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The Journey to this Point...2016 Ole Miss Baseball

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By Tate Hawkins, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations

In case you missed it, or you've been focused on the winter sports, Ole Miss Baseball is already five weeks into the 2016 season. After an 8-2 win over UT Martin on Tuesday, the Diamond Rebels are 20-2, tying its best 22-game start in program history.

The Rebels roll into the second weekend of SEC play and the first at Swayze after winning nine of their last 10 ballgames. Ole Miss sits in the top 10 of all six major college baseball rankings across the country, sitting as high as sixth in the Collegiate Baseball national poll and making them one of four SEC teams in the top 10.

Ole Miss got off to its hot start early by winning seven of the first eight games in Oxford, including a sweep over Florida International, taking two-of-three against then-No. 2 Louisville, as well as midweek wins against Arkansas State and Memphis. Then, the Rebels went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to participate in the 2016 Chanticleer Classic, winning all 3 of their games. Ole Miss posted victories over Ball State, then-No. 18 Coastal Carolina, and Cincinnati outscoring the three opponents a combined 22-6.

Following the weekend road trip, it was back home to Swayze where the Rebs would continue their winning ways by picking up sweeps over Southeast Missouri and Grambling State, taking a 12-game win streak into the first weekend of SEC play.

Ole Miss opened conference play by taking two-of-three from the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville, winning on Saturday and Sunday and bringing their record to 19-2. The Rebels followed the victorious weekend with a midweek win over UT Martin. 

The impressive start has been accredited to masterful pitching and hot hitting. The Ole Miss pitching staff boasts a club ERA of 2.42 led by weekend starters Brady Bramlett (2.03), Chad Smith (3.91), and Sean Johnson (1.96). The bullpen features relievers David Parkinson (1.35), Dallas Woolfolk (0.00) and Andy Pagnozzi (2.42), and closer Wyatt Short (0.87) who has five saves. The Rebel hitters are led by Tate Blackman (.347, 2 HR, 21 RBI), Henri Lartigue (.339, 1 HR, 9 RBI), Colby Bortles (.329, 3 HR, 19 RBI) and J.B. Woodman (.325, 4 HR, 21 RBI). The Rebels have put 20 baseballs over the walls for homers, led by J.B. Woodman and Cameron Dishon who both have hit four dingers of their own.

This weekend, the Rebels host the 20-2 South Carolina Gamecocks, who are ranked as high as No. 10, for their first home SEC series of the year. The three-game slate is set for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in observance of the Easter Sunday holiday. So dye your Easter Eggs fast and postpone the egg hunt to Sunday because the baseball needs the support of Rebel Nation for this weekend's big top-10 matchup. Pack Swayze and be ready for the bottom of the fifth...

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Welcome Back to Baseball

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By Tate Hawkins, Student Assistant, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to one of the best times of the year. After a wonderful fall for Ole Miss sports it's time to grab your gloves, caps, and your lawn chairs (if you're heading to the outfield). The grass has been cut, and the dirt has been dragged, oh and 10,000 of your closest friends are going to be with you: it's baseball season in Oxford!

Baseball can only begin with one of the most memorable days of the season, Opening Day. The gates of Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field opened for it's 28th Opening Day and saw its beloved Rebels get a 9-2 win over the Florida International University Panthers. Besides the play on the field, Opening Day comes with its own special set of emotions and events. This year, Opening Day fell on February 19, marking exactly 28 years to the day that the first baseball game was played at O-U Stadium. 

Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field became the host of Ole Miss Baseball February 19 1989 when the Rebels swept a doubleheader against Cumberland University in front of a crowd of 1,016 fans who braved the bitter cold weather conditions. On that day, George H.W. Bush was President, a gallon of gas cost $1.12, Darrell Waltrip won his only Daytona 500 while racing on gas fumes, and you could get a hot dog at the ballpark for under a dollar (don't forget $1 hot dog nights during midweek games this season). For this year's opener, scenarios were a little different. The first pitch of the season was thrown on a sunny 70-degree day, and there were 3,000 students in right field to accompany the total attendance of 10,129, the largest Opening Day crowd in school history. Donald Trump's running for President, we race solo cups in the fourth inning, a gallon of gas will cost you $1.53, and a hot dog will cost you $5 (excluding Dollar Dog nights of course). Buy hey, it's still Opening Day.

However, some things are better left unchanged. David Kellum is still the voice of Ole Miss Baseball on the radio after 37 seasons and describes the event as "one of the best days of the year." He and his wife Mary spend their weekends in the ballpark broadcast booth together and "love it." The Kellums love Opening Day because it's the chance to "get back in the saddle" after a long offseason.

Junior Brady Bramlett described being the Opening Day starter as "an awesome experience, especially with the crowd today - you felt the energy as soon as you stepped on the field." Head coach Mike Bianco said he was "proud and excited" of the team's play on Opening Day due to the "heightened excitement" behind the day. That excitement can be accredited to the chance to see new talent, see the veterans show their experience, have the for Rebel greats return, and even possibly the fact that 10,000 people were in attendance. "That number's crazy," said Bianco regarding the attendance. 

Aside from all the excitement, we can be hopeful from last year. The Rebels finished last season after being eliminated from postseason play in the Regional round and hope to return to Omaha and College World Series glory just like they did in 2014. With a lot of those team members being in the junior/senior years of eligibility, and a 3-game sweep over FIU on opening weekend, the season looks bright. So clear your schedules, rally the family, order your tickets and get to Swayze a few times this season. Here's to Rebel Baseball being back, and here's to 2016.





Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (April 21-27, 2015)

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review

April 21-27, 2015

Baseball

- During the five-game homestand, Ole Miss went 3-2 with a midweek win over Central Arkansas as well as claiming a weekend series over Alabama. 

- The Rebels recorded 68 hits throughout the week, improving their season batting average by 15 points. Three Rebels hit over .500 for the week, led by junior Connor Cloyd, who recorded five multi-hit games for a .565 week (13-for-23). 

- Sophomore Colby Bortles and senior Austin Knight smacked hits in half of their at bats; Bortles was 9-for-18 this week, while Knight went 8-for-16 that included the first two home runs of his career. 

- Scoring 14 runs in the first two innings, Ole Miss busted out the bats in a convincing 18-4 victory over Central Arkansas. The 18 runs were a season high for Ole Miss and every Rebel in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit, one run and one RBI, a feat accomplished for the first time in Ole Miss history. 

- In a loss to Memphis, sophomore Colby Bortles had another big night at the dish, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI and one run. Bortles' three hits tied his career high total for a single game. 

- The Rebels got back on the winning track by sweeping Alabama in a doubleheader on Saturday, outscoring the Crimson Tide a combined 14-2. 

- In game one, the Rebels turned in a complete performance with 17 hits, eight innings from starting pitcher Christian Trent, and multiple outstanding defensive plays in a 10-2 victory. 

- Junior right fielder Cameron Dishon went 4-for-5, setting a career high for hits, and Bortles tied a career high with five RBI. In addition to a career high for hits, Dishon also set a career high with three stolen bases, giving him 15 for the season, to go along with two runs scored. 

- Bortles went 3-for-4 with a double and a home run, a three-run shot in the fourth for his seventh of the season. 

- Trent worked a season-long 8.0 innings, giving up two runs -- one earned -- and scattering six hits with a walk and five strikeouts. 

- In front of 10,119 fans, the largest crowd of the season and sixth-most in Swayze Field history, sophomore Brady Bramlett and senior Scott Weathersby out-dueled Alabama, 4-0, to complete doubleheader sweep. 

- Bramlett went a career-long 7.1 innings, shutting out Alabama and limiting the Crimson Tide to just four hits. Bramlett also struck out nine batters with no walks, and he was one strikeout shy of recording his third double-digit strikeout game of the season. 

- Weathersby worked a perfect 1.2 innings of relief with two strikeouts to pick up the save. As a team, the Rebels struck out 11 batters compared to zero walks. 

- Cloyd (2-for-3) and Knight (2-for-4) each tallied a multi-hit game. Cloyd drove in what proved to be the game-winning run in the contest, while Knight and senior first baseman Sikes Orvis provided some insurance with a pair of home runs in the eighth.

- After 183 career at-bats without a home run, Knight belted two homers in back-to-back at-bats as the senior left the yard in his first plate appearance of Sunday's series finale.

Track & Field

- Ole Miss continued its rich tradition at the Drake Relays, which celebrated its 106th year of existence this week, with four event titles and two runner-up finishes in Des Moines, Iowa.

- The Rebels have now won at least one event title in 10 straight years and 25 overall dating back to 1983. The four titles this year are the most since they racked up five in 2010 and tied for second-most in school history.

- Despite cold temperatures and some less-than-ideal wind and rain for a track meet, Ole Miss strung together four titles, which included sophomore Jalen Miller in the men's 100 meters (season-best 10.29), senior Phillip Young in the men's triple jump (season-best 52-8.75), the women's 4x100-meter relay squad (44.80) and freshman Brooke Feldmeier in the women's 800 meters (2:05.96).

-  The women's 4x100-meter relay squad of Nicole Henderson, Shannon Ray, Khadijah Suleman and Jhorden Hunter remained undefeated against college competition, placing first among college teams at all six meets this season and ranking seventh in the nation with a season-best time of 44.11.

- Runners-up in Iowa included redshirt-freshman Dempsey McGuigan in the men's hammer throw (214-0) and the women's 4x200-meter relay of Mercedes Mattix, Kiannah Alexander, Breanna Tate and Deanna Tate (1:36.80).

Softball

- Ole Miss locked up a berth in the SEC Tournament over the weekend with a win over South Carolina in the weekend series. The Rebels can finish the year as high as ninth in the SEC standings and no lower than 12th.

- The Rebels picked up the 29th win over the season, tying the mark for second most wins in a season and one shy of tying the school record for wins in a season with four games left in the regular season.

- Ole Miss has set new records for offense this season with runs (282), triples (13), home runs (43), walks (156) and steals (82).

Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- April 26

Hugh Freeze and Ross Bjork embarked on the Rebel Road Trip, the baseball team claimed their weekend series over Alabama that featured the largest crowd of the season and the football program's NFL presence is expected to grow with the NFL Draft next weekend. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:

- Headlined by Ole Miss football head coach Hugh Freeze and athletics director Ross Bjork headlined the fourth annual BancorpSouth Rebel Road Trip that featured 13 fan meetings over six days. Both Freeze and Bjork noted the same energy but a different belief and optimism than their first Rebel Road Trip together in 2012.

- Here's what Freeze had to say about his fourth Rebel Road Trip, speaking to reporters after the event: "I enjoy the meetings and seeing the Rebel people," Freeze said. "We ask them to come to our campus so much that the least we can do is to get out and be with them. The most difficult part for me is just being so out of touch with our players with exam time coming up and academic issues. It's just a long week, but it's so much fun being with the Rebel people and the passion that they have."

- And here's Bjork: "It's hard to believe, but it's still the same energy. What's been cool is that just about every place has been packed, really with the exception of one place, and the energy that's out there as far as away as Baton Rouge. Everybody's fired up about Ole Miss. That's what makes this worthwhile to do it. People get excited to see you. Winning makes people believe and gives them confidence and puts what we've been talking about into perspective that we can do it."

- Bjork, who recently agreed in principle to a contract extension that will keep him at Ole Miss through 2019, spoke about many of the same talking points on the tour in a question and answer earlier this month. In case you missed it, here's the State of the Program from April 14.

- The Ole Miss baseball team completed a 3-2 week, highlighted by a Saturday doubleheader sweep and home series win over Alabama, to improve to 23-22 overall and 10-11 in SEC play entering the final 11 games of the regular season, including weekend series at Missouri and then home series against Mississippi State and Texas A&M.

- Barring any rainouts, Ole Miss needs to go 6-5 over the final 11 games to finish two games over .500 and head to the SEC Tournament with a cushion. Ole Miss is currently tied with Auburn for eighth place in the SEC standings, 3.0 games ahead of Tennessee/Mississippi State, both at 7-14, for the 12th and final place in the SEC Tournament.

"You keep everything in perspective, and obviously today was disappointing," said Austin Knight after their loss Sunday. "But getting two of three and playing as well as we did Saturday was a good sign for us."

- On the mound, Brady Bramlett and Scott Weathersby combined for the Rebels' first shutout of the season, while Christian Trent also turned in a brilliant start to lift Ole Miss to a doubleheader sweep on Saturday. On the other side, head coach Mike Bianco said they will weigh other options for the third spot in the weekend rotation going forward.

- Interesting stat: In the Rebels' 4-0 shutout win over Alabama on Saturday night, Bramlett and Weatherby combined for 11 strikeouts compared to zero walks.

- As a team, Ole Miss swung it better this week, breaking double digits for runs in two of the five games and hitting at a .368 clip for the week, raising the team batting average 15 points to .262 for the season. Connor Cloyd tallied a multi-hit game in each of the five games, hitting .565 (13-for-23) with six runs scored and six RBI.

- Interesting stat II: After not hitting a home run in his first 183 career at-bats, Austin Knight hit home runs in back-to-back at-bats, the last at-bat of Saturday night's game and the first at-bat of Sunday afternoon's game.

- The Ole Miss men's and women's tennis teams will learn their NCAA Tournament destinations when the women's field is announced on Tuesday at 4 p.m., followed by the men's field at 4:30 p.m. 

- The men, ranked No. 13 in the nation, are in good position to host the NCAA first and second rounds. The women, ranked No. 20 in the nation, are likely on the road for the NCAA first and second rounds, but perhaps because of their higher ranking, they will avoid one of the higher national seeds in the field.

- Senior Nik Scholtz, already the first Rebel to be named SEC Freshman and Player of the Year in a career, made some more history this past week. He was named to the All-SEC first team, becoming the first Rebel to be named to the All-SEC first team all four years.

- With three wins, two over Alcorn State and another over South Carolina, the Ole Miss softball team is one win shy of the most in school history, set during the 2005 season. The Rebels have four regular season games remaining, a midweek game at Mississippi Valley State and then a three-game series at Texas A&M, before starting play in the Southeastern Conference.

- Looking ahead to the 2015 football season, Freeze also spoke to reporters about the offseason strength and conditioning program for his team, headed by head football strength and conditioning coach Paul Jackson: "He'll have them ready. I have great trust in Paul and his staff, and he knows what he has to done for them to get into fall camp ready to roll."

- Also, in case you missed it, check out the Ole Miss football season tickets promo. Great work from Ole Miss Sports Productions.

- The Ole Miss football program is expected to add to its NFL presence with the 2015 NFL Draft next weekend, held Thursday through Saturday in Chicago and televised on ESPN and NFL Network. Cody Prewitt (No. 4 free safety, No. 124 overall player) and Senquez Golson (No. 16 cornerback, No. 129 overall players) are both projected fourth-round picks according to CBS Sports' latest NFL Draft prospect rankings

- Prewitt and Golson would become the second and third players drafted during the Hugh Freeze era, joining Donte Moncrief, who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round of last year's NFL Draft.

Bramlett Helps Rebels Complete DH Sweep, Clinch Series

Ole Miss swept a doubleheader Saturday, defeating Alabama 10-2 in Game One and 4-0 in Game Two. As a pitching staff, the Rebels allowed just one earned run and scattered a combined 12 hits with 17 strikeouts compared to just one walk, including 11 strikeouts to zero walks in the second game.

Junior left-hander Christian Trent worked a season-long 8.0 innings and then sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett went a career-long 7.1 innings, not only pitching Ole Miss past Alabama, but putting the Rebels in a good position with the bullpen going into the series finale Sunday, where they look to complete their first weekend sweep of the season.

Bramlett and senior right-hander Scott Weathersby combined for the shutout in Game Two, the Rebels' first shutout of the season. Bramlett held Alabama to just four hits and also struck out nine batters compared to zero walks. He was one strikeout shy of becoming the first Ole Miss player since Drew Pomeranz to record three double-digit strikeout games in a season.

"I felt great tonight," Bramlett said. "My fastball was working. I was throwing a new breaking that we had been working hard on in the bullpen this week. Everything felt great. After my last couple of outings, I wanted to pound the zone and make sure everything felt good."

Bramlett had thrown a curveball and slider, but dropped the curveball in favor of just the slider this past fall. He worked on the curveball in the short work and bullpen this past week and brought it back Saturday, and it proved to be a resounding success. 

"I thought the curve ball, not that it was the difference-maker, but it helped him today where he didn't have to lead everybody off with a fast ball, and he was able to dump some curve balls in there and kind of keep them off balance," Bianco said. "Alabama is a really good fastball-hitting team. He was tremendous."

For Bramlett, it was his sixth quality start of the season, but his first since March 21 against Florida. He boasts the best ERA (2.18) and opponents' batting average (.216) among the weekend starters and the third-best among all the regular pitchers, behind only Wyatt Short and Scott Weathersby. 

His ERA is also third-best among qualified pitchers in the Southeastern Conference, while his 68 strikeouts rank sixth and his opponents' batting average ranks ninth. Just as impressive, he has allowed just 50 hits and issued just 17 walks in 62.0 innings, good for a 1.08 WHIP on the season.

"Even though we have had our struggles, it would be hard to imagine the season without him," Bianco said. "He's really kind of held it together and been maybe the surprise of all the arms. Not that we didn't we had it in him, but to go from Tuesday starter, to the dominance he has shown on Saturday for us has been a shot in the arm for us."

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (March 24-30, 2015)

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review

March 24-30, 2015

Women's Basketball

-The Ole Miss women's basketball team saw its record setting season some to a close with a loss to Middle Tennessee in the third round of the WNIT. The Rebels closed the season with a 19-14 mark, the best record since 2006-07 and reached the postseason for the first time since 2009-10. 

-Ole Miss' Tia Faleru concluded her decorated career with 1440 career points and 851 career rebounds. She ranks No 13 on Ole Miss' all-time scorers list. She also closed her career with 34 career double-doubles which ranks fifth all-time. 

Softball

- Ole Miss improved to 21-13 on the year and 5-7 in the Southeastern Conference this past week, going undefeated in four games to run its current active win streak to six consecutive games. 

- The Rebels posted a series sweep of the Arkansas Razorbacks, moving to five-straight wins in SEC play after the series win over No. 24 Mississippi State last weekend. 

- The series sweep at Arkansas was the first of a three-game series in SEC play for the Rebels since the 2012 season when Ole Miss closed the year with three-game sweep of South Carolina at home. 

- The sweep of the Razorbacks also marked the first three-game series sweep on the road in SEC play for the Rebels since the 2005 season when Ole Miss closed the season with a three-game sweep of Arkansas on the road. 

- Senior 3B Allison Brown was named SEC Player of the Week after leading the Rebels to a three-game series sweep at Arkansas. Brown paced the Rebels at the plate, batting at a .778 clip against the Razorbacks and did not strike out through four games on the week while posting an .800 on base percentage on the week. She also hit a three-run home run in a game-one win and drove in the game-tying run to set up an extra-inning win in game two against the Razorbacks.

- Junior RHP Madi Osias picked up all three wins on the weekend - two of them in relief - to improve her season record to 6-7 in the circle. 

- Freshman 1B Alex Schneider moved into the team lead in home runs as she notched her seventh of the season.

- Ole Miss has now hit 31 home runs on the year, passing last year's home run total in only 34 games played. Ole Miss has also stolen more bases this year (67) than the squad attempted all season in 2014.

Baseball

- After claiming a series against No. 1 Florida, Ole Miss did not continue the momentum, going 1-4 last week. 

- Along with their services behind the plate, catchers Austin Knight and Henri Lartigue led the Ole Miss bats throughout the week as the duo combined to hit .444. Knight had a weekly batting average of .455 with the help of tying his career high in hits versus Arkansas in the series finale. The senior went 3-for-4 at the plate with one double and a RBI. Lartigue posted an average of .429 throughout the week

- Speaking of personal bests, Cameron Dishon had a career night at the plate in the Rebels' win over Arkansas. Dishon led Ole Miss with a career-high three hits, including a solo home run for his second of the season. The Ole Miss right fielder crossed the plate twice and recorded a pair of RBI, knocking in the game's first run as well as his own on his blast to left field. 

- Brady Bramlett allowed two runs on seven hits and a pair of walks, while also striking out five Razorbacks, to earn the victory on the mound. Sophomore Colby Bortles also contributed to the win, hitting his third homer of 2015 in what ended up being the game-winning run. 

- In the series finale, junior college transfer Connor Cloyd recorded the first RBI base hit of his Ole Miss career. 

- One night after earning the save and sealing a Rebels' victory, sophomore Wyatt Short pitched 2.2 innings and allowed one run on two hits in relief. The solo home run surrendered by Short ended an impressive stretch for the southpaw as it was the first time he gave up a run over 13.1 innings in seven appearances. 

- Throughout the series against Arkansas, freshman Kyle Watson was the Rebels' first baserunner in all three games by drawing a walk in the second inning of each contest.

Women's Golf

-Ole Miss claimed its first tournament title since wining the Johnie Imes Invitational in 2008 by winning the 2015 Samford Invitational with a three-roud score of 907. Ole Miss was led by senior Stani Schiavone who claimed her first career tournament title with a 7-under par 65 in the final round. Alison Hovatter took runner-up honors.

-Schiavone become the second Ole Miss player to take medalist honors a the Samford Invitational joining teammate Abby Newton who won the Memphis FedEx Intercollegiate in the fall. Schiavone's final round 65 was a new 18-hole career low and was the lowest round for a Rebel this season. 

-For her efforts Schiavone was named SEC Women's Golfer of the Week. It as her first career accolade and the first SEC honor for Ole Miss since Abby Newton was named SEC Freshman of the Week in 2013. 

Track & Field

- Ole Miss won five event victories at the Yellow Jacket Invitational in Atlanta this past weekend, the second meet of the 2015 outdoor season.

- The Rebel men were led by victories from Jalen Miller in the 100 meters, Robert Semien in the 110-meter hurdles and Adam Aguirre in the high jump. The women added titles from Brooke Feldmeier in the 1500 meters and the 4x100-meter relay team.

- Despite resting several normal contributors, the Rebels added a few more veteran players to the mix than they had in the season opener in Tuscaloosa. The results were favorable, as Ole Miss posted 10 more top-three event finishes in addition to the five victories.

- Rebel men who rank among the NCAA's top 30 are Miller in the 100m (26th, 10.50), Semien in the 110m hurdles (20th, 14.21), Aguirre in the high jump (T-28th, 6-10.75), Branden Greene in the high jump (T-28th, 6-10.75) and Nathan Loe in the hammer throw (25th, 202-3).

- Rebel women who rank among the NCAA's top 30 are Jhorden Hunter in the 100m (19th, 11.69), Shannon Ray in the 100m (30th, 11.74), the 4x100m relay (7th, 44.73), Kierra White in the long jump (16th, 19-10.25) and Fabia McDonald in the long jump (20th, 19-8.25).

Men's Tennis

- The Rebels went 1-2 last week, losing a close match at Mississippi State and then rallying to beat No. 24 LSU 4-3 before dropping the final match of the road trip to No. 9 Texas A&M.  The Rebels enter the final two weeks of SEC regular season play at 13-6 overall and 5-3 in the SEC.

- Senior Nik Scholtz saved six match points against LSU to clinch the victory and hand the Tigers their first home loss of the season.  He improved to 11-3 at No. 1 singles and is now one win away from his 80th career victory.

- Junior Stefan Lindmark continued his impressive play.  He won in straight sets at LSU to remain undefeated in the SEC at 6-0 and is 10-3 at No. 2 singles.  He needs just two more wins to get to 20 this year.

Women's Tennis

- Playing without their No. 2 player, the Rebels lost a pair of matches at home to LSU and No. 15 Texas A&M by a 4-2 score to fall to 13-7 overall and 3-7 in the SEC.

- Senior Julia Jones won both her matches to improve to 25-7 overall this year, 15-4 at No. 1 singles.  She earned her 15th nationally ranked win on Sunday and also her 98th career win. She needs just two more to join the 100-club.

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (March 17-23, 2015)

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review

March 17-23, 2015

Men's Basketball

- Ole Miss scored 62 second-half points to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit, rallying past 11th-seeded BYU 94-90 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday.

- The Rebels fell to Xavier 76-57 Thursday in the NCAA Tournament Second Round to end their season with a record of 21-13.

- Ole Miss is one of only three schools in the SEC (Florida and Kentucky) to advance to the NCAA Tournament two of the last three years.

Women's Basketball

- Ole Miss moved to 2-0 in WNIT action with a 63-48 win over Georgia Tech in second round WNIT action. Ole Miss is now 22-22 all-time in postseason action and is a perfect 3-0 in WNIT games played at Tad Smith Coliseum.

- The win sets up a rematch with Middle Tennessee, the team that handed Ole Miss its first loss of the season which happens to be coached by Rick Insell, father of Ole Miss head coach Matt Insell.

- Tia Faleru posted her 14th double-double of the season and her 34th career double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds against Georgia Tech. She also reached the 20-point mark for the 18th time in her career and for the first time since scoring 23 in a road win at Auburn on Feb. 19.

- With its two WNIT games, Ole Miss is just one win away from the first 20-win season since 2006-07. Ole Miss, who advances to the third round of the WNIT for the just the second time, will take on the winner of NC State vs. Temple if they should defeat the Blue Raiders.

- Ole MissĀ¹ 20 assists vs. UT Martin in opening round action are the most for the Rebels in the WNIT and the 80 points are the third most for Ole Miss in WNIT action. Additionally, the 14 steals against Georgia Tech are the most in WNIT action.

Baseball

- The Rebels went 3-1 this week, including taking 2-of-3 from No. 1 Florida. Ole Miss started the week by rallying in the bottom of the ninth to defeat Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 7-6. Behind solid pitching and home runs in the first inning of each game, the Rebs continued their winning ways with victories in the first two games against Florida to claim the series. 

- Through his first two career SEC starts, Brady Bramlett has allowed just two earned runs in 13.0 innings of work. 

- With the series win, Ole Miss has won 12 of its last 18 home series against top-10 teams, dating back to 2003, including a 4-0 record against No. 1 ranked teams. The stretch also included series wins over No. 1 Georgia in 2009, No. 1 South Carolina in 2011 and No. 1 Florida in 2012. 

- Ole Miss was 3-0 this week with the senior Orvis in the lineup, including a pair of victories over No. 1 Florida. In the first two weekends of SEC play, Orvis is hitting .421 with three doubles, two home runs and nine RBI for an .895 slugging percentage, all team highs. 

- Freshman Will Golsan earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors, first for Golsan in his young Ole Miss career as well as the Rebels' first weekly accolade of the 2015 season

- Golsan led Ole Miss with a .389 average at the plate this week. He helped spark a ninth-inning rally before scoring the game-winning run against UAPB. He also recorded three multi-hit games throughout the week and scored a team-high four runs.

Softball

- The Rebels picked up the first SEC win of the season and a series win over nationally-ranked Mississippi State this past weekend.

- The series win over Mississippi State marked the first since the 2010 season.

- It also provided Ole Miss its first series win against a nationally-ranked opponent since the 2009 season (No. 12 Tennessee).

- Ole Miss picked up an 8-7 win in nine innings and a 14-8 win to sweep a doubleheader and claim the series.

Men's Tennis

- No. 13 Ole Miss won both its SEC matches this past weekend, downing Auburn 4-1 and No. 15 Florida 4-0 to improve to 12-4 overall and 4-1 in the SEC.

 - It marked the second win over Florida this season.

 - Senior Nik Scholtz went 4-0 in singles and doubles including clinching the win against Florida. He is now 10-3 at No. 1 singles.

 - Freshman Gustav Hansson went 3-0 in singles and doubles, including clinching the doubles point against Auburn in a tiebreaker.

 - Junior Stefan Lindmark also went 3-0 in singles and doubles, clinching both the doubles point and the match against Auburn. He improved to 9-3 at No. 2 singles.

Track & Field

- Led by freshman sprinter Shannon Ray, the Ole Miss women posted a pair of event victories and saw several personal bests during the outdoor season opener at the Alabama Relays this past weekend. Ray won the 100-meter title in her college outdoor debut Friday, clocking a personal best of 11.74, which ranks her top 10 in school history. Senior Jhorden Hunter was runner-up in 11.79.

- The Ole Miss women captured the 4x100-meter relay crown Saturday with a time of 44.73 that ranks sixth-best in school history and sixth-best in the nation so far this outdoor season. The Rebels' squad consisted of Nicole Henderson, Ray, Khadijah Suleman and Hunter.

- A number of other freshmen had strong outdoor debuts on the women's side. Brittany Kelly tied for third in the high jump with a clearance of 5-7 that ties her for 10th in school history. Lanae Newsome got sixth in the triple jump and ranks 10th in school history with a mark of 39-5.75. Emily Bean ran 17:25.15 to enter the school record books at No. 9 in the 5,000 meters.

- Ole Miss' small contingent of men had some highlights despite resting most of the normal stars. Juniors Dameon Morgan and Holland Sherrer, who normally run the 800 meters, got fourth and fifth in the 400 in 48.59 and 48.80, respectively. In the high jump, junior Adam Aguirre cleared 6-8.75 to place fifth. 

- On Thursday night, Nathan Loe and Kevin Conway put up solid marks in the hammer throw. Loe went 202-3 to place fourth overall (15th-best in NCAA this year), while Conway posted a personal-best mark of 195-11 that moved him up to third-best in the school record books.

Women's Tennis

- No. 17 Ole Miss dropped both its matches this past weekend, falling to No. 2 Florida and South Carolina on the road.  The Rebels are now 11-6 overall and 3-5 in the SEC.

- Senior Julia Jones beat the No. 5 ranked player in the nation on Friday for her 96th career win. She needs just four more to become the fifth player in program history to join the 100-club.

- Freshman Natalie Suk also picked up a big win Friday, defeating the No. 32 ranked player.

Men's Golf

- Junior Forrest Gamble notched six birdies in his final round en route to a 69 at the Schenkel Invitational Saturday.

- Gamble posted 1-over 73 in the second round earlier in the day that included five birdies and tied in a tie for 40th.

- Ole Miss finished 14th in the team standings with a score of 7-over par 871.

Trent, Bramlett Pitch Rebels Past No. 1 Florida

Junior left-hander Christian Trent and sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett picked up quality starts on the mound, and the offensive provided some timely hits, which proved to be a winning formula as Ole Miss claimed the weekend series over No. 1 Florida, the Rebels' fourth straight home series win over a top-ranked team.

Ole Miss has gone through a gauntlet, playing eight of its last nine games against top-10 team, posting a 5-4 record, including a 4-4 record against the top-10 teams in No. 8 Louisville, No. 1 LSU, and No. 1 Florida. 

"We're getting better," Bianco said. "We've shown that the last couple weeks. It's about being consistent and being able to perform. Certainly, the first two games we pitched well, and we're starting to get some timely hits. On Friday night, we didn't get a ton, but we got two that counted. That's really what we lacked."

Offensively, the Rebels had six hits in the 4-1 win in the series opener on Friday and nine hits in the 5-2 in in the series clincher in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, but as Bianco said, they were timely hits.

All the run support Trent and Bramlett needed came in the first innings, a two-run home run by sophomore center fielder J.B. Woodman in the opener and a three-run blast by senior first baseman Sikes Orvis in the clincher.

Trent retired the first eight batters he faced and went 4.1 innings before allowing his first hit. He said he struggled to locate his slider for a strike and leaned on his fast ball and change-up, and that was enough, as he allowed just one run on three hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work.

"He struggled to get the slider into the strike zone today, but that was kind of him last year," Bianco said. "Sometimes, he had the slider. Sometimes, he had the change-up."

Bramlett went six innings strong, giving up two runs -- one earned -- on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Through his first two career SEC starts, both against a top-ranked team, Bramlett has allowed just two earned runs in 13.0 innings of work. 

He allowed the leadoff man to reach in each of the first four innings, but he worked around them in the first three innings and limited the fourth-inning damage to two runs, stranding runners at first and second with an inning-ending groundout to short.

"They made it tough on him," Bianco said. "They're a good offense. And even though he was putting up some zeros, his pitch count was running up. He was working for them. 

"He was pitching with men on base and the innings are forever. It's raining, and it's damp and chilly, and at one point, I wasn't sure if he'd get past 75 pitches, but then he found another gear there and was able to give us a couple more innings."

Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- March 8

The men's basketball team returns to the site of its 2013 SEC Tournament title, looking to punch its ticket to the NCAA Tournament. The women's basketball team awaits its postseason fate, the baseball team hits the road for its longest road trip of the season, during which they will play two top-15 teams, and the football team opened spring practice. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:

- The Ole Miss men's basketball team split its final week of the regular season, finishing with a 20-11 overall and 11-7 SEC record, tied for third place in the league standings. However, by virtue of a tiebreaker, the Rebels will be the No. 6 seed in the Nashville, where they await the winner of No. 11 seed South Carolina and No. 14 Missouri in the nightcap of Thursday's second-round games.

- With the win over Alabama on Tuesday night, Ole Miss picked up its 20th win of the season, the seventh 20-win season in nine seasons under head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels recorded just seven 20-win season in the 96 seasons before Kennedy's arrival.

- Against Vanderbilt, Ole Miss shot over 40 percent and committed just six turnover, but they were unable to overcome a hot shooting night from the Commodores. As a team, Vanderbilt shot 54.5 percent from the field and went 13-for-23 from 3-point range, tying its season high for 3-point field goals made.

"They put on a clinic," Kennedy said. "They've been shooting the ball well. They're as good a shooting team as we've faced maybe in the nine years here. Basketball is a game of rhythm. You have to disrupt theirs and establish yours. We didn't tonight. We were a step slow. We've been a step slow all year, and I've had to create defenses. We were moving slow, and they were making shots. We didn't have any answers." 

- Looking ahead, Ole Miss returns to Nashville, the site of its 2013 SEC Tournament title, and faces the same path this week, but with an additional second-round game against the winner of the South Carolina and Missouri matchup. Georgia awaits in a possible quarterfinal matchup, a team Ole Miss played in last year's quarterfinals.

- As far as the NCAA Tournament, despite the loss to Vanderbilt, Ole Miss remains a team projected in the field, as a No. 10 seed in ESPN's Joe Lunardi's bracket, and as one of the last four teams in the field in CBS Sports' Jerry Palm's and USA Today's Shelby Mast's brackets. Here's more from Palm, who had the Rebels among his teams "on the fence" in his latest Bubble Watch.

- Earlier in the week, after the win over Alabama, ESPN's Eamonn Brennan considered the Rebels a lock in his latest Bubble Watch, but after the loss to Vanderbilt, he rescinded that. Here's more from Brennan.

"I don't know what has transpired around the country, but our name has not been mentioned one time in any bubble conversation," Kennedy said. "It probably will now. We've probably put ourselves in a precarious situation where we need to look at what other people do."

- One of my favorite sports data and analytics sites, Team Rankings, projects Ole Miss as a No. 12 seed and gives the Rebels a 55 percent chance of making the NCAA Tournament. With one win in Nashville, Team Rankings gives them a 51.3 percent chance, and with two wins, it jumps up to 77.0 percent.

- Bid thieves shrink the NCAA Tournament bubble. And as Brennan noted in his latest Bubble Watch, they are most likely to come from high-major leagues this season. Bubble teams breathed a collective sigh of relief when Northern Iowa won the Missouri Valley Conference on Sunday, making it a two-bid league instead of a three-bid league. On a similar note, bubble teams would also probably like to see Gonzaga win the West Coast Conference automatic bid.

- After a strong end to the regular season, the Ole Miss women's basketball team fell short in a 72-61 loss to Arkansas in the second round of the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament. The Rebels, now 17-13 and likely Postseason WNIT bound, will learn their postseason fate on Monday, March 16. It would be their first postseason appearance since 2009-10.

- Here's a couple of great stories related to the Ole Miss pep band, which stepped in as a replacement to act as Kentucky's band, which was unable to make the trip to Little Rock for the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament due to inclement weather. For our story, click here. For the stories from The Clarion-Ledger and The Lexington Herald-Leader, click here and here.

- The Ole Miss baseball team claimed its third weekend series of the season, sweeping Saturday's doubleheader before dropping Sunday's series finale. The Rebels, now 8-6, face a pair of tough road series this week, a two-game midweek series at No. 11 Louisville, and a three-game weekend series at No. 2 LSU.

- The star of Saturday's doubleheader sweep was sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett, who struck out a career-high 12 batters, joining some elite company in the process. His 12 strikeouts were four shy of tying the school record, the most in a game by an Ole Miss pitcher since Drew Pomeranz struck out 15 in a win over Georgia on April 9, 2010. It was also Bramlett's second digit strikeout game of the season, becoming the first Rebel to record multiple double-digit strikeouts games since Pomeranz, also in 2010.

"He's always fired up and ready to go," said junior left-hander Christian Trent of Bramlett. "I thought he was going to get the record two weeks ago. I thought he was going to get the record today. He was on pace for 27, but 12 is still impressive. I'm sure he will take 12."

- The No. 17-ranked Ole Miss women's tennis team swept the weekend, not dropping one singles or doubles match in 7-0 wins over Arkansas and Missouri. With the weekend sweep, the Rebels improved to 10-3 overall and 2-2 in the SEC. Senior Julia Jones, ranked No. 14 in the nation, won both of her singles matches, improving to 21-5 overall and 11-2 at No. 1 singles this season and picking up her 93rd and 94th career wins.

- The No. 9-ranked Ole Miss men's team dropped a 4-2 decision at Alabama, their first outdoor match in more than a month. Their other weekend match, a road contest at rival Mississippi State, was postponed and will be rescheduled for a later day. Next up is a marquee nonconference home match against No. 5 Baylor on Tuesday.

- The Ole Miss football team began spring practice Tuesday. Here Some storylines to follow, as the Rebels get into the heart of spring practice after Spring Break: The three-way quarterback battle, some position changes on defense and the return of Laquon Treadwell and Denzel Nkemdiche from injury. Check out some notes and quotes already on the blog and stay tuned to more coverage.

- NFL hopefuls Cody Prewitt, a projected second-round pick by CBSSports.com, and Senquez Golson, a projected fourth-round pick, continue to impress in pre-draft workouts, most recently at Ole Miss' Pro Day on Thursday. Three other hopefuls, Deterrian Shackelford, Carlos Thompson and Deterrian Shackelford also made some impressions. For more, check out my recap of Pro Day.

- Ole Miss played a couple of tribute videos before Saturday's home men's basketball game against Vanderbilt. Here's one to Tad Smith Coliseum, and here's another to graduating seniors Jarvis Summers and LaDarius White, two Mississippi natives and the first members of their respective immediate families to graduate from college.

Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Feb. 22

Despite winter weather that affected many teams, it was a busy week for Ole Miss athletics. The men's basketball completed a 2-0 week and has positioned itself well entering the last two weeks of the regular season. The baseball, women's basketball and softball teams also picked up big wins for the week, while a pair of former football players compete at the NFL Scouting Combine. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:

- The Ole Miss men's basketball completed the Thursday-Saturday sweep, going on the road and defeating Mississippi State 71-65 on Thursday night and returning home and holding on for a 59-57 win over Tennessee on Saturday night. With the sweep, the Rebels have won eight of their last nine and sit in a tie with Texas A&M for third place in the SEC standings.

- Stefan Moody earned SEC Player of the Week honors earlier this season, and he's a near-look to earn the honor this week after averaging 25.5 points per game this past week, including a career-high 29 against Mississippi State. He was a volume and high-efficient scorer, wrapped in one, going 15-for-30 from the field, including 14-for-23 from 3-point range. His eight 3-pointers against Mississippi State were tied for the second-most in school history, two shy of tying Marshall Henderson's school record.

"I think he's locked in now," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "I think he's embraced this leadership role. I think he likes the media talking about him. I think he likes the attention, and he knows if he makes more, he'll get more attention. So we're all for him making some more."

- Joining Moody in double figures against Tennessee was Jarvis Summers, who added 13 points, just his second game in double figures in his last seven games. However, he flashed moments of the all-league player he was last season, such as drawing a charge on the defensive end and then stepping confidently into a big 3-pointer on the offensive end.

"He definitely played with a little more pop," said Moody of Summers. "That's the word Coach (Kennedy) uses. Jarvis played very well."

"We gave him a round of applause that he's now off the milk carton," said Kennedy of Summers. "He's back." 

- A couple of impressive stats, noting the Rebels' success on the road: Their current four-game SEC road winning streak is the longest in school history. For the season, they are 10-3 away Tad Smith Coliseum, including a 7-3 record in true road games, a mark that includes road wins at Arkansas (No. 20 in the RPI) and Oregon (No. 56) and a neutral-site win over Cincinnati (No. 45).

- With a 2-0 week, Ole Miss is up to No. 32 in the latest NCAA RPI and up a line to a No. 8 seed in the latest bracketology from USA Today and CBS Sports. The Rebels have a chance to enhance their NCAA Tournament resume this week with a home game against Georgia (No. 38 in the RPI) on Wednesday night, followed by a road game at LSU (No. 54) on Saturday.

- For the second straight weekend, the No. 18 ranked Ole Miss baseball team took two of three, splitting a doubleheader on the last day of the weekend series after winning the series opener. Errol Robinson sealed the series win with a diving snag at shortstop, throwing to second to complete the line-out double play for the final out of a 3-2 win over Wright State.

- Despite taking a no-decision inn the Rebels' 3-1 loss in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader, Brady Bramlett was the star of the weekend. After missing the end of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 season due to injury, he leads the SEC in strikeouts with 19 through 12.0 innings, including a career-high 11 on Sunday. For more on Bramlett's brilliant start to the 2015 season, click here.

- Like Bramlett, Sam Smith took a no-decision, but head coach Mike Bianco was encouraged by what he saw from the senior right-hander, the most experienced starting pitcher in the SEC. Smith allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work.

"Sam felt good," Bianco said. "Really, I thought he pitched better. I know he didn't really get the results, but I thought the stuff was more what we talked about, pitching off the fastball more, pitching off the slider more. I thought he pitched better today. Obviously, the command was much better." 

- Ole Miss will be tested in the week ahead, playing five games in seven days, including their first road trip of the season, a three-game weekend series at UCF. Arkansas State, the Rebels' first midweek opponent on Tuesday, took two of three from No. 7 Louisville in a neutral-site series played in Emerson, Georgia, while UCF went 3-0 at the South Alabama Tournament, picking up wins over No. 15 Arkansas, No. 11 Maryland and host South Alabama.

- The Ole Miss women's basketball got a much-needed confidence boost, holding on for a 51-46 road win at Auburn, snapping a seven-game losing streak and clinching a .500 or better record for the season. It was the Rebels' second SEC road win of the season, the first time they have two won two league games on the road since 2009-10.

- Ole Miss, now 15-11 and 5-8 in SEC play, has three regular-season games remaining, all against likely NCAA Tournament teams. With the win over Auburn, the Rebels have clinched eligibility for an at-large berth in the Postseason NIT. As far as the NCAA Tournament, they have three opportunities to enhance their resume, starting Monday night with a home game against No. 10 Kentucky, a team they played to the wire on the road in Lexington earlier this season.

- The matchup with No. 10 Kentucky is the SEC Network Monday night game, as well as the seventh annual "Tickled Pink at the Tad Pad" event. Reb Talk will also be at the Tad Pad. it's a big night all the way around.

- The Ole Miss softball team was also affected by winter weather this week, as the Red and Blue Classic scheduled for this past weekend was cancelled due to inclement wether. Instead, Ole Miss played Memphis and Delaware at Petal High School, defeating both teams and improving to 8-4 on the season. 

- After playing their first 12 games on the road, first-year head coach Mike Smith and the Rebels play their home games on the season on Wednesday, hosting a doubleheader against Southern Miss beginning at 2 p.m.

- The No. 15 ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team and No. 24 Ole Miss women's tennis team were both off this week, with the women's match against Lipscomb scheduled for Friday also postponed due to winter weather. Both teams open Southeastern Conference play this weekend.

- Former Ole Miss football players Senquez Golson (5-foot-9, 176 pounds) and Cody Prewitt (6-foot-2, 208 pounds) have been weighed and measured at the NFL Scouting Combine, and they are both scheduled to participate in on-field workouts on Monday. Stay tuned to NFL Network for coverage of the event, and we'll have more on blog Monday.

Bramlett Impresses in First Two Starts Back

After missing the end of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 season due to recovery from a torn labrum, sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett has been brilliant in his first two outings back in 2015, fanning 19 batters through 12.0 innings, including a career-high 11 against Wright State on Sunday.

"I knew coming back, I had a lot to prove and self-imposed pressure, but I also knew that this would be a special year for not only myself, but also the team," Bramlett said. "I'm always working to keep my spot and improve myself."

In his return to the mound, Bramlett helped the Rebels clinch the season-opening series against William & Mary this past weekend, as worked a career-long 6.0 innings, giving up two runs on four hits with no walks and eight strikeouts. 

Bramlett followed that outing with perhaps the best pitching performance of his short Ole Miss career. He left with a 1-0 lead after six complete and took a no-decision, as he worked six shutout innings and set a career high with 11 strikeouts. He faced three over the minimum, giving up just one hit with a walk and two hit batsmen.

He also became the first Rebel to record double-digit strikeouts since Bobby Wahl struck out 10 in a win over Houston in 2012, and his 11 strikeouts were the most by a Rebel since Matt Tracy struck out 11 in a win over Jackson State in 2011.

"He misses a lot of bats," head coach Mike Bianco said. "He has a heavy, sneaky-fast fastball. He really locates it well. It's another really good day for him. He gave us everything he could for six innings."

That heavy, sneaky-fast fastball, Bramlett said, was his key to success. A fastball pitcher, Bramlett said the game plan going into every game is working off that pitch, and Sunday was no different.

"It's heavy when you hit, it's heavy when you catch it," Bianco said. "It doesn't seem like everybody else's ball. It's like a shot put coming in there. When people do hit it, they don't seem to make good contact with it. It's similar to Lance Lynn's ball. When look at the radar gun, it's not in the mid-90's, but yet, it looks like it to other hitters."

Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Feb. 15

The men's basketball team marches on toward March, the baseball team opened the 2015 season with a series win over William & Mary and the softball team prepares for its home opener under first-year head coach Mike Smith. The winter sports are in full swing, while the spring sports have begun in earnest, so there are no shortage of thoughts and opinions on the week that was. Let's get into it:

- Valentine's Day was a busy day on the Ole Miss campus, with a baseball doubleheader, followed by a men's basketball nightcap, and Rebel Nation turned out in full force. Swayze Field was business as usual and will get better as the weather warms up, while the atmosphere at the Tad Pad was as electric as I can remember. It was fun spending the day with all y'all.

- The Ole Miss men's basketball team saw its its six-game winning streak, as the Rebels were on the right side of a one-point game in a 62-61 win at Florida on Thursday and on the wrong side of a one-point game in a 71-70 loss to Arkansas on Saturday.

- Impressive Stat #1: It was the second winning streak of six games or better against SEC foes under head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels recorded just three such winning streaks in the 71 years before Kennedy's arrival. 

- The Rebels have been a regular on SportsCenter top 10 plays this season, and Stefan Moody became the latest to make the highlight, landing the No. 4 spot on Thursday night with his game-winning 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left on the clock.

- Where Ole Miss made the play in a one-point win over Florida, the Rebels did not make the play in a one-point loss to Arkansas. Ole Miss had the ball up 70-69 with less than a minute to play. The Rebels had an offensive possession to extend the lead, a defensive possession to secure the lead and a final offensive possession to regain the lead, but they could not make the play in any instance, while the Razorbacks made the play in each instance. It happens.

"We made the shot Thursday night (against Florida) in a highly-contested game," Kennedy said. "We missed the shot tonight, and Arkansas made the play. I told the team that I didn't think we lost the game; I thought Arkansas won it."

- The Rebels continue to get production from their ever-improving big men, highlighted by M.J. Rhett's 16-point, nine-rebound game against Arkansas, perhaps his best game in an Ole Miss uniform, as they won the rebounding battle, 45-31, a margin that included 21 offensive rebounds compared to nine for the Razorbacks.

- Since big games in wins over Florida and Mississippi State, Jarvis Summers has seen a dip in production, averaging 6.8 points and shooting 25 percent from the floor, including 2-for-12 from 3-point range, over the last five games. For the Rebels to reach their full potential and perhaps make a run in March, they need more of the Summers from last season.

"He has been hesitant," Kennedy said. "We've tried to do some things to get him to his strength, and we'll continue to do that." 

- Despite the one-point loss to Arkansas, Ole Miss remains a team projected to be solidly in the field as a No. 9 or No. 10 seed, depending on the projection, but a potential RPI landmine looms large this week. Ole Miss play Mississippi State, a team ranked No. 187 in the latest RPI rankings released by the NCAA, on the road in Starkville, where the Rebels have not won since 2009.

- The No. 18 ranked Ole Miss baseball opened the 2015 season, taking two of three in a weekend series against William & Mary.  The Rebels showed a strong bounce-back, routing William & Mary 16-2 in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader after suffering an 8-1 loss in the first game of the doubleheader.

"The first game was disappointing, but it was encouraging to bounce back in game two," head coach Mike Bianco said. "We needed that effort from Bramlett to shut them down and let us swing. That's the knock against us. There are a lot of young guys playing, even though they played some last year. We have to take the punch and do something bad but not let it blow up."

- Impressive Stat #2: Ole Miss improves to 11-0-1 in weekend series to open the season under Bianco.

- J.B. Woodman, who moved to centerfield and the leadoff spot, is off to a fast start in his new role. He went 5-for-9 with three doubles, two runs scored and three RBI. Just as notable, he walked three times and did not strike out on the weekend.

"He's not your prototypical leadoff guy," Bianco said. "It's not that he can't lead-off and it's not that he doesn't have the skill-set to do that, but he also has a skill-set to hit a double and a home run. Some guys like Braxton Lee and Jordan Henry don't have that skill-set. You have to let (Woodman) swing, but he can also walk, steal bases and do a lot of different things."

- It will be interesting to watch how the weekend rotation evolves this season. Sam Smith took the loss in game two of the weekend series, while Brady Bramlett earned the win in the series-clincher and Sean Johnson, another candidate for a spot in the weekend rotation, worked out a scoreless inning out of the bullpen. There are three more weekends remaining, before the Rebels open SEC play on the road at No. 2 LSU.

"He couldn't get the ball into the strike zone," said Bianco of Smith's outing. "He had to stop throwing the two-seam fast ball and went to the four-seam fast ball. He basically had no other secondary pitch. It got away from him. Give credit to them. It was a just tough day, really uncharacteristic of him. Usually we're asking him to get the ball out of the strike zone and live on the edges. Today, he couldn't get close enough in there."

- ICYMI #1: Here's a link roundup of stories leading up to the start of baseball, including the 2015 walk out music and pre-SEC Ole Miss opponent capsules from Chase Parham of RebelGrove/Rivals.com.

- ICYMI #2: Newsreel: Ole Miss Baseball 2015, shot with old-school film.

- Time is running out for the Ole Miss women's basketball team, as the Rebels fell short at home against No. 6 Tennessee on Thursday and on the road at Missouri on Sunday, a game they likely needed to move closer toward NCAA Tournament consideration. 

- Ole Miss, now 14-11 overall and 4-8 in SEC play, has four regular-season games remaining and then at least one game the SEC Tournament. With one more win, the Rebels can clinch an overall record of .500 or better and eligibility of an at-large berth in the Postseason WNIT. 

- As far as the NCAA Tournament, opportunities remain on the schedule, as Ole Miss plays three teams ranked in the top 65 of the RPI, including two in the top 30, and then there's the SEC Tournament.

- The Ole Miss softball team wrapped up its 10-game road swing to open the 2015 season, going 3-1 at the Battle at the Beach hosted by Coastal Carolina. First-year head coach Mike Smith and the Rebels return home to host the Red and Blue Classic at the Ole Miss Softball Complex, where they will play four games in three days, starting with Tennessee-Martin on Friday night (6 p.m. CT).

- The No. 19 ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team went 1-2 on the weekend at the ITA National Team Indoor in Chicago, highlighted by a thrilling 4-3 win over No. 10 UCLA in consolation play on Saturday. It was the Rebels' second top-15 win of the season, and they rallied from the brink of defeat, despite losing the doubles point and Nik Scholtz, the reigning SEC Player of the Year, dropping his first singles match of the season.

- The No. 24 ranked Ole Miss women's tennis completed a sweep of Tulane and William & Mary over the weekend, improving to 8-1 on the season and equaling its best start since 1997, when the Rebels also started 8-1. Julia Jones, ranked No. 7 in the nation, dropped her first dual match, only her fourth loss overall this season. 

What They're Saying: Baseball Opening Day

After advancing to the College World Series in 2014, the Ole Miss baseball team is set to open the 2015 season with a three-game series at home against William & Mary, starting Friday at 4 p.m. CT.

Here's a look at the opening day lineup via @CoachMikeBianco

Ole Miss enters the 2015 season ranked in three of the six major national polls, coming in at No. 18 in D1Baseball.com and USA Today Coaches' polls and No. 19 in the NCBWA poll.

More From OleMissSports.com and Ole Miss Blog:

Previewing the Batting Lineup and Pitching Staff

Ole Miss Baseball 2015 Walk Out Music

Blackman Embraces Preseason Expectations

Knight Ready to write his Own Story

More Big-Picture Stories:

Closer look at opening day lineup, writes Chase Parham of RebelGrove/Rivals.com

How will Ole Miss baseball look in 2015?, writes Hugh Kellenberger of the Clarion-Ledger

Deep, talented SEC looks for another run at CWS, writes David Brandt of the Associated Press

Ole Miss baseball has talent to keep good times rolling, writes Hugh Kellenberger of the Clarion-Ledger

Rebels not sitting on last year's success, writes Parrish Alford of the Daily Journal

More Player Feature Stories:

Bramlett recovered and ready to start, writes Chase Parham of RebelGrove/Rivals.com

Knight Time, writes Jeff Roberson from the Ole Miss Spirit/Scout.com

Freshman Blackman expected to make impact, writes Chase Parham of RebelGrove/Rivals.com

More from D1Baseball.com:

D1Baseball.com's breakdown of No. 18 Ole Miss from Kendall Rogers

Ole Miss is picked to finish third in the SEC West and second baseman Tate Blackman was named preseason SEC Freshman of the Year in D1Baseball.com's SEC preview from Kendall Rogers

Ole Miss is projected as a No. 2 seed in the TCU (Fort Worth) Regional in D1Baseball.com's Preseason Field of 64

D1Baseball.com's survey of head coaches on the new lower-seamed baseballs and their impact on college baseball from Aaron Fitt

More from Chase Parham of RebelGrove/Rivals.com:

Pre-SEC Ole Miss opponent capsules, looking at the nonconference schedule prior to SEC play

Bjork clarifies baseball student guidelines, talking about the new student guidelines for right field at baseball games

Freshman Kyle Watson vying for time in left field and other notes


Previewing the Batting Lineup and Pitching Staff

Ole Miss held its annual media day on Monday inside the Diamond Club at Oxford-Unversity Stadium, ahead of the Rebels' season opener Friday at 4 p.m. against William & Mary, the opening game of a three-game series. 

Here are some notes and quotes from the media opportunity with head coach Mike Bianco and selected players, looking at the batting lineup and the pitching staff heading into the start of the 2015 season.

The Hitters:

"As we start this spring, I in a way struggled to explain to the team, something different and something exciting for you to write about," Bianco said. "But, it seems that I come back to the same sentence, it seems very similar to last year. What I mean by that is we return some big pieces on the field. 

"When you look around the field on Friday, you will see Sikes Orvis, Errol Robinson, J.B. Woodman, Austin Knight, Colby Bortles. These are some guys who certainly played big roles for us last year in getting to the College World Series. And like last year, there is certainly going to be room for some new guys to step in and help us."

Projected Defensive Lineup:

C Austin Knight

1B Sikes Orvis

2B Tate Blackman

3B Colby Bortles

SS Errol Robinson

LF Connor Cloyd/Josh Watkins/Kyle Watson

CF J.B. Woodman

RF Cameron Dishon

Speaking to the batting order, Bianco said Woodman will likely lead off, followed by Robinson, Orvis, Bortles and Henri Lartigue, who will back up Knight at catcher and be a possible designated hitter. After those five in the order, Bianco said a lot of it will be determined by lefty-righty matchups.

More on Austin Knight:

Knight has appeared in 74 games over the last three year, drawing the start in 16 games, including two games behind the plate in the College World Series as senior Will Allen moved to designated hitter due to injury. During his career, Knight has played behind two Johnny Bench Award finalists in Allen and Stuart Turner, who won the award in 2013.

Knight: "I'm very confident going into the season. I'm looking forward to getting out there and competing against somebody else. I got to play behind two very good catchers and very good people (Stuart Turner and Will Allen). Being able to learn from those guys has been great."

Bianco, on Knight: "To catch in our system, every coach on the staff was a catcher, it's tough to catch here. We're very hard on the catchers. There is a high expectation, not only for your performance, but also your leadership, getting the signals, being able to handle the staff, body language and all these other things we talk about. That's one of the reasons why Austin will be starting on Friday night. Not only can he handle it behind the plate and catch the ball and hit for us, but he's our best option as far as leadership and doing all the things we need from that position."

LHP Christian Trent, on Knight: "I was close to him last year, but Will caught the majority of my games. He's going to be fine. He's going to step up and take the place of Will. He has a good arm. He's really good at receiving the ball. As a pitcher, I'm already comfortable with him."

More on Tate Blackman:

Sikes Orvis and Errol Robinson return at their respective spots in the infield. They are joined by Colby Bortles, who played in 40 games, drawing the start in 14 games, nine at designated hitter and five at first baseman, as well as Tate Blackman, the preseason SEC Freshman of the Year by D1Baseball.com, who will start at second base for the Rebels.

Blackman: "It's a blessing to get the opportunity. I came in here as a freshman, trying to work hard on and off the field. My goal was to come in here and making a big impact my freshman year, and hopefully Friday will be a good day for me and for my team."

Bianco, on Blackman: "We think he is our best option at second. We saw a kid that didn't play like a freshman, not just with his ability, but with the way he carries himself. Tate looks like the guy that is most ready to play. He is an outstanding hitter, runs well and is a good defender. I am excited about all of the freshman.

Orvis, on Blackman: "He has a lot of talent, a lot of power, a lot of juice, and he's not afraid to mess up. He gets right in there. He's a hard-nosed player. He's going to be really good. The game speeds up on him as it does for all freshmen, but he has all the confidence in the world in himself, so he'll be fine."

More on the corner outfielders:

J.B. Woodman, the Rebels' leading returning hitter by batting average (.298), returns to the outfield, as he moves to center field, having played mostly right field and designated hitter this past season. Cameron Dishon will step into a bigger role as the start right fielder, having played mostly as a pinch runner and defensive replacement over the last two years. 

At the other corner outfield spot, what Bianco called the big question mark, as they open the season, Bianco said they will probably play a lot of guys to start with, mentioning junior college transfers Connor Cloyd and Josh Watkins, as well as freshman Kyle Watson by name. Another freshman, Will Golsan, might also figure in the mix.

Bianco, on left field: "I don't know if you need to have two games in a row or three games in a row," Bianco said. I don't know if there's a number. It's more feel. The goal over the first four weeks is to find the best lineup by the time we get to LSU on the opening weekend of SEC play. One of those guys can DH, somebody can play left, one of the other outfielders could sit a game and we can play two of those guys, so a lot of it just depends."

The Pitching Staff:

"On the mound, we are a little different than last year in the sense that last year at this time I think that was the big talk and most of the questions in the preseason press conference were about the pitching and the starting pitching, maybe for the lack of experience in the projected starters," Bianco said. 

"This year we return two of the SEC starters (Christian Trent and Sam Smith) from last year, along with some guys who have tons of experience like Scott Weathersby, Wyatt Short and Matt Denny. These are guys who gained some valuable experience for us last year."

Friday: LHP Christian Trent

Saturday: RHP Sam Smith

Sunday: RHP Brady Bramlett

Trent, on the move from Saturday starter to Friday starter: "My routine is not going to change. You're still coming to the field and do everything pregame I did last year. The role is different. Pitching on Saturday, the mindset was to win the series or push the series to a third game. I like the role of Friday because you can start the series off with a win and give your team a chance to get ahead in the series early."

More on Bramlett and Johnson:

Earlier in the spring, Bianco said Sean Johnson, a 6-foot-7 right-hander from the junior college ranks, would be a weekend, but he's been dealing with tendinitis and will be limited to bullpen work in the first weekend. In his place, Smith will move up to Saturday, and Bramlett will get the start on Sunday. Bramlett, himself, missed the last part of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 season due to recovery from a torn labrum.

Bianco, on Bramlett: "You don't know when they come off an injury where they are going to be or how they are going to be that first year back. When they are released and able to pitch you have to see how they are. 

"Brady had a really good fall. Once we got back, his three starts were probably better than any of the starters. He was pretty spotless here this January and early February. We are excited. He is a guy when we recruited him a couple years ago we knew would have a big time fastball. His slider keep coming, and he has improved his change-up. We really think he is going to have a big year."

Bianco, on Johnson: "We mentioned earlier to some of you that Sean Johnson would be a weekend starter. He came up a few days before our first intersquad game with some tendonitis in his shoulder. He is fine and he threw a bullpen on Friday. Sean will throw another bullpen tomorrow. He will not pitch in the first weekend, he just isn't in shape enough to start and log that many innings. Look for him to, at some point, get back into that starting role."

More on the bullpen:

After the graduation of Brett Huber two seasons ago, the program's all-time saves leader with 38, five different players recorded saves for the Rebels this past season, two of whom return in left-hander Wyatt Short and right-hander Scott Weathersby. Bianco also mentioned left-hander Matt Denny and right-hander Will Stokes, a freshman, as arms out of the bullpen. 

As far as the closer situation, Bianco said it will be a combination of guys, at least to start the season, similar to last season.

More from Bianco: "At the beginning, we'll go with a handful of guys and see if somebody emerges. Last year, we tried to force that a little bit. I think that guy has to just emerge. If that's the case after a certain period of time, if there's one guy we are better if he's pitching at the end of the game, then certainly we will do that. 

"We have shown an ability to do that in the past, when you look back at guys like Brett Huber, Jake Morgan, Scott Bittle or Stephen Head. If not, you can certainly win the other way, where you put the best guy out there on that particular day, much like we did last year, especially at the end of the year."

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    Tiffany J. Moore said:

    This is amazing with what he have done so far! Hope that he'll achieve more in the future!

    in post Evan Engram Hauls in Midseason Accolades

    Fiftyyears fan said:

    How can you have five straight top 25 recruiting classes and look as bad as Ole Miss has this year. Easy lack of coaching fundamentals. Look at Mason at Vandy, nothing but 2 and 3 star recruits out of high school and he developers players that want to win. Hugh freeze has 3, 4 & 5 recruits and he expects them to win because of what they were in High School. Mr. Freeze you have not been teaching the fundamentals of football or winning in life. Mr. Freeze you have quit on your players because you have some false expectations of what they are instead of what you can develop in them. Either do your job or quit. Oh yea, please quit running your smoke and mirrors offense, everyone has figured it out. Run a physical offense that can open up holes for your running backs and then your pass attack want require 12 are 14 four and five star receivers. Mr. Freeze you have problems and you need to know that you are not smarter than the rest of the coaches in the SEC.

    in post Rebels Unable to Send Senior Class Out on a High Note

    Karen Holden said:

    Not every pass can be caught. Too low, too short whatever. Not every Kelly pass is perfect. Records were broken by receivers also. But they sre not going to catch every ball thrown. The loss to Auburn was not one players fault. You win or lose as a team.

    in post Late Mistake Spoils Chad Kelly's Historic Performance

    Trent browning said:

    Hey I was just wandering if these are the only 2 olemiss players signing. If there are more signing please respond to me ASAP. Also wondering if neil everett will sign any autographs. Thank you very much

    in post Heisman House Tour Heads to Oxford for Ole Miss-Georgia

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    in post Madden 17 Ratings for Former Rebels

    Jamie laverty said:

    Bulmer I love you and ole Miss

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    Sharon Hamlin said:

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