No. 4 Baseball Closes Regular Season at Alabama


THURSDAY - 6 p.m. CT FRIDAY - 6 p.m. SATURDAY - 1 p.m. CT
PROJECTED STARTERS
Ole Miss: LHP Ryan Rolison 
7-4, 4.03 ERA, 76.0 IP
Alabama: RHP Sam Finnerty
4-3, 4.43 ERA, 81.1 IP
PROJECTED STARTERS
Ole Miss: RHP Brady Feigl
8-4, 4.06 ERA, 75.1 IP
Alabama: RHP Jake Walters
3-5, 4.19 ERA, 73.0 IP
PROJECTED STARTERS
Ole Miss: RHP James McArthur 
5-0, 4.31 ERA, 56.1 IP
Alabama: LHP Garret Rukes
1-3, 3.21 ERA, 28.0 IP

GAMES 54-56
Date: May 17-19, 2018
First Pitch: Thu: 6 p.m. | Fri: 6 p.m. | Sat: 1 p.m.
Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Venue: Sewell-Thomas Stadium (5,867)
TV: SEC Network+
     Eli Gold (Play-by-Play)
     Lance Cormier (Analyst)
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 History: Alabama leads 198-151-2
Last Meeting: Apr. 7-9, 2017; Ole Miss swept in Oxford
In Tuscaloosa: Apr. 15-17, 2016; Alabama won 2 of 3

LEADING OFF
• No. 4 Ole Miss blasted Arkansas State 15-8 on Tuesday to become the fastest team in program history to 40 wins. The Rebels tied the team record for regular-season wins, as well as their best record in midweek games at 13-1.
• Ole Miss is one of just six teams in the nation with 40 regular-season wins in at least three of the last five season.
• The Rebels are No. 4 in the nation according to Baseball America and are a unanimous top-10 team. The Rebels are fifth according to D1Baseball and ESPN/USA Today, as well as sixth by Perfect Game and NCBWA and eighth in the RPI.
• The Rebels are one of two teams in college baseball to rank in the top 15 nationally in batting average and fielding percentage.
• The Ole Miss offense ranks in the top 15 nationally in home runs (8th), batting average (9th), slugging percentage (9th), runs score (11th), doubles (12th) and hits (12th).
• Ole Miss has scored 129 more runs on 111 more hits than this point last year. The Rebel offense has added 25 more doubles, 22 more home runs and 126 more RBI. Ole Miss has also struck out 69 fewer times than it did through 53 games last season.
• Every Rebel batter who has started a game has hit a home run this season. In total 14 different Rebs have gone yard this year.
• Of the Rebels’ 13 defeats this season, nine have come by two runs or fewer and 10 have come by a three-run margin or less.
• Of the Rebels’ 40 wins this season, 17 have been come-from-behind victories.
• The Rebel pitching staff is No. 1 in the SEC in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 2.91 and also leads the league with 510 total strikeouts.
Thomas Dillard has produced more runs than any other player in the SEC with a combined 106 RBI and runs scored.
Tyler Keenan hit .556 with two home runs, two doubles and six RBI last week to earn SEC Player of the Week honors to go along with back-to-back Freshman of the Week nods in April. He’s the only freshman in the conference to be named POTW this season.
Ryan Olenek recently wrapped up a 23-game hitting streak, during which he had 17 multi-hit games, batting .516 with 48 hits, 18 runs scored and just five strikeouts. He’s statistically the toughest player to strike out in the SEC with just 13 Ks on the year.

PROBABLE STARTERS
Thursday • 6 p.m. 

LHP Ryan Rolison (Ole Miss) | 7-4, 4.03 ERA, 76.0 IP
RHP Sam Finnerty (Alabama) | 4-3, 4.43 ERA, 81.1 IP

ROLISON NOTES 
• In two road SEC wins at Mississippi State and Vanderbilt this season: 2-0, 2.13 ERA, 12.2 IP, 3 R, 17 K, 5 BB
• Eight starts with six or more strikeouts this season; seven with eight-plus strikeouts
• Seventh-most strikeouts in the SEC (90), 59th in the country
• Averaging 10.66 strikeouts per nine innings, seventh in SEC
• SEC Pitcher of the Week (Feb. 19)
• Struck out a career-high 12 in the season opener vs. Winthrop
• 12 K were the most in an opener since Lance Lynn had 12 back in 2008
• Named Preseason All-American by four different outlets
• 2017 Freshman All-American (Collegiate Baseball)
• Four different outlets have him No. 12 or higher in 2018 MLB Draft projections

Friday • 6 p.m. 
RHP Brady Feigl (Ole Miss) | 8-4, 4.06 ERA, 75.1 IP
RHP Jake Walters (Alabama) | 3-5, 4.19 ERA, 73.0 IP

FEIGL NOTES 
• Golden Spikes Award Week 13 Performance of the Week
• Tied for 23rd in the NCAA and fourth in the SEC with eight wins on the season
• Game 2 vs. Auburn: 8.0 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 12 K
• Outdueled projected top MLB Draft pick Casey Mize of Auburn with a career-high 12 K
• Allowed just two hits in 5.1 IP at Vanderbilt
• Named National Pitcher of the Month for February by NCBWA
• Lefties are batting just .246 vs. Feigl this season. Hitters are just .242 against him with two outs.
• Has induced more groundouts (95) than any Rebel pitcher this season, including 6 GDPs.
• Registered five three-up, three-down innings in Game 2 win at Long Beach State
• Selected in 35th round of 2017 MLB Draft by L.A. Angels
• Freshman All-American (Louisville Slugger) in 2016

Sunday • 11 a.m.
RHP James McArthur (Ole Miss) | 5-0, 4.31 ERA, 56.1 IP
LHP Garret Rukes (Alabama) | 1-3, 3.21 ERA, 28.0 IP

McARTHUR NOTES 
• Fewest hits allowed per nine innings among Rebel starters at 7.51.
• Has allowed just 14 hits (.157) with runners on base.
• Has allowed only 11 hits (.183) with two outs.
• Has pitched into more flyouts (78) than any other pitcher on staff.
• Right-handed hitters are batting .222 against McArthur.
• Returns as the pitcher with the most starts from 2017 (12).
• Ranked ninth in the SEC in opponent average (.209) a year ago.
• Freshman All-American (Louisville Slugger) in 2016

SCOUTING ALABAMA
• Cobie Vance has paced the Alabama offense, hitting .297 on the season with 63 hits, 10 doubles and six home runs.
• Chandler Avant holds the team lead with 36 RBI and is hitting at a .288 clip with 14 doubles.
• Chandler Taylor has been the top power bat for the Crimson Tide with 12 home runs on the season.
• Alabama will throw righty Sam Finnerty on Thursday night. Finnerty has an opposing batting average of .317 and 29 strikeouts in 81.1 innings pitched. He has walked just 14 batters this season.
• The Rebels will face the top Crimson Tide strikeout artist on Friday night in Jake Walters. Walters has fanned 75 this season.
• Garret Rukes is scheduled to throw on Saturday for Alabama. The redshirt-freshman lefty boasts the lowest ERA (3.21) of the Crimson Tide starters.

SERIES HISTORY
Alabama holds the all-time series lead at 198-151-2. The Rebels swept the Crimson Tide last season in Oxford. The home team has won the last five series between Alabama and Ole Miss. The Rebels last won a series in Tuscaloosa in 2012, taking the first and third games.

ON THE RECORD
Ole Miss is tied for the third-most wins in college baseball, behind Tennessee Tech (44) and Florida (41). The Rebels are tied for eighth in the nation in win percentage at .755. Ole Miss (40-13) trails just Florida (41-12) in the SEC for the most wins, fewest losses and best win percentage.

With its win on Tuesday, Ole Miss reached 40 wins, tying the program’s regular-season record and becoming the fastest team in school history to hit that mark. The Rebels finished 24-2 in non-conference games. Ole Miss is one of just six schools in the nation that has recorded 40 or more regular-season wins in at least three of the last five years.

SWAYZE CRAZY
Ole Miss closed its regular-season home schedule with its highest average attendance in program history at 8,759, beating the previous record (8,579) by 180, set in 2016. The Rebels will close the season second in the nation in average and total attendance at 280,305, trailing just LSU nationally. Rebel Nation also broke the program’s single-game attendance record as 12,152 were on hand to see Ole Miss defeat LSU 9-8 in a Saturday Game 3 to win the series.

Ole Miss has won its last 11 series at Swayze Field. The Rebels have also won their last nine series against ranked teams in front of the Swayze Crazies. The Rebels closed their regular season at 28-4 at home this season, including a perfect 8-0 in midweek games.

PLAYMAKERS
Ole Miss, joined by UNCG, is one of two teams in the nation to rank in the top 20 nationally in batting average and fielding percentage. The Rebels are ninth in batting and 14th in fielding. On the defensive side, they’re fielding at a .979 clip, on pace to break the school record of .976 set in 2012.

REBS RECOGNIZED
Ole Miss added its fifth SEC Weekly Honor of year last week as Tyler Keenan was named SEC Player of the Week. He’s the only freshman this season to win SEC Player of the Week, and he’s the first Rebel rookie to do it since Alex Presley in 2004. In April, Keenan was named Freshman of the Week in two straight weeks. 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.

Also this week, Ryan Olenek was named a finalist for the Ferriss Trophy, which is awarded to the most outstanding college baseball player in Mississippi.

The week prior, closer Parker Caracci was named SEC Pitcher of the Week after earning the save in all three of the Rebels’ wins. Caracci also earned Midseason All-American honors from Perfect Game/Rawlings and D1Baseball, and he was named to the Stopper of the Year watch list by the NCBWA.

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. This week, Feigl was also tabbed as the Golden Spikes Award Performance of the Week after going eight innings to outduel projected top MLB Draft pick Casey Mize of Auburn.

Senior Will Golsan was named a Senior CLASS Award candidate earlier in the season, though he did not make the final list for the honor.

ALL STRIKES, NO WALKS
Ole Miss remains No. 1 in the SEC in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 2.91, good for 10th in the nation. The Rebels lead the SEC in total strikeouts at 510, besting second-place Missouri by 10. The Rebels have issued just 175 walks, the fourth-best figure in the league behind Florida, Texas A&M and Arkansas.

REBS RAISE THE BAR
Compared to last season, the Rebels have found another level of production at the plate. Through 53 games this season, Ole Miss has scored 129 more runs on 111 more hits than this point last year. The Rebel offense has added 25 more doubles, 22 more home runs and 126 more RBI. Ole Miss has also struck out 69 fewer times than it did through 53 games last season. The Rebels are batting more than .050 points better and slugging nearly .100 points better than they did a year ago.

REBS ARE RUNNIN’
Ole Miss is 11th in college baseball and first in the SEC in runs scored with 387.

DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK
Of the Rebels’ 40 wins this season, 17 have been come-from-behind victories. 

CLOSE CALLS
Of the Rebels’ 13 losses this season, 10 have come by three runs or fewer, and nine have come by either one or two runs.

MIDWEEK WINNERS
Ole Miss closed its home midweek slate at a perfect 8-0. The Rebels finsihed 13-1 overall in midweek games matching their best midweek record of all-time, 13-1 (.929) set in 2002. 

OLE MISS MASH
The 2018 Ole Miss offense is on pace to be one of the program’s best. Hitting .306 now on the season, the Rebels are vying to be the first team since 2009 to hit over .300 for the season. The 2009 club hit .310 as one of the most prolific hitting clubs in program history. The Rebels hit over .300 in four of five seasons from 2005-09, highlighted by a program record .321 in 2005. At .306, Ole Miss is up to first in the SEC and ninth in the nation. The Rebels rank in the top 15 nationally in eight offensive categories.

DOUBLE TROUBLE
Ole Miss is No. 12 in the nation with 114 doubles on the year. The Rebels are No. 2 the SEC in that category behind Mississippi State (116). They’re No. 19 in the nation and third in the league with 2.13 doubles per game. To this point last season, the Rebels had 88 doubles, and they had 96 all of last year.

BOMBS AWAY
Ole Miss has been one of the best power-hitting teams in college baseball this season. The Rebels eighth in the nation and fourth in the SEC with 68 home runs on the season. The Rebels are No. 9 nationally in slugging percentage at .489. 

Thomas Dillard leads Ole Miss, with 12 homers on the year, while Nick Fortes follows just behind with 11. Chase Cockrell and Tyler Keenan are next with eight apiece, while Cole Zabowski is close behind seven to his name. Four Rebels—Fortes, Dillard, Will Golsan and Chase Cockrell—boast multi-homer games this year. Cockrell has done it twice on the season. 

Freshman infielder Anthony Servideo notched his first career home run this week against Arkansas Pine Bluff, becoming the 14th Rebel to go yard this season. Every Rebel that has started this year has hit a home run.

RALLY ON TWO
Ole Miss has had a knack for two-out hitting this season. Of the Rebels’ 354 RBI, 123 have come with two outs, giving them more than they had all of last season (95). By comparison, the Rebel pitching staff has allowed just 74 two-out RBI. Through 53 games last season, Ole Miss had 90 two-out RBI. Seven Rebels have 10 or more two-out RBI this season, led by Will Golsan at 20 and Thomas Dillard with 17.

OLEY DOESN’T MISS
Ryan Olenek is swinging one of the hottest bats in college baseball right now. The junior out of Winter Park, Florida, leads the SEC and is No. 19 in the nation, batting .396 on the year. He’s also hitting .451 in conference play. Olenek is the toughest player to strike out in the SEC, having struck out just 13 times in 192 at-bats for a K rating of 14.8.

Olenek recently wrapped up a 23-game hitting streak, spanning 49 days from March 22 to May 9. It was the second-longest all year in the conference behind Florida’s Jonathan India (24). During his hit streak, Olenek hit .516 with 48 hits, 18 runs scored, 17 multi-hit games, 10 doubles, just five strikeouts and an OPS of 1.228. 

DILLY, DILLY!
Thomas Dillard delivered one of the biggest home runs of the 2018 season in Saturday’s Game 3 against LSU. With the Rebels trailing 7-6 in the seventh inning, Dillard fell behind 0-2 but worked a full count before blasting a three-run home run over the right field seating to give Ole Miss just what it needed in a 9-8 win.

It took Dillard just 21 games to eclipse his home run total from all of last season, now with 12 on the year. His longest blast of the year came against Eastern Illinois. It traveled an estimated 435 feet with an astounding exit velocity of 111.7 mph—the second-hardest-hit ball at Swayze Field this season. 

Dillard has produced more runs than any other player in the SEC with a combined 106 runs scored and batted in. Dillard and Florida’s Wil Dalton (51 R, 50 RBI) are the only two players in the SEC with 50 or more RBI and runs scored.

KEENAN IS KEY
Tyler Keenan been one of the top freshmen in the country this season, earning SEC Player of the Week this week as well as back-to-back SEC Freshman of the Week honors for Weeks 7 and 8. Keenan is the first Rebel to win FOTW in back-to-back weeks, and he joins Alex Yarbrough as just the second Rebel ever to win it twice. He’s the only freshman to win Player of the Week this season and is the first Rebel freshman to accomplish the feat since Alex Presley in 2004.

Keenan hit .556 last week with two doubles, two home runs, four runs scored and six RBI. He slugged 1.444 and carried an astounding 2.111 OPS in the Auburn series.

The freshman has also been outstanding defensively with just two errors on the year at the hot corner.

STAR SHORTSTOP
In addition to a web-gem-filled season defensively at shortstop, sophomore Grae Kessinger has raised his level offensively. He’s hitting .315 on the season with 14 doubles. He homered twice last weekend at South Carolina and is 18-for-45 (.400) with 15 runs scored and 11 RBI in the last 11 games. 

RESERVE POWER
Tim Rowe and Michael Fitzsimmons have shown great power coming off the bench for Ole Miss this season.

Rowe filled in for Ryan Olenek in right field on a Tuesday night meeting with Mississippi State, going 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. he also made an incredible catch as he crashed into the right field wall to prevent several runs from crossing the plate. That started a tremendous week in which Rowe went 8-for-14 (.571) with five doubles and three RBI. Rowe smoked a double down the right field line to score Tyler Keenan and fuel a five-run game-winning rally in the seventh inning of the Rebels’ 9-8 Game 3 win over LSU.

Fitzsimmons came through with a go-ahead pinch-hit double in the ninth inning in that midweek game against MSU, his second outstanding clutch performance off the bench this season. Fitzsimmons also blasted a pinch-hit grand slam against Texas A&M. His excellent pinch-hit resume grew again last week when he clubbed a two-RBI double to the warning track as part of a six-run eighth inning that put Auburn away and clinched a series sweep.

Fitzsimmons is batting .476 on the season after another strong performance on Tuesday against Arkansas State. He went 2-for-4 with a home run, now one of 11 Rebels with multiple homers this year.

GO GODZILLA
Will Ethridge came through with his second crucial long-relief outing of the season on Saturday against Auburn to clinch a series sweep. Ethridge inherited a bases-loaded, one-out situation and fanned two Tiger batters to escape the jam cleanly. He proceeded to throw six more innings of two-hit baseball, striking out a career-high 10 batters while walking just one. He became the first Rebel reliever to strike out 10 in a game since Scott Weathersby seated 10 against Vanderbilt in 2010.

Ethridge put together a similar performance against LSU, going 5.2 innings, allowing just one run to set the stage for a Rebel comeback in Game 3 to win the series.

FERRISS TROPHY FINALIST
Ryan Olenek was named one of five finalists for the C Spire Ferriss Trophy, given annually to the most outstanding college baseball player in Mississippi.

Olenek is joined in the Ferriss Trophy finalist pool by Nick Sandlin and Luke Reynolds of Southern Miss, Zack Shannon of Delta State and Jake Mangum of Mississippi State. He’ll look to become the sixth Rebel to win the trophy, which is named for Mississippi baseball legend Boo Ferriss. Ole Miss outfielder Auston Bousfield took home the honor in 2014, joining previous Rebel winners Stephen Head (2004), Brian Pettway (2005), Scott Bittle (2008) and Drew Pomeranz (2010).


 

 

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