3        Total
Ole Miss 46 47 31 124
Opponents 19 25 13 57

Swayze Field provides the best atmosphere and some of the biggest crowds across the country for college baseball games. Rebel Nation has come out to the ballpark in full force to support Ole Miss throughout the 2016 season. The Rebels have averaged 8,502 fans per game, including five contests with the attendance over 10,000, to rank second nationally. In total, 238,048 fans have watched Ole Miss Baseball at Swayze Field this season, which is also the second-high total attendance in the country. Both marks are on pace to break program season attendance records. 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.

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 had his jump to Milwaukee, earning the call up on Thursday, April 21.

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.

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.

Following the midweek game at home, the Rebels will hit the road to face Georgia in another SEC series (May 6-8). All three games will be broadcast on SECN+ and can be heard on the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network. Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT, while the remaining two games are slated for afternoon starts. Game two of the weekend set will begin at 1 p.m. CT Saturday, and the series finale will get underway at 12 p.m. on Sunday.






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