SEC West Crown Within Reach as No. 6 Ole Miss Faces No. 2 Texas A&M
May 18, 2016

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The Last Meeting
Texas A&M4  
Ole Miss7(7)
May 16, 2015
Oxford, Miss.
Ole Miss Tops No. 6 Texas A&M, 7-4
The Ole Miss baseball team wrapped up its 2015 regular season with 7-4 victory over No. 6 Texas A&M Saturday afternoon, May 16, at Swayze Field. The Rebels (30-25, 15-14 SEC) and Aggies (43-10, 18-10) were originally scheduled to play two seven-inning contests, but game two was cancelled due to inclement weather.

No. 6 Ole Miss (39-14, 17-10 SEC) at No. 2 Texas A&M (39-12, 18-9 SEC)
Date: May 19-21, 2016
Location: College Station, Texas
Venue: Blue Bell Park
Capacity: 6,100
Television: SEC Network/SECN+
    Clay Matvick, play-by-play
    Mike Rooney, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
    David Kellum, play-by-play
    Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio:
Series: Texas A&M leads 7-6
Last Series: May 14-16, 2015
        Series tied 1-1
        Oxford, Miss.

- Ole Miss is ranked sixth in the RPI and as high as No. 6 in the national polls.
- The Rebels are coming off an 8-6 midweek road loss to Arkansas State.
- Ole Miss looking to win at least 40 regular season games for the fourth time in program history.
- The Rebels are 9-9 against ranked teams this season, including 2-1 versus top-2 teams.
- Ole Miss won the last series in College Station, taking two-of-three from the Aggies (May 15-17, 2014).
- The Rebels can clinch a share of the SEC West Division title with two wins and at least one loss by MSU.
- Henri Lartigue leads all SEC catchers with a .358 batting average, including a .390 clip in SEC play.
- Lartigue has been named a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, award to the nation's best catcher.
- J.B. Woodman is a finalist for the C Spire Ferriss Trophy; his 13 home runs lead the SEC.
- Woodman hitting .429 (24-for-56) with runners in scoring position this season.
- Ole Miss is 34-0 in games when leading after the sixth inning.
- The Rebels are 38-2 this season when scoring at least four runs in a game.
- Errol Robinson is hitting .354 over the last 26 games, recording at least one hit in 23 of those contests.
- Ole Miss is outscoring the opposition 137-71 in the first three innings of games.

Texas A&M - Brigham Hill, So., RHP, 6-1, 2.18 ERA
Ole Miss - Brady Bramlett, R-Jr., RHP, 7-2, 2.91 ERA
- Ranks second in the SEC with 38 strikeouts looking
- CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree as a biological science major
- Tied a personal best with 12 strikeouts over a season-high 7.0 scoreless innings in win over No. 21 Arkansas (April 8), earning a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week honor
- Struck out eight in a victory over No. 2 Louisville (February 26)
- Named to the University of Mississippi Hall of Fame and 2015-16 Who's Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges
- Serves as the vice-chair of the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)
- Sings in the university choir and serves as the president of Ole Miss SAAC

FRIDAY, 6:30 P.M.
Texas A&M - Turner Larkins So., RHP, 2-0, 2.08 ERA
Ole Miss - David Parkinson, So., LHP, 4-2, 2.55 ERA
- Struck out a career-high six over six innings to collect a win over Kentucky (May 13)
- Allowed just one run over a career-high 7.0 innings at Alabama (April 16)
- Earned his first victory in his first career start, allowing one run over 5.1 innings
- Before being moved into the rotation, led the team in appearances out of the bullpen
- Tossed 4.1 innings of relief versus No. 10 South Carolina (March 24)
- Junior college transfer from Florence-Darlington Technical School
- In JUCO, made 12 starts and posted a 5-2 record with a 2.77 ERA

Texas A&M - Kyle Simonds, Sr., RHP, 8-2, 2.88 ERA
Ole Miss - Chad Smith, Jr., RHP, 4-4, 4.18 ERA
- Holds a 1.06 ERA with 23 strikeouts over his last three starts (17.0 innings).
- Collected a midweek win over UAPB (May 4), posting a career-high 11 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.

No. 2 Texas A&M enters the final weekend of the regular season with a 39-12 record, including an 18-9 mark to sit in a tie atop the SEC West. The Aggies are coming off a 5-0 loss to Sam Houston State on Tuesday. With a team batting average of .314, Texas A&M leads the SEC. Pacing the bats, junior Boomer White is hitting at a conference-best .416 clip with an SEC-high 84 hits. Senior Hunter Melton provides power at the plate with 11 doubles and 11 homers; his 60 RBI tops the SEC. On the mound, Brigham Hill is the ace of the staff with a 6-1 record and a 2.12 ERA. Another starter, Kyle Simonds is 8-2 with a 2.88 ERA and has tossed a no hitter versus Vanderbilt earlier this season. The Aggies are coached by Rob Childress, who is in his 11th season at Texas A&M.

Texas A&M holds a slight 7-6 advantage over Ole Miss in the all-time series. Last year, the Rebels hosted the Aggies on the final weekend of the regular season. Due to rain, the series was limited to two games with each team winning once. The last time the two divisional foes met in College Station, Ole Miss claimed the series by taking two of the three contests. The Rebels and Aggies first met in 1998 as non-conference opponents during Texas A&M's time in the Big 12 Conference. The Aggies won the three-game set at home with two victories in the final games of the series.

With only one weekend left of conference play, it's time to start looking towards the 2016 SEC Baseball Tournament, which will take place May 24-29 in Hoover, Alabama. Ole Miss is currently tied for third in the SEC West with rival LSU. In the overall standings, the Rebels and Tigers are tied for fifth place. If the season ended today, Ole Miss would be the No. 5 seed, holding the tiebreaker over LSU after winning the season series, and square off against Auburn, which is currently the No. 12 seed. There are still plenty of scenarios to play out as Ole Miss can end up anywhere from the No. 1 seed to the No. 8 seed. 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 still has a chance to win the SEC West. Facing Texas A&M this weekend, which is tied for first in the division, the Rebels control most of their destiny. Taking two out of three over the Aggies would give both teams a conference record of 19-11. Ole Miss would also need Arkansas to defeat Mississippi State at least once due to the Bulldogs entering the weekend one game ahead in the standings.

At 39-13 in 2016 and four games left on the regular season slate, Ole Miss is one victory away from reaching its goal of winning 40 games prior to postseason play. The Rebels have won 40 regular season games three times in program history (2005, 2009, 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 to become a 2016 Johnny Bench Award semifinalist. The Southaven, Mississippi native is the team's top hitter at the plate and leads all SEC catchers with a .358 batting average. Moreover, Lartigue is raking during conference play, hitting at a .390 clip, which ranks fifth among all hitters. He has put together 10 games with at least three hits, pacing the Rebel bats. In a walk-off, come-from-behind victory over Auburn (April 24), Lartigue went 4-for-5, tying a career high in hits which included the game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth. He added another walk-off hit, a three-run homer, against Kentucky (May 14).

The Rebels have faced their seven different ranked opponents this season. Ole Miss is 9-9 versus ranked teams, including series victories over then-No. 2 Louisville, then-No. 8 LSU 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.

The Southeastern Conference has recognized redshirt-junior Brady Bramlett for his work off the field as the Ole Miss Baseball ace was named to the SEC Community Service Team Wednesday morning (May 18). Representing the Rebels and being active in the community, Bramlett earned his spot on the team for the first time in his career. The Bartlett, Tennessee native has been an active member of the surrounding community since setting foot on campus. He was a primary student leader with the Batesville Supply Drive after Batesville Elementary School suffered a substantial loss of supplies due to a devastating fire. An avid reader, Bramlett has shared his love of books with local children. He has been active in Ole Miss' Reading with the Rebels program, and he has made appearances reading books at a local pre-school as well as the Gingerbread Village event. As the ace of the pitching staff, Bramlett has been a leader on and off the field. He led the Rebels in volunteering at the Bats and Balls Clinic in coordination with the Junior Auxiliary of Oxford. Using his talents on the diamond, he has coached baseball and mentored youth in summer baseball clinics as well.

Ole Miss junior outfielder J.B. Woodman has been named a finalist for the C Spire Ferriss Trophy, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum announced Monday morning, May 16. Woodman is one of five finalists up for the award, named for Mississippi baseball legend Boo Ferriss, which will be presented to the most outstanding baseball player in the state of Mississippi at a luncheon on May 23 at the Cleveland Country Club in Cleveland, Mississippi. Woodman joins Delta State's Will Robertson along with Mississippi State players Dakota Hudson, Reid Humphreys and Jake Mangum as the five finalists. Major League Baseball scouts and college coaches chose the five finalists and also will vote again this week from among the five. As a team captain, Woodman has been a leader on and off the field all season long. Leading the SEC with 13 home runs, the junior also paces Ole Miss in hits (64), multi-hit games (22), RBI (49), runs (44) and steals (10), while also ranking among the top Rebels in batting average (.327) and doubles (12). Moreover, he is hitting .340 during SEC play, cracking the conference's top-10 list. Known for his clutch hitting, Woodman is 24-for-56 (.429) with runners in scoring position this season. He also ranks in the top-25 nationally with six sacrifice flies, always finding a way to get a runner across the plate. As the Rebels' starting center fielder, the Orlando, Florida native has nine outfield assists which is tied for the second-most in the nation. Seven of his nine outfield assists have been at the plate, keeping runs off the scoreboard. Woodman is looking to become the sixth Rebel to win the Ferriss Trophy. Former Ole Miss outfielder Auston Bousfield took home the honor in 2014, joining previous Rebels Stephen Head (2004), Brian Pettway (2005), Scott Bittle (2008) and Drew Pomeranz (2010) in claiming the award.

The Southeastern Conference has announced that the May 19 baseball game between No. 6 Ole Miss and No. 2 Texas A&M will air on national television. The series opener between the Rebels and Aggies will be broadcast live on SEC Network with first pitch moved up to 6 p.m. CT at Blue Bell Park. The three-game set against Texas A&M is the final regular-season series for Ole Miss. With the last Thursday of the regular season designated as a wild card selection date for television, the series-opening matchup was chosen over the other six SEC games on the schedule that evening. The matchup will feature a pair of the nation's top teams fighting for the SEC West crown. Along with Saturday's series finale on SEC Network as well, Ole Miss Baseball is slated to finish the 2016 regular season with 11 game that appeared on national television. The Rebels have played nine of those contests thus far, sporting a record of 7-2 that includes a pair of victories over both then-No. 21 Arkansas and then-No. 8 LSU.

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 24 of the last 26 games, putting together 12 multi-hit performances and posting a .354 batting average during that stretch. Against Kentucky (May 12), the shortstop went 5-for-6 with four runs, earning new career highs in hits and runs scored in the Rebels' 14-2 victory. With five hits, Robinson became the first Rebel to put together a five-hit game since Auston Bousfield (April 26, 2014) also accomplished the feat against Kentucky.

Never count Ole Miss out of a baseball game. Three times this season, the Rebels have come back to win after being dealt a five-run deficit. On Saturday, Kentucky took an early 5-0 lead through three innings. Ole Miss scored four runs to enter the ninth trailing by one before Henri Lartigue delivered the walk-off three-run homer for the 7-5 victory, completing the sweep of Kentucky. Trailing by five runs through the first seven innings of the series finale 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, and Lartigue's clutch single provided another walk-off victory. Earlier in the season (March 2), the Rebels trailed Memphis 6-0 before winning by a 9-7 final.

In terms of offense, four seems to be the magic number for Ole Miss. With an outstanding pitching staff, the Rebels are 38-2 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.

With a three-game sweep of Kentucky, Ole Miss collected its sixth weekend sweep of the 2016 campaign. The Rebels swept Florida International to begin the season, won all three games at the Chanticleer Classic and closed 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.

After earning a spot on the midseason watch list (April 28), Ole Miss closer Wyatt Short has put together an impressive 2016 campaign to be recognized as a serious candidate for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year Award, an award given to the top reliever in NCAA Division I Baseball. In 17 appearances, Short has 10 saves to go along with a 2-1 record and 1.83 ERA. While the junior southpaw holds the team lead in saves, he has also shown his versatility as a long reliever. Against No. 10 South Carolina (March 26), Short pitched a career-high 5.2 innings of relief and allowed just one unearned run on one hit. Moreover, seven of his 10 saves have been earned by pitching more than just 1.0 inning. Through 34.1 innings this season, the lefty has recorded 26 strikeouts while only issuing six walks. When pitching at the back end of the bullpen, Short has not blown a save. For his career, Short holds a 1.89 ERA and limits opposing hitters to a .208 average at the plate. His 23 career saves already rank fourth on the Ole Miss all-time charts.

Junior Colby Bortles has blasted 16 doubles thus far in 2016, five more than his nearest teammate. His 16 doubles rank fifth among SEC sluggers. 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).

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 Georgia (May 7), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (May 4), 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).

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. Out of the 16 assists, 10 have been outs at home to prevent opponents from scoring. J.B. 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.

When Henri Lartigue has stepped up to the plate in high-pressure situations with the game on the line, the junior catcher has come through in the clutch. Twice this season, Lartigue has provided walk-off hits to complete a five-run deficit and a three-game sweep over a conference opponent. Against Auburn (April 24), the switch hitter smacked a base hit to knock in Rebels' fourth run of the ninth inning and cap a 6-5 comeback victory. Last weekend versus Kentucky, Lartigue walked to the dish with runners on the corners, one out and his team trailing by one. Battling against UK closer Sean Hjelle, the Ole Miss catcher belted a deep fly ball to right field that cleared the fence for a three-run home run, giving the Rebels a 7-5 win and earning his second walk-off hit of the season.

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 .388 with runners on base, including a remarkable .444 (24-of-54) 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 11 out of 14 opportunities. He also posts a .565 rate of advancing runners on base.

After another SEC weekend sweep, their third of the season, the Rebels climbed the polls once again. Baseball America, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), Perfect Game and the USA Today coaches poll all have Ole Miss as the sixth-best team in the country. D1Baseball moved the Rebels up to No. 7 in the national rankings. Collegiate Baseball listed Ole Miss 12th in its poll, up eight spots from last week. With the combination of a quality record and strength of schedule, Ole Miss is sixth in the RPI which should help in terms of national seeding for the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

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 leads the team in hits (64), is second on the team in batting average (.330) and multi-hit games (18), while ranking third in runs (40) and RBI (36). The second baseman also has reached base in 49-of-53 games this season.

The Ole Miss battery of pitcher Brady Bramlett and catcher Henri Lartigue has been named to the Academic All-District Team as voted on by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Both baseball Rebels earned the honor for the first time in their respective careers. Ole Miss was just one-of-two schools with multiple student-athletes on the District 6 team, joining Southeast Missouri State. The 12 student-athletes that made the list will now have a chance to be voted as CoSIDA Academic All-America. Bramlett continues to shine both on and off the field. Earlier this week, he was named one of the M-Club's Student-Athletes of the Month. As a biological science major, Bramlett holds a 3.43 GPA and will graduate later this summer. Lartigue, a junior, is an accountancy major with a 3.73 GPA.

Ole Miss wastes no time striking first, outscoring the opposition 52-23 in the first inning. The Rebels have scored in the opening frame 23 times this season, posting a 20-3 record in those ballgames. The first three innings are the Rebels' best in terms of outscoring the opponent. Ole Miss has recorded a combined 137 runs in the first three frames, while only giving up 71 runs through the first third of the game for a +66 advantage. The second inning is the team's best inning offensively, tallying 53 runs. On the mound, Ole Miss has surrendered just 20 runs in the third inning of contests.

Score by Innings      1          2        3        Total
Ole Miss 52  53 32 137
Opponents 23 28 20 71

Traditionally known as the best conference in college baseball, the SEC has once again lived up to that expectation again this season with over half of the conference ranked in the nation's top 25. The Rebels have fared well in the nation's toughest conference over the years. Ole Miss has posted a .500-or-better SEC record in 13 of the last 16 seasons, including this year with 17 wins in conference play. To put that in terms of difficulty, the Rebels are just one-of-two SEC schools that have accomplished the feat. South Carolina has been .500-or-better in the SEC in 15 of the last 16 years.

The 2016 Major League Baseball season is now underway, and eight former Rebels earned spots on big league ballclubs: Aaron Barrett (Washington Nationals), Chris Coghlan (Oakland Athletics), Zack Cozart (Cincinnati Reds), David Goforth (Milwaukee Brewers), Lance Lynn (St. Louis Cardinals), Drew Pomeranz (San Diego Padres), Alex Presley (Milwaukee 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. After beginning the year with the Triple-A affiliate Colorado Sky Sox, Goforth and Presley both earned promotions to the big leagues and remain on the Brewers' roster.

Ole Miss has put together big innings throughout the 2016 campaign. Nine 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 (March 2), 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. Over the weekend, Ole Miss used a five-run inning to build a double-digit lead and cruise past Kentucky, 14-2 (May 13).

While on the road with the team (March 4), starting pitcher Brady Bramlett received some major recognition on campus. A redshirt-junior on the field but a senior academically, Bramlett was named to the 2015-16 University of Mississippi Hall of Fame. The Bartlett, Tennessee native was one of 10 seniors throughout the entire university that earned the honor. He was also just the first student-athlete elected into the university's hall of fame since Maggie McFerrin of women's basketball (2013). Bramlett was selected based on his academic achievement, community service and potential for future success. He represents the SEC and serves as the Vice-Chair of the NCAA National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is a representative on the NCAA Strategic Vision and Planning Committee, a subcommittee of the NCAA Division I Council. Bramlett is also a representative on the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee. Bramlett's busy schedule off the field includes serving as president of the Ole Miss SAAC, singing in the university choir and working towards his degree as a biological science major. He also donates his time to the community, going to local elementary schools as part of the Reading with the Rebels program. Along with his hall of fame induction, Bramlett was also chosen to represent Ole Miss on the 2015-16 Who's Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Up next, the Rebels will trek to Hoover, Alabama for the 2016 SEC Tournament. If Ole Miss finishes with a top-4 seed, it will earn a bye into the double elimination portion of the tournament, starting Wednesday, May 25. If the Rebels place below fourth in the standings, they will play in the single elimination first round Tuesday, May 24.






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