May 28, 2015
NCAA TOURNAMENT - LOS ANGELES REGIONAL
Dates: May 29-June 1, 2015
Location: Los Angeles, Calif.
Venue: Jackie Robinson Stadium
Clay Matvick, play-by-play
Mike Rooney, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
David Kellum, play-by-play
Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Series vs. Maryland: First Meeting
Series vs. UCLA: UCLA leads 4-3
Series vs. CSU Bakersfield: Never Met
Friday, May 29
Game 1: No. 2 Ole Miss (30-26, 15-14 SEC) vs. No. 3 Maryland (39-21, 14-10 Big Ten), 6:00 p.m. (TV: ESPN3)
Game 2: No. 1 UCLA (42-14, 22-8 Pac-12) vs. No. 4 CSU Bakersfield (36-22-1, 17-9-1 WAC), 10:00 p.m. (TV: ESPNU)
Game 3: Losers of Games 1 & 2, 6:00 p.m.
Game 4: Winners of Games 1 & 2, 10:00 p.m.
Game 5: Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 6:00 p.m.
Game 6: Winners of Games 4 & 5, 10:00 p.m.
Game 7 (if nec.): 10:00 p.m.
*All games broadcast on ESPNU or ESPN3
- Ole Miss is making its 20th appearance in the NCAA Tournament
- The Rebels have made the NCAA Tournament 13 times during 15 seasons under head coach Mike Bianco, including five Super Regional appearances and one College World Series berth
- Ole Miss returns to the NCAA Tournament after losing 17 players, including eight to the MLB Draft, from last year's team that finished third in the College World Series
- Ole Miss holds an all-time record of 52-42 (.553) in the NCAA Tournament
- The Rebels have advanced to the College World Series five times (1956, 1964, 1969, 1972 and 2014)
- Ole Miss has advanced to at least the Regional Championship game in seven of their last nine appearances
- The Rebels have advanced to a Super Regional in five of those tournaments, hosting three of them.
- Ole Miss had the nation's toughest schedule this season
- The Rebels went 7-6 against top-10 teams this season, including 5-4 versus No. 1 ranked teams
- Ole Miss won the series over No. 1 Florida and No. 1 Vanderbilt
- The Rebels defeated No. 1 LSU in 14 innings and No. 1 Vanderbilt in 16 innings earlier this year
- Ole Miss faced eight tournament teams during the 2015 regular season, compiling a record of 11-11 against them
- The Rebels have won at least 30 games in 18 consecutive seasons
- Ole Miss enters the tournament having won six of its last eight games
- The Rebels are 22-0 when leading after the eighth inning this season, and have four comeback victories when trailing after the eighth inning
- Ole Miss has rallied from more than four runs down entering the ninth inning twice this season; trailed by four against No. 1 Vanderbilt, April 10, and down five versus Mississippi State, May 9
- Ole Miss finished second in the nation in attendance in 2015, averaging 8,028 fans per game for a total season attendance of 240,849
- Sophomore Wyatt Short, a Second Team All-SEC honoree, has not allowed a run in 19 of his 23 appearances
- Short has 10 saves this season, including eight in SEC play, which leads the conference. His 13 career saves rank in a tie for sixth in the Ole Miss record books
- Freshman Kyle Watson is hitting .437 since returning to the starting lineup (five games)
- Senior Sikes Orvis is currently ranked 10th all-time in Ole Miss history with 34 career home runs; his 16 home runs in 2015 are tied for the seventh-most in a single season
- Orvis and sophomore J.B. Woodman lead the team with 39 walks apiece this season, tied for the seventh-most in Ole Miss history
- The Rebels are 3-4 versus UCLA, but have never faced Maryland or CSU Bakersfield in history
- Ole Miss has not played in the state of California since facing UCLA during the 2006 season
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
FRIDAY, 6:00 P.M. CT
Maryland - Mike Shawaryn, So., RHP, 12-2, 1.65 ERA
Ole Miss - Christian Trent, Jr., LHP, 7-6, 3.70 ERA
- Has thrown 8.0 innings in three of his last four outings
- Went a season-long 8.0 innings against Alabama, surrendering two runs (one earned) on six hits with five strikeouts to earn the win
- Pitched 6.1 innings and allowed one run on three hits to defeat No. 1 Florida, going 4.1 innings without giving up a hit
- Has made 31 career starts, recording 154 strikeouts over 202.1 innings for a record of 16-6
- Won his first 12 games as a Rebel, the best start to a career by any pitcher in Ole Miss baseball history
- Named to the 50-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list
- Started three postseason games (all no decisions) in the Rebels' 2014 road to the College World Series, allowing just two runs (one earned) to go along with 19 strikeouts and only four walks over 21.1 innings
REBELS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Ole Miss will be playing in its 20th NCAA Tournament in program history. Over the past 19 appearances, the Rebels have played 94 games and sport an all-time record of 52-42 (.553). Last season, Ole Miss returned to Omaha to compete in the College World Series for the first time since 1972, finishing third in the tournament. The Diamond Rebels have made a total of five College World Series appearances with the other four occurring in: 1956, 1964, 1969 and 1972. Ole Miss also has five super regional berths to its credit, all under 15th year head coach Mike Bianco and within the past decade. In regional play, the Rebels have advanced to at least the Regional Championship games in seven of its last nine appearances.
The Los Angeles Regional is full of rare opponents for the Rebels. UCLA is the only team Ole Miss has faced in the program's history. The two teams first met back in 1969 at the National Collegiate Tournament in Riverside, Calif. The Bruins and Rebels also had home-and-home series during the 2006 and 2007 campaigns, with each team taking two of three on its home field. With the win in the first meeting, UCLA leads the all-time series over Ole Miss, 4-3. As for the other two teams in the Los Angeles Regional, Maryland and CSU Bakersfield, Ole Miss has never met either program on the diamond.
A LOOK AT MARYLAND
The Rebels and Terrapins will face off for the first time in history when the two kick off the Los Angeles Regional on Friday night. Maryland enters Friday's matchup with a 39-21 record, finishing tied for third in the Big Ten with a mark of 14-10. The 39 wins are a program record for Maryland, which is led by John Szefc in his third season at College Park. The Terrapins reached the finals of the Big Ten Conference Tournament before falling to Michigan, 4-3. On its way to the finals of the conference tournament, UM ended Illinois' Big Ten record 27-game winning streak. Maryland qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season after going 43 years without an appearance prior to the 2014 campaign. The Terrapins are led by four All-Big Ten honorees, including sophomore Mike Shawaryn. The right-hander earned first team all-conference accolades after getting 12 victories on the mound to improve his career total to 22 in just two seasons, the most in program history. Brandon Lowe, Kevin Martir and Jose Cuas also earned All-Big Ten recognition. Lowe leads the team with a .342 average at the plate. Matir is quickly behind his teammate, hitting at a .330 clip. Cuas provides power to the lineup with team highs in home runs (11) and RBI (53).
The Bruins earned the top overall seed in the 2015 NCAA Tournament due to its 42-14 record and will host a regional for the fifth time in the past six seasons. UCLA captured the Pac-12 crown with a record of 22-8, winning 9-of-10 conference series. UCLA's arms lead the way with a combined team ERA of 2.16, the best in the nation. The pitching staff has produced nine shutouts this season, third in the country, and is No. 1 in WHIP at 1.05. David Berg is the Bruins' leader on the mound with a 7-1 record, 12 saves and a 0.73 ERA. He has 56 strikeouts over 61.1 innings, spanning 40 appearances. He also became the NCAA record holder for career appearances this season and currently has 172 for his career. Ty Moore is one of UCLA's best hitters, posting a team-best .335 average to go along with 47 RBI. UCLA is managed by John Savage in his 11th year at the helm, leading the Bruins to their first national championship in 2013.
REPORT ON THE ROADRUNNERS
CSU Bakersfield will be making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament field after becoming champions of the WAC Tournament. The Roadrunners are 36-22-1 overall, including 17-9-1 in conference play. CSUB can credit its success to its gloves, boasting the 19th-best fielding percentage in the nation at .977. The Golden State institution is also seventh nationally in double plays, turning 60 of them throughout the regular season. On the rubber, WAC Pitcher of the Year Hayden Carter leads the Roadrunners with an 8-3 record and 2.55 ERA over 116.1 innings. Out of Carter's 16 starts, he went the distance in seven of them and posted a pair of shutouts. All-WAC First Team and WAC Tournament MVP David Metzgar paces the Roadrunners at the plate with team highs in average (.358), runs (46), hits (86), doubles (16) and RBI (42). The head coach of Bakersfield is Bill Kernen, who was named WAC Coach of the Year in his sixth full season leading the Roadrunners.
POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE ON THE MOUND
While the Rebels have new starters in five different positions in the field this season, Ole Miss returns veteran presence on the mound with postseason experience. Wyatt Short, Sam Smith, Christian Trent and Scott Weathersby all pitched during last season's run to Omaha, combining for 49 innings throughout the postseason. Trent pitched 21.1 of those innings over three outings, while Smith added 11.2 innings of work. Weathersby pitched in clutch situations, earning three wins in 9.1 innings of relief that includes 5.1 innings in the regional-clinching win over Washington. Short added three appearances as well, including two in the College World Series. The returning staff should play a key factor as the Rebels look to return to Omaha.
LOOKING BACK AT THE 2014 ROAD TO OMAHA
Ole Miss reached the coveted College World Series last season, making a trip to Omaha for the first time in 42 years. The Rebels hosted three teams for regional competition, winning three straight games at Swayze Field to move on to a Super Regional. Ole Miss defeated Jackson State before taking down Washington in back-to-back games, earning a chance to compete for a spot in Omaha against No. 1 Louisiana-Lafayette. After losing the first matchup with the Ragin' Cajuns, Ole Miss needed two straight victories to reach the College World Series. The Rebels got just that, downing the nation's top-ranked team 5-2 in game two before claiming the rubber match in a decisive 10-4 ballgame. In Omaha, the Rebels faced the new top-ranked team in Virginia, falling to the Cavaliers 2-1 in the opening-round game before picking up two wins over Texas Tech and TCU in elimination games to set up another showdown with Virginia with their College World Series' life on the line. Ole Miss fell to the Cavaliers to end the season with a third-place finish, tying the best finish in the CWS by an Ole Miss team with the 1956 Rebels.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Once again, Swayze Field provided the best atmosphere and some of the biggest crowds across the country for college baseball games. Ole Miss finished the 2015 regular season going 19-11 at home and averaging 8,028 fans per game, the second most in the nation. The average attendance was the second-most in program history as 240,849 people walked through the Swayze Field gates in 2015. With that number, Ole Miss finished third nationally in total attendance; however, the Rebels played four fewer games than LSU and South Carolina, the two teams ranked above them. A season-high 10,119 fans saw the Diamond Rebels shutout Alabama, April 25, the sixth-largest crowd in Swayze Field history.
SENIOR CLASS CONTINUES WINNING TRADITION
One day after getting recognized for their outstanding careers at Ole Miss, five senior Rebels played their last regular season game at Swayze Field and delivered a win like they have done so many times during their time on campus. Ole Miss knocked off No. 6 Texas A&M, 7-4, in seven innings for the 30th win of the season. The victory marked the 18th consecutive season that the program has reached the 30-win plateau, including all 15 seasons during the Mike Bianco era. Defeating the nationally ranked Aggies also gave the senior class its 153rd win as Rebels, including 48 victories last season on the way to the College World Series. The five-member class of 2015 includes: Scott Ashford, Austin Knight, Sikes Orvis, Sam Smith and Scott Weathersby.
SIKES HITTING EQUALS OLE MISS WINNING
Ole Miss has won six of its past eight games due to solid pitching, hitting and fielding as a team. Nonetheless, there is one Rebel who has led the way at the plate. Senior co-captain Sikes Orvis is hitting at an incredible .481 clip during the winning streak along with three multi-homer games. Through the eight games, Orvis has 13 hits, seven home runs, two doubles, 11 runs and 16 RBI. With nine of his 13 hits going for extra bases, the first baseman has boasted a 1.333 slugging percentage to help the Rebels grab momentum heading into the postseason.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
With his two home runs against Arkansas State last week, Sikes Orvis etched his name in the Ole Miss record books. The senior slugger now has 34 career home runs, ranking 10th in program history. His 34th career homer was also the 16th of the year for Orvis, which is tied for the seventh-most by a Rebel in a single season. Kyle Gordon is the Ole Miss career home run record holder with 48, while Jason Huisman and Brian Pettway hit 21 homers in different seasons to share the single season mark. Orvis is one home run away from tying Pettway for ninth on the all-time list. He is also 7th on the list for most walks in a single season with 39 alongside teammate J.B. Woodman.
CLOSING OUT GAMES
Ole Miss has been efficient in closing out games this season. While the Rebels have four come-from-behind wins, they are a perfect 22-0 when holding their own lead through eight innings. A credit to Ole Miss capping off victories is the back end of the bullpen. The quartet of Wyatt Short, Will Stokes, Jacob Waguespack and Scott Weathersby has combined for 17 saves this season. Short leads the way as the team's primary closer with 10 saves, but Stokes and Weathersby each have three as well. Waguespack earned his first career save against No. 1 Vanderbilt. Along with the impressive record after eight innings of play, the Rebels are 10-3 in one-run games.
Only two Rebels have started all 56 games this season, and they both happen to be sophomores. Errol Robinson has started every game as the Rebels' shortstop, while J.B. Woodman has been penciled in the Ole Miss outfield, splitting time between center field and right field. Robinson and Woodman have made phenomenal plays with their gloves, but the duo also produces at the plate. Robinson has 59 hits to lead the team, while Woodman is second with 56; Woodman has scored 39 times, second on the team, and Robinson's 30 runs are fifth on the Ole Miss ball club.
WEATHERING THE STORM
One of two captains, senior Scott Weathersby has been a leader to a youthful Ole Miss baseball team. On the mound this season, Weathersby has posted a 2.62 ERA in 17 appearances, including the first four starts of his career. Through 55.0 innings of work, he has struck out 51 batters, while only walking 14. Perhaps the most impressive statistic of all by the Hattiesburg, Miss. native is that he is holding opposing hitters to just a .216 average at the plate. Weathersby's veteran presence on the mound showed against No. 1 Vanderbilt, April 10, as he retired 18 of the 21 batters he faced in a six-inning relief appearance. The senior right-hander struck out a career-high 10 hitters and got out of a bases-loaded jam, all while keeping the nation's top-ranked team off the scoreboard. Behind Weathersby, the Rebels stayed alive in the extra-inning contest before winning in the 16th. Weathersby shut the door to collect the win on the road. The performance earned the senior SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week honors, and he built off the accolade in his next appearance, earning the win at Auburn, before tossing 1.2 scoreless innings to collect a save versus Alabama. Weathersby continued his dominance as he got the start against rival Mississippi State in the Governor's Cup. The senior tossed a career-high seven innings without allowing a run, earning MVP honors and leading Ole Miss to an 11-1 victory. After the Governor's Cup win, Weathersby started in the series finale at No. 14 Missouri and picked up the win.
Sophomore southpaw Wyatt Short has been a shutdown reliever out of the Ole Miss bullpen this season. In 22 appearances, Short has a 4-1 record, 10 saves, an impressive 1.42 ERA, 43 strikeouts, only 12 walks and just six earned runs over 38.0 innings. His win total and number of saves are team highs out of Rebel relievers as he had held opposing hitters to a .204 average at the plate. At one point this season, March 1 through April 18, Short surrendered just one run over 21.2 innings spanning 12 appearances. In the last five of his last six outings, the southpaw has factored into the decision, recording four saves and one win. He collected two saves and a victory to help Ole Miss sweep rival Mississippi State, May 7-9, and earned SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week honors. Short's 10 saves in 2015 are tied for the fifth-most for a single season in Ole Miss history. With 13 career saves, the sophomore is already tied with Skipper Wright for sixth in the program's record book. Prior to the conference tournament, Short was voted Second Team All-SEC by the league's coaches, the only Rebel on the list.
The Rebels have gone through the gauntlet in 2015 with a difficult non-conference schedule as well as facing three teams ranked No. 1 in the country during conference play. According to NCAA statistics, Ole Miss had the nation's toughest schedule as the Rebels' opponents were a combined 697-471-1 (.597) this season. Out of 56 games, 19 of those contests came against top-15 teams, including nine against No. 1 teams. The Rebels went 9-10 in games against ranked teams, including 7-6 against top-10 teams and 5-4 versus teams ranked No. 1. Ole Miss went through a stretch of playing 8-of-11 games against teams ranked in the top 10, posting an even 4-4 record in those matchups that included a series victory over then-No.1 Florida. The brutal schedule forced a young Ole Miss team grow up fast, and the Rebels could benefit from the pressure as they head into postseason play.