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Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (April 28-May 4, 2015)

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review

April 28-May 4, 2015


- The Rebels started the week defeating the Bulldogs, 11-1 in the annual Governor's Cup. The 10-run win for the Rebels marked the largest margin of victory in the 36-year history of the Mayor's Trophy/Governor's Cup between the two archrivals. Ole Miss re-claimed the Governor's Cup for the first time since 2012 behind a veteran arm out of the Rebels' bullpen.

- In the first start of his four-year career, senior Scott Weathersby was brilliant, tossing seven scoreless innings. The senior right-hander allowed just six hits and walked one, while striking out three. For his outstanding performance, Weathersby was named the Governor's Cup Most Valuable Player. 

- Ole Miss recorded 15 hits paced once again by leadoff hitter Connor Cloyd. The junior went 3-for-6 with a career-high four RBI. Cloyd also produced his seventh-straight multi-hit game. Four more Rebels provided multi-hit games as Colby Bortles, Cameron Dishon, Austin Knight and Sikes Orvis all recorded two hits apiece.

- Kicking off the weekend at nationally ranked Missouri, the Rebels fell 4-2 to the Tigers. Junior Christian Trent tossed a complete game, allowing four runs on nine hits. The southpaw struck out six Tigers without surrendering a walk as he pitched 8.0 innings for the second consecutive game. 

- After a loss on Saturday afternoon, Ole Miss bounced back on Sunday for a 4-3 victory. With the win over the nationally-ranked Tigers, the Rebels now have eight wins against ranked opponents. 

- Orvis blasted a pair of solo home runs to help lead Ole Miss to the win. The multi-homer game was the second of Orvis' career. The two home runs gave Orvis a team-leading 11 for the season and 29 for his career. 

- Cloyd went 3-for-3, reaching base all four times he stepped to the plate and recording his eighth multi-hit game in the past 10 contests. 

- In his first career start and playing in his home state, freshman Nic Perkins recorded his second straight multi-hit game with a pair of singles. Perkins, a St. Charles, Mo. native, finished the weekend going 4-for-4 in his return to his home state. 

- Working on a pitch count due to throwing seven innings in Tuesday's victory over Mississippi State, Weathersby lasted 3.2 innings, allowing one run on four hits and two walks to earn his second victory in as many appearances. Jacob Waguespack tossed 3.1 innings of relief, and sophomore Wyatt Short pitched the final two innings to earn his seventh save of the season. 

- Behind the bullpen, Ole Miss is now 20-0 when leading after the eighth inning. 

- In both of the Rebels' victories throughout the week, Weathersby earned the win and Cloyd recorded a three-hit game. Cloyd now has eight multi-hit games over the past 10 contests. Weathersby has allowed just two runs over the past 20.1 innings

Track & Field

- In its final weekend of the regular season, Ole Miss was phenomenal with a number of elite national marks and a pair of school records at the LSU Invitational and Stanford's Payton Jordan Invitational.

- The 4x100-meter relay squad of freshman Nicole Henderson, freshman Shannon Ray, junior Khadijah Suleman and senior Jhorden Hunter shattered their own school record with a scintillating 43.80 to place third behind top NCAA squads Florida and LSU. They broke their previous record of 44.11 from the Virginia Challenge and rank eighth in the nation this year.

- Freshman Brooke Feldmeier took her own 800-meter school record to another level Saturday, running 2:03.86 to break her own mark of 2:05.29 from Virginia. She placed second in the race and moved up to No. 12 in the nation this year with her sensational time.

- Sophomore Craig Engels stole the show in the men's 800 meters, running a time of 1:46.13 that is second in school history and No. 4 in the nation this year. He also ranks ninth nationally in the 1500.

- Sophomore Jalen Miller had a sensational day in three events against the star-studded field of sprinters. He won the 100 meters with a season-best 10.24 (19th in NCAA), clocked a season-best 21.01 in the 200 and anchored the 4x100 relay to a season-best time of 39.82 (17th in NCAA, 5th in school history).

- Senior Phillip Young won the triple jump (tied season best of 52-8.75 that ranks 11th in NCAA) and finished runner-up in the long jump (personal-best 25-0.75, 23rd in NCAA).

- With the SEC Championships next (May 14-16 in Starkville), Ole Miss men who rank among the league's top eight in their event include Miller in the 100 (5th, 10.24), Engels in the 800 (2nd, 1:46.13) and 1500 (1st, 3:40.28), Sean Tobin in the 1500 (2nd, 3:42.17), Robert Domanic in the 1500 (5th, 3:43.75), Trevor Gilley in the 5000 (6th, 14:03.49), the 4x100 relay (7th, 39.82), Branden Greene in the high jump (2nd, 7-1), Adam Aguirre in the high jump (6th, 6-11.75), Young in the long jump (4th, 25-0.75) and triple jump (6th, 52-8.75), Dempsey McGuigan in the hammer (4th, 215-1), Nathan Loe in the hammer (8th, 206-5) and Peyton Moss in the decathlon (8th, 6311).

- Ole Miss women who rank top eight in the SEC are Ray in the 100 (8th, 11.41), Feldmeier in the 800 (4th, 2:03.86), the 4x100 relay (5th, 43.80) and Fabia McDonald in the heptathlon (5th, 5736).


- Ole Miss grabbed its 30th win of the season at Mississippi Valley State, tying the school record for wins in a season. The 9-0 win tied the mark of 30 wins set in the 2005 season.

- Ole Miss finished in 11th place in the SEC standings and will open SEC Tournament play Wednesday against No. 6 seed Georgia. It's the Rebels' first appearance in the SEC Tournament since the 2008 season. 

- Ole Miss has set new records for offense this season with runs (298), triples (13), home runs (46), walks (164) and steals (88).

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

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review

April 21-27, 2015


- 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).


- 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.

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (March 31-April 6, 2015)

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review

March 31-April 6, 2015


- Ole Miss finished the week with a 2-2 mark to remain a .500 overall record for the season (16-16). 

- The Rebels claimed a midweek victory over Memphis before dropping its first home weekend series of the year by losing two-of-three to Tennessee. In the two victories, Ole Miss rallied from three-run deficits due to clutch hitting. 

- Against Memphis, the Rebels went 6-for-17 at the dish with runners on base for a .353 clip. With two outs, Ole Miss went 7-for-15 (.467) throughout the game. 

- The trend continued to the next game, a Friday night win over Tennessee. As a team, the Rebels were 6-for-14 with two outs, 7-for-20 with runners on and 4-for-11 with runners in scoring position, scoring five of their 10 runs with two outs in the inning. Ole Miss also finished with a season high for runs (10) and hits (13) in a Southeastern Conference game this season. 

- Freshman leadoff hitter Will Golsan recorded three hits, tying his career high, in both of the wins to lead the Rebels, including a career-high four RBI in Friday's victory over Tennessee. 

- Junior left-hander Christian Trent earned the win over UT to improve to 5-2 on the season. He went 6.0 innings strong, giving up three runs and scattering seven hits with two walks and five. Senior Sikes Orvis homered in the win, the seventh of the season and 25th of his career. 

- Golsan ended the week with a .412 average at the plate. Sophomore J.B. Woodman also had a solid week by batting .467. Woodman scored six of the Rebels' 22 runs, including a solo homer in the top of the ninth at Memphis to give the Rebels an important insurance run. Woodman tied Golsan for the team lead in hits throughout the week. 

- Junior Connor Cloyd also produced at the dish when called upon to fill in as the team's designated hitter. In two games, Cloyd smacked multiple hits in each contests for the first two multi-hit games of his Ole Miss career. Cloyd scored three runs on Friday night to match his season total. 

- On Saturday, junior Mitchel Babb pitched a career-high 3.1 innings without allowing a run and striking out four to surpass his season strikeout total in one game. 

- Sophomore Wyatt Short appeared out of the bullpen in three of the four games and did not allow a run. Short saved both of the Rebels' wins before pitching the retiring all four batters he faced in the final game of the week on Sunday. 

- Short allowed just one hit, limiting opposing hitters to a .083 average at the plate. Short now has a 3-1 record, five saves and an impressive 0.81 ERA as well as 27 strikeouts, only seven walks and just two earned runs over 22.1 innings (13 appearances).

Men's Tennis

- Ole Miss won both its matches last week, shutting out Tennessee and Kentucky to close out the regular season home schedule at 10-1. The Rebels improved to 15-6 overall and 7-3 in the SEC.

- The Rebels have now won six straight against Tennessee, while snapping a six-match losing streak to Kentucky.

- Senior Nik Scholtz went 3-0 in singles and doubles in his last regular season homestand, including team with Zvonimir Babic to clinch the doubles point against Tennessee with a win over the No. 2 team in the nation.  Scholtz has now won 21 of his last 22 home matches.

- Stefan Lindmark clinched the win over Tennessee to improve to 12-3 at No. 2 singles and remain undefeated in the SEC at 7-0.

- Freshman Grey Hamilton made his SEC singles debut against Kentucky and won in straight sets to give the Rebels a 2-0 lead.

Women's Tennis

- Ole Miss split a pair of matches on the road, losing to No. 5 Georgia 4-0 and then shutting out Tennessee 4-0 to improve to 12-9 overall and 4-8 in the SEC.

- Senior Julia Jones clinched the win over Tennessee and picked up her 99th career victory. She needs just one more to become the seventh player in school history to join the 100-club.

- The Rebels have now won two straight and three of four against Tennessee.

- The Rebels have now posted three shutouts in SEC play this year.

Track & Field

- Ole Miss had a great weekend at the Tiger Track Classic in Auburn in a performance that head coach Brian O'Neal called a "complete meet."

- Overall, the Rebels earned three event titles, set one school record and posted several marks that rank among the NCAA's best this outdoor season.

- Phillip Young won the triple jump and long jump on the Plains. His triple jump of 52-2.75 ranks him No. 9 in the NCAA this year. His wind-assisted long jump of 25-4.75 (+5.3 wind) would have ranked him fourth nationally if not for the wind reading over the allowable +4.0.

- Dameon Morgan claimed the 800-meter title in 1:51.04.

- True freshman Shannon Ray had a breakout performance in the 100 meters, running 11.41 (first among collegians) to rank No. 2 in school history and sixth in the nation this season. She also helped the 4x100-meter relay team to a runner-up finish in 44.8, just off their season best of 44.73 that ranks them top 10 in the nation.

- Redshirt-freshman Dempsey McGuigan set a school record in the men's hammer throw in his first official outdoor competition as a Rebel, heaving the hammer 212 feet and 7 inches. That ranks him 14th nationally this year.

- Jalen Miller placed third overall and first among collegians in the men's 100 meters with a season-best time of 10.38 that ranks him 19th in the country this year.

- Kierra White placed fourth in the women's long jump with a season-best leap of 20-1 that ranks her 20th in the country.

Women's Golf

- The Ole Miss women's golf team hosted the seventh annual Rebel Intercollegiate April 3-5. Ole Miss placed ninth with a three-day score of 896 (298-295-303--896) in its annual tournament which closed the regular season for the Rebels. 

- Sophomore Maria Toennessen had a great weekend, posting a 54-hole career low of 216 and in opening round action carded a 70 for her 18-hole career low. Toennesssen competed as an individual but was the Rebels top finisher on the weekend, placing eighth for her first top 10 finish. 

- Freshman Sofia Idoyaga also had a great weekend. The Argentine carded back-to-back rounds of 73 in the second and third rounds, which tied her career low for 18 holes. Additionally,  her 54-hole score of 225 is a new career low for the freshman. 


- Ole Miss' Allison Brown continued to play well for the Rebels in the weekend series at No. 2 LSU, hitting her fifth home run of the season and bringing the season total to 32 for the squad. 

- Ole Miss has passed several marks from the 2014 season with 19 games left in the season. The Rebels have hit 32 home runs, passing last season's total of 30 home runs on the year. 

- Ole Miss has also broken the mark for steals a year ago, successfully nabbing 69 bases in 2015 after only attempting 60 steals a year ago. 

- The Rebels have posted 22 wins, matching last year's win total and the five wins in SEC play bests last year's three-game win total in conference play and is one shy of totaling the win mark in SEC play over the previous two seasons.

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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Recent Comments

    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

    in post Fast Runner From Down Under

    Sharon Hamlin said:

    Hi! Really Bulmer is very fantastic & dedicated in his job. Really outstanding & well done... :-)

    in post Fast Runner From Down Under

    Sharon Hamlin said:

    Hi! Really motivating post & outstanding job did Bulmer .Loved it... :-)

    in post Fast Runner From Down Under