Baseball Travels to No. 23 Auburn for Final SEC Series
May 17, 2017

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The Last Meeting
Ole Miss6
April 24, 2016
Oxford, Miss.
Rebels Rally in the Ninth to Sweep Auburn, 6-5
No. 14 Ole Miss scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to earn a thrilling comeback victory over Auburn Sunday afternoon at Swayze Field. The Rebels (31-10, 10-8 SEC) rallied from five runs down, scoring six in the last two innings to win 6-5 and complete the series sweep of the Tigers (18-22, 5-13 SEC).

Matchup: (RV) Ole Miss (31-22, 13-14 SEC) at #23 Auburn (32-21, 14-13 SEC)
Dates: May 18-20, 2017
Location: Auburn, Ala.
Venue: Plainsman Park
Capacity: 4,096
Television: SECN+
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
    David Kellum, play-by-play
    Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio:
Series: Ole Miss leads 84-82-1
Last Game: April 22-24, 2016
        Ole Miss won all three games
        Oxford, Miss.

- Ole Miss is coming off a 5-0 midweek setback to Arkansas State.
- The Rebels are finishing the 2017 regular season with four road games in a span of fives days.
- Ole Miss has won seven of the past nine contests versus Auburn, including three-game sweeps in 2014 and 2016.
- Ryan Olenek and Will Golsan hold career batting averages of .357 and .333, respectively, against Auburn.
- The Rebels are playing their fifth ranked opponent over the past six weekend series.
- Ole Miss has won five three-game series versus ranked teams in 2017.
- The Ole Miss pitching staff leads the SEC in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.13), ranking sixth nationally.
- Senior Colby Bortles has 152 career RBI, which ranks 10th on the Ole Miss all-time list.
- Sophomore Dallas Woolfolk is one save away from tying the school record for saves in a single season.
- Freshman Thomas Dillard was named to the SEC Community Service Team Wednesday morning.
- Head coach Mike Bianco has 661 career victories at Ole Miss, ranking sixth on the SEC all-time wins list.

Auburn - Keegan Thompson, R-Jr., RHP, 5-4, 2.48 ERA, 76.1 IP
Ole Miss - James McArthur, So., RHP, 3-5, 4.70 ERA, 61.1 IP
- Holding opponents to a .191 batting average
- Pitched 4.2 scoreless innings of relief versus Auburn last season (April 24, 2016) on his way to winning SEC Freshman of the Week honors
- Named SEC Pitcher of the Week after throwing a career-high 8.0 innings and allowing only one hit at No. 10 Arkansas (April 27)
- Versus Alabama, went 7.0 innings and allowed one run on two hits to go along with seven strikeouts
- Against No. 23 UNCW, recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts and did not allow a hit until the sixth inning; pitched 6.0 innings and allowed just one run on two hits and one walk (no decision)
- 2016 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American (Collegiate Baseball)
- Standing 6’ 7”, tied with Sean Johnson as the tallest Rebel on the team

Auburn - Casey Mize, So., RHP, 6-2, 1.97 ERA, 68.2 IP
Ole Miss - Ryan Rolison, Fr., LHP, 6-2, 2.48 ERA, 58.0 IP
- Has allowed the third-fewest runs (18) in the SEC among qualified pitchers and ranks seventh in ERA
- Has made 18 appearances this season, including nine starts
- Named SEC Freshman of the Week (April 24) after tossing 6.0 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and recording a career-high nine strikeouts in a win over Missouri (April 22)
- Rated as the No. 10 freshman prospect in the nation (
- As a senior in high school, recorded 108 strikeouts in 58.0 innings to earn USA TODAY’s Mr. Baseball in the state of Tennessee, also earning first team All-USA honors
- Drafted in the 37th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres

Auburn - Davis Daniel, Fr., RHP, 3-2, 5.28 ERA, 70.2 IP
Ole Miss - David Parkinson, Jr., LHP, 6-3, 3.48 ERA, 72.1 IP
- Five of his six wins have been against ranked teams (No. 6 East Carolina, No. 8 LSU, No. 15 Vanderbilt, No. 19 Texas A&M and No. 23 UNCW)
- Only Rebel pitcher to start on every weekend of the season
- Tossed 6.0 frames without allowing a run to earn the win over No. 15 Vanderbilt (March 17)
- Named SEC Pitcher of the Week after tossing a career-high 8.0 scoreless innings versus Furman (March 10), facing the minimum and allowing only one hit to go along with a career-high nine strikeouts; took a no-hitter into the eighth inning.
- Transferred to Ole Miss in 2016 after spending one season at Florence-Darlington Technical School

Auburn got out to a fast start to the season before cooling off as of late. The Tigers were 32-14 and 14-7 in conference, sitting atop the SEC West before losing their past seven games. AU suffered consecutive SEC series sweeps to rival Alabama (May 5-7) and LSU (May 11-13). With only one game separating the two teams in conference play, the Rebels and Tigers are competing for seeding in the SEC Tournament as well as holding an advantage over the other in the eyes of the NCAA selection committee. Jonah Todd leads Auburn at the dish with a .389 batting average that ranks second in the SEC. Meanwhile, Dylan Ingram paces the team in home runs (8) and RBI (38). On the mound, the Tigers have a lethal 1-2 punch as Keegan Thompson and Casey Mize boast earned run averages of 2.48 and 1.97, respectively. Mize’s ERA ranks third in the SEC, while is 11.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio tops the conference and sits second nationally. The Tigers are coached by Butch Thompson, who is in his second season at Auburn.

Ole Miss holds a slight advantage in the all-time series 84-82-1, gaining the edge by winning seven of the past nine contests between the two divisional foes. The Rebels swept the Tigers in three-game sets at Swayze Field during the 2014 and 2016 campaigns. In 2015, Auburn took the opener before splitting a doubleheader to claim the series on its home diamond. Speaking of a split, each team one a game in the first series between the two back in 1938.

Last season at Swayze Field, Ole Miss broke out the brooms for a three-game sweep of Auburn (April 22-24, 2016). The Rebels won in three different ways. In the series opener, Ole Miss broke a 2-2 tie with a four-run seventh before holding off the Tigers in a 6-4 win. Clinching the series in game two, the Rebels led throughout the game by jumping out to a 5-0 lead through two innings and claiming a 7-4 victory. Closing out the weekend, Ole Miss charged back from five runs down. Trailing 5-0 heading into the eighth, Colby Bortles hit a two-run blast to give the Rebels life. One inning later, Ryan Olenek’s three-run homer brought the game to a 5-5 standstill that didn’t last long. Later in the ninth, Henri Lartigue delivered his fourth hit of the game to plate the winning run and secure the sweep in walk-off fashion.

In his first season as a Rebel, Ryan Olenek found success against the 2016 Auburn Tigers. The Winter Springs, Florida native hit .357 (5-for-14) with three runs and six RBI throughout the three-game series. He started the weekend by leading Ole Miss to a 7-4 win in a three-hit performance that included a pair of RBI. After contributing another hit and run in game two, Olenek helped the Rebels rally from a five-deficit to close out the series. In the bottom of the ninth, he belted a three-run homer to tie the game before Ole Miss added another run in the frame to complete the comeback victory. Olenek will look to continue the success versus Auburn this weekend.

The Rebels are 16-14 versus ranked teams in 2017, which includes sweeps of both No. 6 East Carolina and No. 23 UNCW in three-game series at Swayze Field as well as a two-game season sweep of No. 16 Southern Miss. Ole Miss also won series over No. 15 Vanderbilt, No. 10 Arkansas and No. 19 Texas A&M, while taking one game from both No. 8 LSU and No. 19 Kentucky. Last season, the Rebels won 12 games against ranked teams which included series victories over No. 2 Louisville, No. 8 LSU and No. 21 Arkansas. Ole Miss also topped No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 4 South Carolina, No. 5 Mississippi State and No. 18 Coastal Carolina, which went on to win the national championship, in games last year. In 2015, the Rebels made the NCAA Tournament after having the nation’s No. 1 strength of schedule.

With one weekend left in conference play, it’s time to start looking towards the 2017 SEC Baseball Tournament, which will take place May 23-28 in Hoover, Alabama. Ole Miss is currently ninth in the overall standings and has secured a spot in the conference tournament. Only three games separate four teams fighting for seeds 6-9, so there is plenty of uncertainly heading into the final weekend. The top 12 teams qualify for the SEC Tournament; moreover, the top four automatically earn byes into the double elimination portion of the tournament. Ole Miss can move up as high as sixth in the standings, while dropping no worse than 11th.

Ole Miss freshman Thomas Dillard was recognized as a member of the 2017 Southeastern Conference Community Service Team, the league office announced Wednesday morning. A native of Oxford, Dillard actively assisted his hometown throughout his first year as a Rebel. He was a leader in the Adopt-A-Basket program, working with Interfaith Compassion Ministries to provide a total of 50 Thanksgiving baskets from the Ole Miss Athletics Department to those in the Lafayette and Oxford communities. Working so closely with the cause, Dillard accepted an award on behalf of the athletic department. He also went to local elementary schools to read books to students as part of the Reading with the Rebels program. Using his talents on the diamond, he volunteered at the Bats and Balls Clinic in coordination with the Junior Auxiliary of Oxford. On campus, Dillard represents his fellow student-athletes on the Ole Miss Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), meeting throughout the year with athletic department administration. He joined other Ole Miss students to participate in RebelTHON, a fundraising event for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. In the fall, Dillard and the Rebels helped Shriners Hospitals for Children throw a surprise birthday for a young Ole Miss fan at Swayze Field.

Nick Fortes waited for his opportunity and since receiving it, he has taken advantage of it. With the help of his bat, the sophomore has started 29 of the Rebels’ last 31 games. The catcher caught 14 of those games behind the plate and has also started 15 games at first base. Since assuming starting duties, Fortes is hitting .337 (30-for-86). In 40 games this season, including 34 starts, he leads the team with a .320 batting average, including .342 in SEC play. Over the past nine contests, Fortes boasts a .382 clip at the dish. In a midweek game against ULM (May 2), he hit two home runs in the sixth inning to become the first Rebel to homer twice in the same inning since Michael Guerrero (May 31, 2008 vs. Bethune-Cookman in the NCAA Coral Gables Regional). He concluded the weekend at No. 5 Florida with another three-hit performance before recording at least one hit in all three games versus No. 19 Texas A&M.

The Ole Miss pitching staff has been efficient on the mound this season, leading the SEC in several categories and ranking among the best in the nation. Individually, Colby Bortles is the SEC leader with six sacrifice flies, while Dallas Woolfolk ranks 12th nationally with 12 saves.

Stat NCAA Rank SEC Rank
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio               3.13 6th 1st
WHIP 1.20 11th 2nd
Strikeouts/9 Innings 9.2 18th 4th
Shutouts 6 18th 4th
Walks/9 Innings 2.95 19th 2nd
Hits/9 Innings 7.85 23rd 7th
ERA 3.51 24th 4th

Tate Blackman and Colby Bortles, the captains of the team, have shown their leadership at the plate. On the season, Bortles leads Ole Miss in RBI (41), home runs (10) and multi-RBI games (12). He has reached base in 19 consecutive games as well. Meanwhile, Blackman paces the team in runs (43), triples (3), slugging percentage (.516) and on base percentage (.410). The two helped put away No. 19 Texas A&M in the series finale, hitting home runs in the bottom of the eighth. With the Rebels leading by two, Blackman belted a solo home run before Bortles followed with a two-run blast in what could be the senior’s final at-bat at Swayze Field.

Ole Miss has scored in the first inning in 11 of the last 17 games, including all three contests versus No. 19 Texas A&M last weekend. On the season, the Rebels are 12-6 when scoring in the opening frame. In terms of runs, Ole Miss pitching has been the most effective in the first inning this season, giving up only 17 runs through 53 games. Plating 31 runs themselves, the Rebels’ +14 run differential is the team’s third-best inning (sixth inning, +24; second inning, +16).

With Wyatt Short now in the professional ranks with the World Series champion Chicago Cubs organization, Dallas Woolfolk burst onto the scene in 2017 to become the go-to reliever at the end of games. Woolfolk, whose fastball ranges from 94-97 mph, has been nearly unhittable this season. The Southaven, Mississippi, native holds a 2.00 ERA over a team-high 25 appearances. Along with tallying 40 strikeouts and issuing only five walks, Woolfolk is 3-2 and boasts 12 saves as the team’s closer. His 12 saves rank third in the SEC as well as 11th nationally. Woolfolk is one save away from tying Stephen Head (2003) for the most in a single season in Ole Miss history. Moreover, the hard-throwing righty has shown that he’s more than just a one-inning wonder by recording at least four outs to earn six of his saves. In 36.0 innings, Woolfolk is holding opposing hitters to a .194 batting average. As a freshman, he was 1-0 with a 2.55 ERA and one save in 18 appearances (17.2 innings). With 13 career saves already, Woolfolk ranks tied for seventh on the program’s all-time list. Moving into his second year as a Rebel, his breakout moment occurred on opening weekend. In the series finale against No. 6 East Carolina (Feb. 19), Woolfolk entered the game in the eighth with the bases loaded and nobody out as the runner on second represented the tying run. In the toughest possible jam in baseball, he locked in by striking out three straight hitters to end the inning and keep the Pirates from scoring. He ended up coming back out for the ninth, recording two more strikeouts on his way to retiring the side and earning his first save of the season. He was named to the midseason watch list for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year Award (April 26), one of 40 pitchers on the watch list for the award given annually to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I Baseball.  

Junior Will Golsan has been the most consistent Ole Miss hitter this season, leading the team in hits (65) and multi-hit games (19). The Columbus, Mississippi, native also ranks second on the team in batting average (.316), runs (39) and doubles (11). He hits even better in SEC play with a .340 average in conference games. Recording at least one hit in 17 of the last 19 games, Golsan is hitting at a .431 clip (28-for-65). He helped lead Ole Miss to a victorious series over No. 19 Texas A&M, going 7-for-13 during the three-game set. Throughout his career, he’s shown his versatility in the field as well, starting at his third different position in as many seasons. Golsan won the starting nod at second base following the beginning of his freshman season before moving to first base last year. This season, Golsan has found his home in right field to better showcase his athleticism. He is the only Rebel to start all 53 games (49 in right field, three in center field, one at first base).  

It’s clear that Ole Miss is a young baseball team. On the mound, 75 percent of the innings pitched have been by freshmen or sophomores, including 39 percent by freshmen only. Offensively, the underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) have taken 56 percent of the team’s at-bats with a freshman stepping up to the plate 30 percent of the time.

Last season, the Ole Miss outfield recorded 17 assists, one off the school record of 18 set in 2014. Despite the loss of All-American J.B. Woodman to professional baseball, the Rebel outfielders have continued to make plays this season as Ole Miss has tallied 14 outfield assists in 2017. Will Golsan and Ryan Olenek lead the way with five assists apiece.  Thomas Dillard has two, while Bryan Seamster and Kyle Watson each have one outfield assist to their credit.

Over the past few seasons, Ole Miss has been lights out when holding a lead after the eighth inning. In fact since March 15, 2014, the Rebels are a blistering 115-1 in games they’ve led heading into the ninth. The lone loss occurred during the 2016 NCAA Regional when a Tulane two-run homer shocked Ole Miss at Swayze Field. This season, the Rebels hold a 27-0 mark when ahead through eight innings of play.

With 15 freshmen as part of the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, some of the newest young Rebels are making an impact right away. Ole Miss has started four freshmen in the majority of games: LF Thomas Dillard (43 starts), C Cooper Johnson (34 starts), SS Grae Kessinger (50 starts) and 1B Cole Zabowski (24 starts). On the mound, five freshmen have made their presence known as well: RHP Jason Barber (three appearances), RHP Will Ethridge (19 appearances),  RHP Greer Holston (16 appearances), LHP Ryan Rolison (18 appearances) and RHP Houston Roth (16 appearances).  

The 2017 season is the 17th year of Ole Miss Baseball led by Mike Bianco, the program’s all-time wins leader. With 661 wins at Ole Miss over the past 16+ seasons, Bianco is the winningest and longest active coach in the Southeastern Conference. In fact, he’s the conference’s longest active coach among the sports of baseball, men’s basketball and football. He ranks sixth on the SEC’s all-time wins list after passing former Vanderbilt coach Roy Mewbourne last weekend.

After the final weekend of the regular season, the Rebels will head to Hoover, Alabama to compete in the 2017 SEC Tournament. Ole Miss is guaranteed to play in a single-elimination game on Tuesday. Game time and opponent will be determined Saturday evening. If the Rebels win on Tuesday, they will play at least two more contests. All conference tournament games will be broadcast on SEC Network, aside from the championship game which will air live on ESPN2.





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