#11 Ole Miss (38-15, 17-10 SEC) at Texas A&M (32-21, 13-14 SEC)
Date: May 15-17, 2014 Location: College Station, Texas Venue: Olson Field at Blue Bell Park Capacity: 5,400 Surface: Grass Series: Ole Miss trails 3-5 Last Series Meeting: Ole Miss lost 2-1 in ‘13 Radio: Ole Miss Baseball Network Television: ESPNU (Friday) Announcers: Clay Matvick & Ben MacDonald Live Stats: OleMissSports.com Live Video: ESPN3.com (Thurs/Sat) Announcers: Mark Johnson & Will Johnson Twitter Updates: @OleMissBSB
QUICK HITS • Ole Miss found itself in the top 25 of the national rankings for the 11th consecutive week, topping out at No. 11. • The Rebels are tops in the SEC in batting (.304), third in home runs (36) and second in scoring (326 runs). • Ole Miss’ weekend rotation holds a 2.43 ERA with only 65 earned runs allowed in 240.2 innings pitched this year • Three Rebels rank in the top five in the SEC in hits: Bousfield (1st - 82), Allen (2nd - 74) and Anderson (T5th - 69) • Bousfield ranks at the top of the SEC in batting average (.366) and hits (82) as he paces the Rebel offense. • Will Allen is second in the SEC in RBI (52) and is third in the league in home runs (7) and batting average (.351) • Sikes Orvis is second in the SEC in home runs (12) while Braxton Lee leads the league in steals this season (27). • Ole Miss saw two players named finalists for the Ferriss Trophy with Chris Ellis and Auston Bousfield tabbed Monday. • RHP Chris Ellis is fourth in the SEC in ERA (1.97), while LHP Christian Trent is eighth in the SEC in strikeouts (65).
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS THURSDAY, 6:35 PM TAMU - Daniel Mengden, Jr., RHP OLE MISS - Chris Ellis, Jr., RHP NOTING ELLIS: • Ellis has settled in as the anchor for the Rebels’ weekend, moving into the Friday role his junior season. • The RHP has nine quality starts on the year, including two shutouts and a complete-game vs. GSU. • Ellis has ranks fourth in the SEC in ERA at 1.97 and has one earned run or less in eight of his starts. • The junior has allowed 27 walks with 50 strikeouts and holds opponents to a .258 batting average. • Ellis is 8-0 with wins vs. Stetson, Ga. State, S. Carolina, Missouri, Miss. State, UK, Arkansas and UGA.
FRIDAY 7:05 PM (ESPNU) TAMU - Grayson Long, So., RHP OLE MISS - Christian Trent, So., LHP NOTING TRENT: • Trent makes his 14th start of the season when he takes the mound against Texas A&M this Friday. • The LHP has allowed only 16 walks through 83.2 innings of work and 13 starts this season. • Trent is 7-0 with wins vs. Stetson, Georgia State, Missouri, Auburn, LSU, Kentucky and Arkansas. • The sophomore holds a .223 batting average against and his 65 strikeouts is eighth in the SEC. • Trent threw a complete-game shutout against Auburn with a career-high seven strikeouts.
SATURDAY, 2:05 PM TAMU - Parker Ray, Sr., RHP OLE MISS - Sam Smith, Jr., RHP NOTING SMITH: • Smith continues to anchor the final spot in the weekend rotation for the Rebels in his junior season. • The right-hander has allowed 28 runs in 13 starts while working 74.2 innings in those outings. • Smith has only taken six losses in his last 32 starts for the Rebels across the last three seasons. • The RHP has turned in a quality start in nine of his last 11 outings for the Rebels this season.
REBELS PICKED SIXTH, STAND IN FIRST Ole Miss found itself in an unusual position entering the season when the Rebels were picked to finish sixth in the SEC Western Division in a vote of the league’s coaches prior to the start of the season. With one week left to play, the Rebels have defied the prognosticators and stand in first place in the division holding a 1.0 game lead on Mississippi State and a 2.0 game lead on LSU heading into the final series of conference play.
A LOOK AT TEXAS A&M The Aggies enter the weekend with an overall record of 32-21 and are 13-14 in the SEC with the final weekend of competition coming this weekend. Texas A&M is coming off a midweek win over Sam Houston State after dropping last weekend’s series at Arkansas. • As a team, the Aggies hit at a .287 clip with 21 home runs and 265 RBI through 53 games this year. • Cole Lankford paces the offense with a .349 average, four home runs and team-leading 42 RBI. • As a staff, the Aggies hold a 3.52 ERA with 157 walks, 420 strikeouts and .260 opponent average. • RHP Daniel Mengden is 4-6 on the season, but holds 91 strikeouts to 24 walks with a 3.62 ERA.
REBELS vs. TEXAS A&M The Rebels and Aggies have only faced off eight times in the history of the two teams with Ole Miss trailing 5-3 in the all-time series. • The squads first met in the 1998 season at Texas A&M with the Aggies winning the series 2-1. • Five of the eight games in the series have seen the Rebels play on the road at Texas A&M. • Ole Miss has twice faced the Aggies in College Station in NCAA Tournament play - 1999 and 2012. • The Rebels dropped the 1999 meeting in the NCAA Tournament, but won the 2012 meeting.
THROUGH 53 GAMES IN 2013 Through 52 games a year ago, the Rebels had posted a 35-18 record and were coming off a midweek loss at Southern Miss. Ole Miss was hitting at a .277 clip with 19 home runs and 261 RBI, while going 41-of-76 in steal attempts. The Rebel pitching staff was holding to a 2.92 ERA and a .240 opponent’s batting average. Pitchers had allowed 188 walks with 380 strikeouts in 478.0 innings.
ALLEN’S PRODUCTION UP Senior Will Allen has been solid in his offensive production this season. Through 53 games this season, the catcher has tallied seven home runs and 52 RBI, passing his total offensive production from his junior season when he hit four home runs and tallied 23 RBI.
FERRISS TROPHY FINALISTS ANNOUNCED Juniors Auston Bousfield and Chris Ellis found themselves among the five players named as finalists for the 2014 Ferriss Trophy presented annually to the top collegiate baseball player in Mississippi by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Ole Miss has four previous winners, including Stephen Head, Brian Pettway, Scott Bittle and Drew Pomeranz. Bousfield is the only hitter among the five finalists in 2014.
ALLEN, BOUSFIELD ON OLSON AWARD WATCH LIST Senior C Will Allen and junior OF Auston Bousfield were tabbed by College Baseball Lineup earlier this week as two of the players named to the initial 80-man watch list for the Gregg Olson Award presented annually to the breakout player of the year in college baseball. Both players have jumped up their season production significantly compared to previous seasons to help Ole Miss’ success this year.
Allen leads the way in multiple-RBI games with 13, while Orvis (11), Bousfield (11), Anderson (9) and Overbey (8) have all posted five or more multiple-RBI games as well.
HIT STREAKS HEADED INTO THE WEEK Braxton Lee (10) holds the longest active hit streak heading into the week for the Rebels after Auston Bousfield saw his 21 game hit streak snapped last weekend against Georgia. Bousfield’s 21 game hit streak was the longest of the season for the Rebels.
Lee also leads the way in SEC games, having hit safely in eight consecutive conference games. Bousfield had hit safely in 16 consecutive SEC games before his streak was snapped this past weekend.
FINDING A WAY ON BASE Bousfield holds the longest streak of reaching base for the Rebs heading into the weekend at 24 straight games - a season-long for the junior - despite his hit streak of 21 games coming to an end Saturday. Austin Anderson set the season mark with 24 games reaching safely earlier this season, while this is Bousfield’s second strech of 20+ games reaching base safely.
REBELS BEST WHEN SCORING EARLY Ole Miss has been best when scoring early this season, posting a 25-8 record when scoring first and a 16-6 mark when scoring in the first inning. The Rebels have also been proficient at the plate while starting pitching holds opponents down. Ole Miss is outscoring opponents 99-to-49 through the first three innings. The Rebels have scored an impressive 50 runs in the first inning and 39 in the third.
SECOND TIME THROUGH THE LINEUP FEATURES EXPLOSIVE INNINGS Ole Miss has been even more efficient the second time through the lineup this season. In the middle innings of games, the Rebels have outscored opponents at a rate of 139-to-61 that includes explosions of 52 runs in the fifth, 45 in the sixth inning and 42 runs in the fourth inning through 53 games.
WALK-OFF WINS The Rebels had a solid third week of play, posing four consecutive walk-off wins on the way to an undefeated week. Ole Miss beat ULM in the ninth in back-to-back games before taking the first two games of the UCF series with a 13-inning win and a 10-inning win. The Rebels then improved to 5-0 in walk-off games this season with a 10-inning win over UALR in the series opener.
Ole Miss is 7-3 in games decided by a walk-off hit after falling at No. 1 South Carolina 5-4 in 10-innings in the opening weekend of SEC play and falling 5-4 in 10 innings at Alabama. Ole Miss fell 6-5 in 10 innings at No. 13 Mississippi State for only a third loss in walk-off fashion. The Rebels most recent walk-off wins came with an 8-5 win over Auburn in 13 innings and a 2-1 win over Georgia in 10 innings this past weekend.
REBEL PITCHERS LIMIT OPPORTUNITIES Ole Miss’ pitching staff turned in a solid opening weekend, holding the Stetson Hatters to three runs on the weekend series and limiting offensive opportunities for the Hatters. Rebel pitchers allowed only 14 hits on the weekend and posted the first shutout of the season on opening day with a 7-0 victory. The Rebel pitching staff also struck out 24 batters through the three-game series with only seven walks.
Through 13 weeks of play, the Rebels have allowed 174 runs (three runs a game) in 438.2 innings of work. The Rebels have posted four shutouts and 11 games with only one run allowed.
SOLID BULLPEN WORK LEADS TO SUCCESS Ole Miss’ bullpen has been incredibly efficient this season, continuing to hold teams in check down the stretch - especially in SEC play. Of the regular relievers who have seen more than 10 innings of work in conference play, the bullpen holds a 2.31 ERA this season.
The staff has kept runs from scoring, inheriting 120 runners and allowing only 27 to score this year in all games played.
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