Ole Miss Baseball Announces 2016 Schedule
Sept. 14, 2015
OXFORD, Miss. - After playing the nation's toughest schedule in 2015, the Ole Miss baseball team will have another challenging 56-game schedule as the Rebels announced their 2016 campaign Monday morning. The regular season kicks off with Florida International coming to Swayze Field for a three-game series, Feb. 19-21, and culminates when the Rebels hit the road to battle Texas A&M three months later (May 19-21) in the final contests prior to starting postseason play with the SEC Tournament (May 24-29).
The schedule is highlighted by 19 games against teams that made the NCAA Tournament this past summer, including 13 games versus opponents with an RPI in the top 25 at the end of the 2015 season. Although 34 percent of the schedule consists of NCAA Tournament teams, Ole Miss will host the majority of them at venerable Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field. The 32-game home slate features 15 contests versus opponents that qualified for the 2015 NCAA Tournament, including six against College World Series teams. Arkansas visits Oxford (April 8-10), and the Rebels will square off against LSU (April 29-May 1).
"Once again, we are excited about the challenge of playing a difficult schedule," said Ole Miss Head Coach Mike Bianco. "Last season, we had the toughest schedule in the country, which groomed us for SEC play down the stretch and leading into the NCAA Tournament. Our team is looking forward to the 2016 season, and we are ready to get on the field later this week to begin preparing for the Road to Omaha."
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; the 8,028 average is the second-most in program history. The 2016 campaign kicks off in front of the home crowd as Ole Miss hosts FIU (Feb. 19-21). As a NCAA Tournament qualifier in 2015, the Panthers will serve as an early non-conference test to open the season.
The difficult start to the season continues for Ole Miss after opening weekend. Following a midweek game versus Arkansas State (Feb. 23), the University of Louisville rolls into town for a weekend slate against the Rebels (Feb. 26-28). The Cardinals, coached by former Ole Miss Assistant Coach Dan McDonnell, were one game away from a trip to Omaha last season as they fell to Cal State Fullerton in NCAA Super Regional play.
A matchup with Memphis (March 2), the first game of the annual home-and home series between the two programs, ends the Rebels' eight-game homestand to start the season. Hitting the road for the first time, Ole Miss will face three different teams in three days. The Rebels will square off against Ball State, Coastal Carolina and Cincinnati in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (March 4-6). Following the weekend trip, Ole Miss returns to the friendly confines of Swayze Field to welcome Southeast Missouri State (March 8-9) and Grambling State (March 11-13). In the last series before the start of SEC play, the Rebels head to Birmingham, Alabama for a pair of games against UAB (March 15-16). Other non-conference opponents throughout the rest of the season are: Arkansas State, Memphis, UT Martin, Southern Miss, Murray State, and Arkansas Pine Bluff.
Ole Miss begins the always rigorous SEC schedule with a weekend series at Tennessee (March 18-20). The Rebels' first home conference series will take place the following weekend when South Carolina comes to town. The Rebels and Gamecocks, two of the most successful programs in the SEC in recent history, will take the field after not facing one another last season.
Other home SEC series for the Rebels include: Arkansas (April 8-10), Auburn (April 22-24), LSU (April 29-May 1), and Kentucky (May 13-15). Ole Miss will also hit the conference road for trips to rival Mississippi State (April 1-3), Alabama (April 15-17), Georgia (May 6-8), and Texas A&M (May 19-21).
The Rebels will also head to Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. for two games versus in-state foes. Ole Miss will face Southern Miss April 5 before battling Mississippi State April 26. The contest with the Bulldogs will be the annual Governor's Cup, and the Rebels will look to retain the trophy after winning last season's contest, 11-1.
The SEC Tournament will once again be held in Hoover, Alabama, at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium from May 24-29. It is the 19th-straight year the premier conference tournament has been held at The Hoover Met.
Ole Miss begins fall practice this Friday, September 18. For updates on Ole Miss Baseball, follow the Rebels on Twitter (@OleMissBSB) and don't forget to like the team's Facebook page (Ole Miss Baseball).
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