Results tagged “Ole Miss Baseball”
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
April 7-13, 2015
- Ole Miss finished the week with a 2-2 mark to remain a .500 overall record for the season (18-18) as well as 7-8 in SEC play. After dropping a midweek game to Southern Miss in Pearl, Miss., the Rebels bounced back to claim a SEC road series over No. 1 Vanderbilt. Ole Miss dropped the first game before taking the final two games from the top-ranked Commodores.
- Against Southern Miss, Connor Cloyd batted in the leadoff spot for the first time in his Ole Miss career, going 3-for-5 with two runs for a new career high in hits. Sophomore Colby Bortles added a pair of hits and two RBI, while senior Sikes Orvis drove in his team-leading 28th and 29th runs of the season with his eighth double of the 2015 campaign.
- Bortles continued his hot hitting into the weekend. With Ole Miss trailing by four in the top of the ninth on Friday night, Bortles tied the game by belting the second grand slam of his career. The third baseman was also the last Rebel to hit a grand slam before tonight, going deep against Arkansas State, May 13, 2014.
- After Ole Miss tied the game in the ninth, a two-out double by Henri Lartigue in the top of the 16th brought in the game-winning run.
- The bullpen trio of Jacob Waguespack, Wyatt Short and Scott Weathersby combined to pitch 11 shutout innings. Add in starter Brady Bramlett, and the Ole Miss pitching staff kept the No. 1 team in the country off the scoreboard for 14 of the 16 innings.
- Waguespack pitched three scoreless innings before Short added a pair of shutdown innings.
- Weathersby was named SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week, the conference office announced Monday. Weathersby finished the game by lasting a career-long six innings and striking out a career-high 10 hitters. Weathersby retired 18 of the 21 batters he faced, including getting out of a bases-loaded jam with nobody out in the bottom of the 11th.
- The 16-inning game was the second extra-inning game of the year for Ole Miss. The Rebels defeated then-No. 1 LSU in 14 innings earlier this season, rallying to tie the game in the ninth inning of that contest as well. The two games mark the first time in Ole Miss history that the Diamond Rebels have played two 14-plus inning games in one season. The 16-inning game also was the third-longest in program history.
- One night after rallying behind four runs in the ninth and coming back to win a 16-inning thriller, the Ole Miss baseball team maintained the momentum by taking down No. 1 Vanderbilt for the second-straight game, 5-4, to claim a big SEC series on the road. With a victory over the Commodores, the Rebels improved to an impressive 5-4 against No. 1 teams in 2015.
- Sophomore Errol Robinson provided the game-winning hit, a 2-RBI bases-loaded single in the top of the seventh, and the Ole Miss bullpen kept the Commodores off the board for the second-consecutive contest.
- Senior Sam Smith came out of the bullpen to pitch two scoreless innings of relief, and Waguespack closed out the ninth to earn his first career save. For the entire series, the Rebels' bullpen did not allow a run to score in 15.2 innings of work.
- Nine different Rebels recorded base hits throughout the afternoon as the team tallied 10 of them. Senior Austin Knight went 2-for-3 and added a walk to reach base three times. Holt Perdzock had a RBI double in his only plate appearance, and Cameron Dishon knocked in a run as well.
- In his fourth career start, facing a No. 1 team for the second time in his career, freshman Will Stokes put together a career outing. The right-hander went a career-long six innings, surrendering four runs on seven hits to earn the first victory of his young Ole Miss career.
- Ole Miss has won two-of-three series against No. 1 teams this season (Florida, Vanderbilt).
- In front of a crowd of approximately 15,000 fans, Ole Miss closed out spring practice with the annual Regions Bank Grove Bowl on Saturday. The Blue team defeated the Red team 17-7, behind a pair of long touchdown passes, one by junior quarterback Chad Kelly and another by senior running back Jaylen Walton on a halfback pass.
- Kelly finished 9-of-19 for 104 yards with a touchdown and an interception. DeVante Kincade was 9-of-18 for 93 yards and also led the Blue team with 50 rushing yards on 10 carries, while Ryan Buchanan was 5-of-16 for 49 yards with an interception.
- Jordan Wilkins led all players with 62 rushing yards on six carries, while Eugene Brazley rushed for 44 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown.
- Damore'ea Stringfellow led all receivers with three catches for 98 yards and a TD, while Derrick Jones was the Red team's top receiver with three catches for 35 yards.
- Defensively, Fadol Brown, Issac Gross and Channing Ward led all players with 2.0 tackles for loss apiece, while both of Gross' TFLs were sacks. Cornerback Kendarius Webster finished with three pass break-ups, and linebackers DeMarquis Gates and Terry Caldwell totaled five tackles each.
- No. 25 Ole Miss won twice this past week, shutting out Arkansas-Pine Bluff 6-0 and then rallying to top Mississippi State 4-3. The Rebels earned the No. 9 seed in the SEC Championship and will face the No. 8 seed, Kentucky, in the second round Friday at 9 a.m. CT.
- The Rebels have now won 26 straight against Mississippi State.
- Sophomore Zalina Khairudinova clinched the win, rallying from an 0-3 deficit in the final set. It marked the SEC match for her to clinch this year, as she also clinched the 4-3 win over Auburn.
- Senior Julia Jones became the seventh member of the 100-club, winning her 100th match against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. At 27-7 this year, she needs three wins to become the 10th player to record 30 in a season.
- The Rebels finished the regular season 8-3 at home.
- No. 14 Ole Miss split its last regular season matches, defeating South Carolina 4-2 in Columbia, before falling to No. 8 Georgia 4-0 in Athens. The Rebels earned the No. 4 seed in the SEC Championship and will face the winner of the No. 5 Vanderbilt vs. No. 12 Auburn/No. 13 Arkansas winner in the quarterfinals Friday at 4 p.m.
- This marks the 17th time for the Rebels to finish in the top third of the SEC and receive a first round bye in the tournament.
- The Rebels defeated South Carolina for the second time this season after dropping the doubles point. It marked the second SEC opponent the Rebels have beaten twice this year, including Florida.
- Junior Stefan Lindmark became the fifth player in program history to go undefeated in the SEC at 8-0. He owns a 12-3 record at No. 2 singles and has won six in a row. His win at South Carolina was also his 20th of the year.
- Senior Nik Scholtz clinched the win over South Carolina, his fourth clinch in the SEC and second on the road.
- In the latest ITA Attendance Race Standings, the Rebels are ranked fourth in average attendance (290) for the season. They finished the month of March third in total attendance and second in average attendance (336).
Track & Field
- Ole Miss had a very productive Friday in Starkville at the 2015 Border Clash, as Rebel athletes claimed four event titles, produced 11 new marks that rank top 10 in school history, and had six results that moved them into the top 40 nationally this season.
- The Border Clash, which pitted four schools from Mississippi against four schools from Alabama, saw the Mississippi men prevail 98-93 and the Alabama women win 108-61.
- For the men, Jalen Miller won the 100m (10.34), Robert Semien won the 110m hurdles (13.98) and Dempsey McGuigan claimed the hammer throw title (210-1).
- Craig Engels and Holland Sherrer went 2-3 in the 800m with times of 1:48.27 and 1:48.63 that rank them top six in school history and top 30 in the nation this year.
- The women were led once again by the quartet of Nicole Henderson, Shannon Ray, Khadijah Suleman and Jhorden Hunter, who won the 4x100m relay in 44.55 that ranks them third in school history and No. 8 in the NCAA this year.
- Racquel Moses was runner-up in the 400m hurdles (59.55) and Britt Ummels was runner-up in the 1500m (4:28.61).
- Ole Miss men who rank top 50 in the NCAA are Phillip Young in the triple jump (12th, 52-2.75), Miller in the 100m (17th, 10.34), McGuigan in the hammer (17th, 212-7), Engels in the 800m (19th, 1:48.27), Sherrer in the 800m (26th, 1:48.63), Semien in the 110m hurdles (28th, 13.98), Trevor Gilley in the 1500m (41st, 3:56.60), Adam Aguirre in the high jump (45th, 6-10.75), Branden Greene in the high jump (45th, 6-10.75) and Nathan Loe in the hammer (46th, 202-3).
- Ole Miss women who rank top 50 in the NCAA are Ray in the 100m (8th, 11.41), the 4x100m relay (8th, 44.55), Kierra White in the long jump (30th, 20-1), Hunter in the 100m (36th, 11.58), Moses in the 400m hurdles (37th, 59.55) and Fabia McDonald in the long jump (47th, 19-8.25).
- The Rebels continue to show improvement in the first year under the direction of head coach Mike Smith, improving in the win column and in statistical categories upon recent previous seasons.
- The Rebels have 35 home runs on the season after hitting only 31 home runs a year ago. Freshman 1B Alex Schneider leads the Rebels with eight home runs on the year, while 10 different players have home runs - including eight with multiple home runs.
- Ole Miss has also successfully stolen 76 bases on the year after only attempting 60 steals in 2014.
- The Rebels hit the 23-win mark last week, defeating Samford in a midweek contest to pass the win total from a year ago and with five wins in SEC play surpassed the win total from last season as well. It also is one win away from totaling the number of SEC wins over the previous two seasons combined by the Rebels.
Six former Rebels begin the 2015 Major League Baseball on opening day rosters. Chris Coghlan, Zack Cozart and Seth Smith all started or are slated to start on opening day for their respective teams. Lance Lynn and Drew Pomeranz will begin the season in the starting rotation for their respective teams, while Aaron Barrett will play a key role in the bullpen for the Washington Nationals.
30 | Aaron Barrett | RHP | Washington Nationals
Barrett made his MLB debut on opening day last season with the Washington Nationals. And for the second straight year, he made the Nationals' opening day roster. In his rookie season, he appeared in 50 games as reliever, going 3-0 with a 2.66 ERA in 40.2 innings of work. He also made the Nationals' postseason roster. He returns to a similar late-inning relief role for the Nationals this season.
Barrett makes most most of each opportunity with Nats, writes Bill Ladson from MLB.com
8 | Chris Coghlan | OF | Chicago Cubs
The 2009 NL Rookie of the Year and a 7th-year veteran, Coghlan is in his second year with the Chicago Cubs. In his first season with the Cubs, he hit .283 with 28 doubles, five triples, nine home runs and 41 RBI, his best marks since his rookie season with the Florida Marlins. The Cubs played the St. Louis Cardinals on Opening Day, and Coghlan started in left and batted fifth, where he went 1-for-4 with a double in a 3-0 loss.
Another new skipper, but Coghlan finds familiarity in Cubs camp, writes Carrie Muskat from MLB.com
2 | Zack Cozart | SS | Cincinnati Reds
Cozart has been a fixture as the Reds' everyday shortstop for the last three years. Defensively, Cozart ranked near the top of the majors in several metrics and helped save the team some runs. At the plate, he looks to bounce back from one of the worst years of his career. He is slated to start at shortstop and bat eighth for the Reds in their season opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Frustration fuels Cozart's motivation for 2015, writes Mark Sheldon from MLB.com
31 | Lance Lynn | RHP | St. Louis Cardinals
Lynn won 15 or more games for the third straight season, going 15-10 with a 2.74 ERA. He also recorded 181 strikeouts compared to just 72 walks in 203.2 innings. His 15 wins were tied for 15th among major league pitchers. He was also one of just 11 pitchers with 15 wins and 180 strikeouts for the season. Lynn will begin this season as the Cardinals' No. 2 starter and he will start their home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 13, the first home-opening assignment of his career.
Lynn returns to mound in impressive form, writes Andrew Simon from MLB.com
13 | Drew Pomeranz | LHP | Oakland Athletics
For the second time in his career, and the second straight season, Pomeranz made an opening day roster. After making the Athletics' opening day roster as a reliever this past season, he will begin this season as their No. 5 starter and he is slated to get his first start against the Seattle Mariners on April 10. Pomeranz posted a 2.35 ERA in 69 innings over 20 appearances (10 starts) last season, but he missed more than two months due to injury.
A's name Pomeranz as fifth starter; Chavez to bullpen, writes Alex Espinoza for MLB.com
7 | Seth Smith | OF | Seattle Mariners
The most veteran member of the Ole Miss contingent in the major leagues, Smith is in his eighth major league season. It's his first season as a member of the Mariners, his fourth different major league team, after being traded rom the San Diego Padres during the offseason. He's coming off of one his better offensive seasons, hitting at a .266 clip with 31 doubles, five triples, 12 home runs and 48 RBI. He is slated to start in right field and bat second for the Mariners in their season opener against the Los Angeles Angels.
Smith brings quiet approach to first Mariners camp, writes Greg Johns from MLB.com
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
March 24-30, 2015
-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.
- 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.
- 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.
-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).
- 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.
- 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 celebrated one of the most successful years in school history. The women's basketball team saw its season come to an end in the Sweet 16 of the Postseason WNIT. The football team continued spring practice, and we're now less than two weeks away from the Grove Bowl. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- The Ole Miss athletic department held the fifth annual Rebels' Choice Awards Monday night. Five different sports took home multiple awards, led by the football team, which took home five awards. Check out the full show here.
- The parity among the various sports and the caliber of candidates for each of the awards are a testament to the recent renaissance over the last calendar year that has included a College World Series appearance, a New Year's Six bowl appearance and an NCAA Tournament appearance in men's basketball, among other accomplishments.
- The Ole Miss women's basketball finishes the season with a 19-14 record, the best record since the 2006-07 season that ended in the Elite Eight. The Rebels lose three seniors from this year's team in Tia Faleru, Danielle McCray and Amber Singletary, but they will return a talented group that will look to lead the program back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time, also since that 2006-07 season.
- In the Sweet 16 of the Postseason WNIT, Head coach Matt Insell faced off against his father Rick Insell for the second time this season. Good read from The Clarion-Ledger's Riley Blevins on what MTSU billed as Family Feud II.
- The 2015 WNBA Draft will be held Thursday, April 16, and graduating senior Tia Faleru is ranked No. 21 in the WNBA Senior Class Elite 25. The draft contains three rounds and 36 overall picks.
- The baseball team was unable to sustain the momentum from a series win over No. 1 Florida, going 1-4 on the week, dropping both games of a doubleheader against UAB and then losing two of three on the road at Arkansas. The Rebels sit at 14-14 and 4-5 in SEC play, ahead of a midweek matchup at Memphis on Tuesday and a three-game home weekend series against Tennessee.
- The softball team also traveled to Arkansas, picking up their second straight series win, sweeping the Razorback and running their winning streak to six games. It was the first three-game sweep of an SEC foe since the final weekend of the 2012 season. They also showed up in support of the baseball team for their series opener on Thursday, before starting their own series on Friday.
- The football team wrapped up week three of spring practice with a two-hour practice inside the Manning Center on Saturday, a practice that resembled a scrimmage with 7-on-7 play and 11-on-11 live action. Check out my spring update, as well as my feature on Laquon Treadwell, who's about 80 percent back from injury.
- All three quarterbacks did good things on Saturday, and head coach Hugh Freeze and co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner said as much. Freeze also said he does not expect to name a starter until about midway through fall camp.
- Saturday was also my first live look at the team, including a talented group of newcomers. Tony Bridges, D.J. Jones, Chad Kelly and Javon Patterson have all drawn high praise from the coaches, and all four players looked the part on Saturday.
- A couple of plays also stand out from Saturday. Kelly put a couple of deep balls out there, one on the first play of 11-on-11 action and another to Quincy Adeboyejo that would have gone for a touchdown, if it wasn't called back. Another play was Damore'ea Stringfellow making a one-handed grab on a fade route against Bridges. Watching those two go against each other was something to watch.
- Here's more from Freeze about Kelly: "His arm strength is pretty dang good. He gets it out there and he puts the right amount of air under it. We threw some good deep balls with him today. He hit Quincy on one, and he threw a couple of other nice ones... Chad's arm is a little stronger than we have been used to."
- Here's more from Werner about Kelly: "It's amazing how quickly he picks the stuff up. He's been a really quick study."
- The 13th-ranked men's tennis team finished a brutal 10-day stretch that included five SEC matches, the last three all on the road in a span of five days. The Rebels went 3-2, including a 1-2 over the final three games this past week. The highlight of the week was Nik Scholtz, who erased six match points to deliver a 4-3 win at No. 24 LSU on Friday. The Rebels are now 13-6 overall and 5-3 in the SEC.
- In women's tennis action, Julia Jones won her 97th and 98th career matches, and she might have a chance to win her 100th career match next weekend. The 21st-ranked Rebels are now 11-8 overall and 3-7 in the SEC.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
March 17-23, 2015
- 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.
- 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 Miss¹ 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The men's basketball team saw its run in the NCAA Tournament come to an end in the Round of 64 after a thrilling win in the First Four. The women's basketball team won two postseason WNIT games to continue its postseason run. And the spring sports on posted some big wins over the weekend. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- The Ole Miss men's basketball team tipped off the madness of March and captured the nation's attention with their 94-90 win over BYU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels scored 62 second-half points to erase a 17-point halftime deficit.
"Having to play in the First Four, I thought, was a very unique experience, exciting, very exciting as the kickoff to March Madness," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "And now we have the advantage of having won a game and having played awfully well, and quite frankly, catching the eye and the ear of the world of college basketball for one small segment."
- Before Ole Miss and Xavier tipped off on Thursday, I arrived at Jacksonville's Veterans Memorial Arena early to watch No. 3 seed Baylor take on No. 14 seed Georgia State and came upon one of the signature moments that makes March Madness. The lower-seeded Panthers outscored Baylor 13-0 over the last 2:53 for the 57-56 win. Georgia State head coach Ron Hunter's son, R.J. Hunter, accounted for 12 of the 13 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left. And if you haven't seen it, check out the Vine, shot, celebration and all.
- Ole Miss unable to repeat the feat in the third round, unable to overcome a 33 percent shooting night and a 6-for-27 mark from 3-point range in a 76-57 loss to Xavier. Every time the Rebels made a run, the Musketeers had an answer, paced by leading scorer and Uber driver Matt Stainbrook, who scored a game-high 20 points.
- We're only days removed from the end of the 2014-15 season, but looking back, the 2014-15 team will go down in history as one of Kennedy's best coaching jobs and one of the most accomplished teams in program history. This year's team finished with a 21-13 record and went to NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in program history, where they picked up the fifth NCAA Tournament win in program history.
- Five seniors saw their Ole Miss careers come to an end, none more accomplished than four-year starting point guard Jarvis Summers. The Jackson native finishes his career as just the fourth player in SEC history with 1,600 points and 500 assists. He is also one of only nine players in Ole Miss history with 80 career wins.
- The Rebels received plenty of local and national coverage during its NCAA Tournament run. One of my favorite stories that came out of the run was a feature on former player and current assistant coach Todd Abernethy from The Clarion-Ledger's Hugh Kellenberger.
- Xavier, by the way, has advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 75-67 win over Georgia State in the Round of 32 on Saturday. One of the most consistent program in recent years, Xavier has now advanced to five Sweet 16 in eight years.
- The women's basketball team has made some history of its own, picking up two wins in the Postseason WNIT, an 80-70 win over UT Martin, followed by a 63-48 win over Georgia Tech. Ole Miss last won multiple games in a postseason appearance in 2006-07, when the Rebels reached the NCAA Elite Eight. The Rebels are also just one win away from their first 20-win season, also since 2006-07.
- Earlier this season, head coach Matt Insell visited fraternity and sorority houses to drum up support for his team and program. This week, he challenged fans to hit him up on Twitter for tickets to attend their game against Georgia Tech. And his efforts have begun to show with higher attendance and a better home court experience in recent games, two things that will only continue to grow and improve as his process continues and the Rebels move into their new home at The Pavilion of Ole Miss.
"Playing in the postseason, we have momentum in our program," head coach Matt Insell said. "This program hasn't momentum in a long time. Nobody has talked about this program in a long time. Last year, about this time, we were getting ready to play Auburn and we were lucky to have 200 people here. Now, we have people who are coming and into our game. We're gathering support. It's huge momentum for recruiting and it's huge momentum for our young kids to continue to get practice time and game experience."
- For Matt Insell and the Rebels, the win over Georgia Tech sets up a rematch with Matt's father, Rick, and his Middle Tennessee State team in the Sweet 16 of the Postseason WNIT. The elder Insell got the better of the younger Insell in their earlier meeting this season in Oxford, while the rematch will be Thursday at 7 p.m. in Murfreesboro.
- The Ole Miss baseball team took two of three from No. 1 Florida, their fourth straight home series win over a top-ranked team. With the series win over the top-ranked Gators, the Rebels have gone 4-4 against top-10 team over the last two week, a stretch that included a midweek series at No. 8 Louisville, a weekend series on the road at No. 1 LSU and a weekend series at home against No. 1 Florida.
- The double-barrel of Christian Trent and Brady Bramlett continue to lead the way on the mound. They have made five quality starts in six starts each this season. Here's more on Trent, Bramlett and the series win over Florida.
- Sikes Orvis, a social media star after his heroics in a win over No. 1 LSU last weekend, continued his tear at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a double, home run and four RBI in the series-clincher against No. 1 Florida. Through the first two weekends of SEC play, Orvis is hitting .421 with three doubles, two home run and nine RBI, all team highs.
- In softball action, head coach Mike Smith picked up his first SEC win and first SEC series win, as Ole Miss took both games of Saturday's doubleheader from No. 24 Mississippi State to claim the weekend series with the Bulldogs. The Rebels won the first game in dramatic fashion, rallying in extra innings and scoring the game-winning run on a walk-off wild pitch. In the second game, the Rebels batted around as part of an eight-run first inning on the way to a 14-8 win.
- With the series win, Ole Miss improves to 8-3 against Mississippi State in head-to-head competition during the 2014-15 school year, including wins in football and soccer, a season sweep in volleyball and men's basketball and now a series win in softball.
- The No. 13 ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team won both of its weekend matches, highlighted by a 4-0 win over No. 15 Florida on Sunday. It was a rematch of their earlier meeting at the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Gainesville, where the Rebels rallied for a 4-3 win. Senior Nik Scholtz clinched the 4-0 win with a three-set win at No. 1 singles.
- Ole Miss Athletics photographer Josh McCoy had a busy week, traveling with the men's basketball team from Oxford, to Dayton, to Jacksonville, back to Oxford, where he shot a busy weekend on the Ole Miss campus. Check out his many galleries from the week that was. My personal favorite is his gallery from the men's basketball win over BYU.
- Don't forget, Ole Miss will be honoring the athletic achievements of Ole Miss student-athletes over the past year at the fifth annual Rebels' Choice Awards on Monday. Three of the awards, Play of the Year, Game of the Year and Fan Favorite Rebel, were determined by fan vote. Stay tuned to the official website for a full recap.
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."
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.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Feb. 24-March 2, 2015
Track & Field
- Ole Miss got SEC titles from Jalen Miller (60m), Daniel Bulmer (mile) and the distance medley relay, and the Rebels achieved their best SEC indoor finish since 1984.
- The Ole Miss men scored 62 points to finish fourth in the team standings, their third-best result in school history and best since tying for third 31 years ago. The team's 62 points were also their most at an SEC indoor meet since that year.
- Overall on the weekend, Ole Miss snagged three SEC titles, two runners-up and two school records. The only other time the Rebels won three titles at the SEC indoor meet was 1983.
- The Rebels' success was notable because 20 of the team's 44 participants were competing in their first SEC Championships, and the men were without injured distance standouts Sean Tobin and Robert Domanic.
- Miller has won every 60-meter race in which he's lined up this year, and captured the school's first ever SEC crown in the event with a time of 6.56 on Saturday.
- Bulmer and Craig Engels finished 1-2 in the men's mile at 4:03.28 and 4:03.76, respectively. Bulmer is the first SEC mile champion in Ole Miss history.
- Bulmer and Engels teamed with Dameon Morgan and Holland Sherrer to capture to Rebels' second straight SEC distance medley relay title. Crazy enough, it was four different men than last year's championship relay team.
- The women were highlighted a pair of school records. Freshman Brooke Feldmeier earned a silver medal in the 800 meters with a school-record time of 2:04.34, and senior Fabia McDonald broke her own record in the pentathlon (4,168) to place sixth.
- Ole Miss closed the regular-season with a 2-1 record in the final week of action, which included wins over No. 11/13 Kentucky and LSU before losing to instate rival, Mississippi State in the regular season finale.
- Ole Miss concludes the regular season with a 17-12, 7-9 SEC record -- the most overall and SEC wins since 2009-10.
- The Rebels, who were picked to finish 14th in the preseason SEC poll, finished tied for seventh and earned the No. 8 seed in the SEC Tournament -- its highest seed since 2009-10.
- Tia Faleru posted double-doubles in two of the final three games of the regular season. She now has 13 double-doubles on the season and 33 career double-doubles. It is the second consecutive season the senior has recorded 10 ore more double-doubles after entering her junior campaign with just five career double-doubles.
- Ole Miss' win over Kentucky gave the Rebels two wins over a ranked opponent this season and gave Ole Miss head coach Matt Insell his first win over his former team. The last time Ole Miss defeated two ranked foes was in 2009-10 when they had wins over No. 8 Georgia and No. 12 LSU. Additionally, the win over a top 15 foe was the first in the last 20 tries.
- The No. 18 Ole Miss baseball team went 2-2 last week with all four games being decided by one run
- The Rebels started with a 2-1 victory over Arkansas State in their first midweek game of the season.
- Sophomore left-hander Evan Anderson picked up the win, going five innings and allowing just one run on one hit and two walks while also adding four strikeouts to his stat line. Freshman Will Stokes closed out the game to earn the first save of his career.
- After the midweek victory, the Rebels hit the road for the first time this season, taking on an undefeated UCF team that was ranked 15th in the nation.
- In the series opener Friday night, Ole Miss saw the Knights rally from a four-run deficit before a walk-off base hit in the bottom of the ninth lifted UCF to the 5-4 decision.
- Errol Robinson's diving catch and flip for a double play was No. 2 on Sportscenter's Top 10 Plays Friday night, Feb. 27.
- Due to inclement weather on Saturday, Ole Miss and UCF played in a doubleheader on Sunday. It marked the third straight weekend the Rebels played a doubleheader, and for the third time, Ole Miss split the two games. The Rebels fell, 3-2, in a shortened 7-inning game one before claiming the series finale, 4-3.
- The Sunday victory gave UCF its first loss of the season. Florida natives Tate Blackman, Colby Bortles and Sikes Orvis recorded all four RBI in the win. Blackman doubled in the first run of the game, and Bortles hit his second homer of the season. Orvis also played long ball with a solo shot of his own before drawing a bases-loaded walk in the top of the ninth that brought in the winning run.
- Ole Miss dropped a pair of games last week versus Georgia and at LSU, snapping its school record four-game SEC road winning streak.
- With one more win, Ole Miss will reach 20 wins for the seventh time in nine seasons under head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels recorded just seven 20-win campaigns in the 96 seasons before Kennedy's arrival.
- The Rebels have 35 wins against SEC foes over the last three years trailing only Florida and Kentucky in the SEC.
- Ole Miss ranks fourth in the nation in free throw percentage, hitting 77.6 percent of its attempts. The Rebels have hit 326 of their last 416 (.784) attempts from the line. Junior guard Stefan Moody leads the SEC and ranks fifth in the nation shooting 91.2 percent from the free throw line.
- Head coach Andy Kennedy is tied with Alabama's Wimp Sanderson for the third-most wins in SEC history with by a coach in his first nine years in the league at one school with 190. He trails only Kentucky's Joe B. Hall (205) and Florida's Billy Donovan (193).
- Junior guard Stefan Moody averaged 25.5 ppg and knocked down 14 3-pointers in wins over MSU and Tennessee en route to his second SEC Player of the Week honor of the month. Moody is averaging 19.6 ppg over his last nine games and leads the SEC in scoring in league play at 18.4 ppg.
- Senior guard Jarvis Summers is tied for the lead the league in assists in SEC play at 5.3/game and has posted 75 assists in his last 13 games.
- Summers is the SEC active career leader in points (1,580), assists (500), minutes (3,730) and wins (82), and is just the fifth player in SEC history with 1,500 career points and 500 career assists.
- Ole Miss rose to No. 10 in the ITA National Rankings last week, their highest ranking since ending the 2013 season in the top 10. The Rebels finished the week 4-0 including wins over Tulane and No. 16 Vanderbilt to improve to 9-2 overall, 1-0 in the SEC.
- Senior Nik Scholtz went a combined 5-0 in doubles and singles on the week, including wins over the No. 14 ranked and No. 9 ranked players in singles. His come-from-behind win over No. 9 Gonzales Austin clinched the Rebels' 4-0 victory against the Commodores. He improved to 7-1 at No. 1 singles.
- Freshman Grey Hamilton came up big in his first SEC match, serving twice to stay in it at No. 3 doubles and then hitting a forehand winner down the line at 5-5 in the tiebreaker, setting up Scholtz' to serve it out for the first point of the match.
- The Rebels are a combined 14-3 at the two spots in the lineup, as junior Stefan Lindmark owns a 7-2 mark at No. 2 singles. He won both his doubles and singles to help in the win over Vanderbilt.
- The Rebels have now won 10 of the last 11 meetings against Vanderbilt.
- Ole Miss is coming off a 4-1 performance at the Felsberg Invitational hosted by FIU this past weekend in Miami.
- The Rebels' 12-5 start is the best through 17 games since posting the same mark to open the 2010 season.
- With a pair of one-run wins this past weekend, the Rebels have played in seven one-run games with a 5-2 record.
- Ole Miss has played 18 consecutive games on the road and will play 21-of-22 on the road to open the season.
- The Rebels have four players hitting over the .350 mark, paced by sophomore OF Miranda Strother at a .537 clip.
- Sophomore P Emily Gaitan helped lead the Rebels at FIU, posting a 3-1 record and is now 7-1 with a 1.53 ERA.
- The Ole Miss women rose to No. 15 in the rankings last week, their highest ranking since 1999.
- The Rebels opened SEC play on the road at No. 25 Kentucky and No. 13 Vanderbilt and lost a tight match to the Wildcats, 4-3, before dropping a 6-1 decision to the Commodores to close out the road trip.
- Senior Julia Jones, ranked No. 14, went 1-1 in singles and picked up her 93rd career last Friday in the loss to Kentucky. She is now 19-5 overall and 9-2 at No. 1 singles.
- Ole Miss hosted the Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) Championships this past weekend and finished fifth overall with a 4613 aggregate.
- Freshman Jessica Haig led the Rebels with a personal best 579 in smallbore followed by a 590 in air rifle. She finished with the 11th best combined score in her first conference championships.
- Sophomore Sarah Emery shot a career-best 584 in air rifle.
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."
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Feb. 10-16, 2015
- Ole Miss saw its six-game winning streak snapped with a one-point loss to No. 23 Arkansas Saturday night. Junior guard Stefan Moody and senior forward M.J. Rhett each scored 16 points to lead the Rebels, but Ole Miss fell in the last seconds to the Razorbacks.
- That 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.
- Moody scored a game-high 18 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds on the clock to lift Ole Miss to a 62-61 win over Florida.
- The Rebels overcame a five-point halftime deficit to knock off the Gators, thanks to Moody, who was 5-of-10 shooting from the floor - including a 4-for-7 mark from 3-point range - and senior G LaDarius White, who scored 16 points off the bench.
- The win marked the Rebels first in Gainesville since 1999 and gave Ole Miss its first season sweep of the Gators since 1990.
- Ole Miss ranks second in the nation in free throw percentage, hitting 78.9 percent of its attempts, which would rank second in the NBA. The Rebels have hit 280 of their last 347 (.807) attempts from the line.
- Moody leads the SEC and ranks seventh in the nation shooting 90.4 percent from the free throw line.
- Ole Miss started the season winning two out of three against William & Mary, improving to 14-1 in season openers under head Coach Mike Bianco
- The Rebels have now won 11 season-opening weekend series during the Bianco era
- Ole Miss recorded 11 doubles during the series to tie for the most in the SEC
- The Rebels clinched the series with a 16-2 victory in game two of Saturday's doubleheader, the most runs scored by Ole Miss since facing Arkansas State last season, May 13, 2014
- J.B. Woodman smacked three doubles in the series finale, becoming the first Rebel to accomplish that feat since Alex Yarbrough did it against Arkansas, April 20, 2012
- Ole Miss ranks second in the nation in attendance in 2015 after bringing in an average of 8,489 fans during three games over the weekend for a total attendance of 25,469
- Senior forward Tia Faleru is 10 rebounds shy of her 800th career rebound. She will become one of seven players with 1,000 points and 800 rebounds and 150 steals.
- Additionally, Faleru is approaching her 100th career assist and should she reach that, she will become one of a mere four players in program history with 1000 points, 800 rebounds, 150 steals and 100 assists.
- With her 18 points and 15 rebounds against Missouri, Faleru picked up her 30th career double-double. It moved her into the top five all-time at Ole Miss and gave her 10 double-doubles on the season. After going three straight games without a double-double, she has posted one in two of the last three games.
-A'Queen Hayes had a career-high 16 points against Missouri for her eighth game in double figures this season and her first since scoring 12 against Mississippi State.
- Fellow freshman Kiara Golden knocked down two triples against Missouri for her first points against an SEC foe and her third game with multiple three-pointers this season.
- Ole Miss posted a 3-1 performance at the Battle at the Beach this past weekend, winning the tournament with victories over Iowa State, St. Bonaventure and Coastal Carolina.
- Junior OF Bri Payne tied the school record for RBI in a game with six RBI against Iowa State on February 14, tying the mark set by DeDe Justice in the 2003 season.
- Three Rebels were named to the All-Tournament team, including junior OF Bri Payne, sophomore OF Miranda Strother and freshman OF Elantra Cox.
- Strother hit .586 for the weekend, while Cox hit .571 and Payne turned in a .556 performance with eight RBI, sparked by a grand slam in the first inning against Iowa State.
- With the offensive outburst that led to the three-game win streak to close out the weekend, the Rebels now have four players hitting above .300 for the season - four over .400.
- Srother leads the Rebel offense, batting at a .533 clip for the year with five RBI and a team-leading seven runs scored, joining with Elantra Cox to hit above .500 on the year.
- Senior P Lauren Lindsey picked up her first win and save of the year, working 6.0 innings with no earned runs on Saturday in a win vs. Iowa State and save vs. Coastal Carolina.
- Sophomore P Emily Gaitan improved to 3-0 on the season with a win over St. Bonaventure with one earned run and a career-high 12 strikeouts against the Bonnies.
- The No. 24 Rebels won a pair of matches over the weekend, downing Tulane 6-1 and defeating William & Mary 5-2 to improve to 8-1 on the season.
- The 8-1 start equals their best start since the 1997 season.
- Senior Julia Jones rose to No. 7 in the nation this past week in the singles rankings and earned the highest ranking for a Rebel since two-time All-American Kristi Boxx was ranked No. 9 on April 10, 2012.
- The No. 19 Rebels participated in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships this past weekend. They lost a close 4-1 match to No. 2 Oklahoma, who made the final, and then rallied to defeat No. 10 UCLA 4-3 on Saturday. The Rebels concluded play with a 4-0 loss to No. 6 Duke.
- Stefan Lindmark was up in the third set and Vinod Gowda had split when Oklahoma clinched 10-8 in the third set tiebreaker at No. 4 singles.
- Senior Nik Scholtz picked up another ranked this weekend, beating Oklahoma's Andrew Harris, who is ranked No. 26.
Track & Field
- The Rebels had their final tuneups for the SEC Indoor Championships at two of the best track meets of the season this past weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas (Tyson Invitational) and Seattle, Washington (Husky Classic).
- Ole Miss athletes achieved a total of 15 personal-best marks between the two meets.
- Among the highlights for the men were Branden Greene's personal-best 7-1 in the high jump (ranks him fourth in school history), Craig Engels' personal-best 4:01.19 in the mile (ranks him fourth in school history) and MJ Erb's personal-best 14:11.34 in the 5,000 meters (ranks him fourth in school history).
- The women were led by personal bests from Shannon Ray in the 200 (23.92, ranks her fourth in school history) and Mary Alex England in the 5,000 (16:49.86, ranks her second in school history).
- Ole Miss men that rank top 40 in the NCAA are Jalen Miller in the 60 (3rd, 6.55), Robert Domanic in the mile (38th, 4:00.62), Robert Semien in the 60 hurdles (36th, 7.90), the distance medley relay (18th, 9:40.51), Branden Greene in the high jump (20th, 7-1), Adam Aguirre in the high jump (37th, 7-0.25) and Phillip Young in the long jump (23rd, 24-9) and triple jump (7th, 52-9.5).
- Ole Miss women that rank top 40 in the NCAA are Brooke Feldmeier in the 800 (9th, 2:05.27), Kierra White in the long jump (40th, 19-9.5) and Fabia McDonald in the pentathlon (17th, 4,057).
- The Rebels dropped a pair of matches this past weekend, falling to Navy at home before traveling to Jacksonville State.
- Freshman Jessica Haig turned in a career-best performance in air rifle against Navy with a 591. She then fired a personal best 573 in smallbore on Sunday.
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 #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.
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:
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
National Signing Day has come and gone, the Mike Smith Era began in earnest, and the men's basketball team has run its winning streak to five games, its longest win streak since the 2012-13, when the Rebels won the SEC Tournament Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- Head coach Hugh Freeze and his staff won some and lost some on National Signing Day, as they put together a 22-member class, ranked as high as No. 15 in the nation (247Sports.com), and as low as No. 21 in the nation (RIvals.com). The class included 18 players rated a four-star prospect or higher by at least one recruiting service, the most in program history, including offensive lineman Javon Patterson and wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge, the seventh and eighth five-star prospect signed under Freeze
"You lose some battles when you are battling for some of the nation's best," Freeze said. "Every school does. We had a few of those, but we also won many, many battles for kids who really wanted to be at Ole Miss and this program representing this great university. I'm excited to get to work with them."
- Among the battles won were the last three players signed in Lodge, who announced his college decision live on ESPNU, choosing the Rebels over Texas and Texas A&M, defensive lineman Austrian Robinson, who chose them over Maryland, and wide receiver Van Jefferson, the son of 13-year NFL veteran Shawn Jefferson, who chose them over Georgia, Michigan and Oklahoma, as well as linebacker Shawn Curtis, who flipped his commitment from Pittsburgh.
- Speaking to some of the recruiting battles lost, Freeze said he and his staff will revisit the entire recruiting process, including allowing commitments to take other visits, gong through every kid on their board and talking about the outcome, the good and the bad, why it did not their way in the end, and could they have done anything different. On a related note, looking ahead to 2016, Freeze said of addressing needs on the offensive line, defensive line and linebacker with mid-year signees, whether it's JUCO or high school players.
- One of the more underrated aspects of the 2015 signing class are the five mid-year enrollees, a group that includes the top junior college quarterback (Chad Kelly), defensive lineman (D.J. Jones) and cornerback (Tony Bridges). All three players, as well as junior college linebacker Terry Caldwell and early enrollee Javon Patterson are expected to feature prominently in spring practice and push for playing time come the fall.
- In case you missed it, here's a National Signing Day link roundup of videos and stories related to the signing class as a whole and videos and stories related to individual signees.
- The men's basketball team extended its winning streak to five games, defeating Texas A&M 69-59 Wednesday night, its third top-50 RPI win of the season, and then going on the road and defeating Auburn 86-79, moving to 3-2 in SEC road games this season. With the wins, the Rebels remain in a three-way tie for second place in the SEC standings and moved up to No. 37 in the latest RPI rankings released by the NCAA.
- The story against Texas A&M was a locked-in defensive effort, holding the Aggies' two leading scorers, Jalen Jones and Danuel House, to a combined 14 points on 5-of-19 shooting, and two key 3-point plays by LaDarius White and M.J. Rhett to push the lead to 59-50 with 6:26 left.
- LaDarius White led the way with 20 points, making big play after big play, but it was a team effort throughout the lineup, as five Rebels finished in double figures in the win over Auburn. The nation's top free-throw shooting team, the Rebels closed out the game from the line, going 10-of-12 in the final 1:28 to finish 28-of-38 for the game.
"Ole Miss is really comfortable with their nine players," Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. "That's what makes them a really good and a contender is that they don't drop off at all when they go to their bench."
- Watching the Ole Miss-Auburn game on television, you could sense the energy in Auburn Arena, whether it was the memories of the Marshall Henderson jersey-pop, or the culture change under first-year head coach Bruce Pearl. The Pavilion at Ole Miss, set to open next season, will have a similar design and capacity, so fans watching the game got a taste of what the game day atmosphere might be like next season.
- Looking ahead, the Rebels have their first of two Thursday-Saturday swings, traveling to Florida on Thursday and playing host to Arkansas on Saturday. The Gators are ranked No. 67 in the latest RPI rankings and No. 35 in the latest KenPom.com ratings, while the Razorbacks are ranked No. 25 in the RPI and No. 31 in KenPom.
- The women's basketball team, looking for its first win at Vanderbilt since Jan. 8, 1987, led for 27:00, leading by as many as 16 early in the second half, but the Rebels were unable to overcome 42 second-half points from the Commodores in a 58-54 loss on Thursday night.
- Ole Miss, now 14-9 overall and 4-6 in SEC play, has six regular season remaining, starting with a home game against No. 6 Tennessee on Thursday. Head coach Matt Insell has said his team likely needs to get to at least eight SEC wins to garner NCAA Tournament consideration, so the Rebels likely need at least a split of the final six regular season games.
- The Ole Miss softball team kicked off the Mike Smith Era with six games in four days at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Arizona, going 3-3 with wins over San Jose State, Fresno State and Western Michigan. The Rebels are on the road for five games in three days next weekend, before returning home for the Red and Blue Classic (Feb. 20-22), playing host to UT-Martin, Nebraska-Omaha, Southern Illinois and Middle Tennessee State.
- The Ole Miss baseball team opens the 2015 season next weekend with a three-game home series against William & Mary, starting with the series opener Friday at 4 p.m. The Ole Miss baseball preseason press conference is set for Monday, so stay tuned for more coverage leading up to the season opener.
- The No. 24 ranked Ole Miss women's tennis picked up a pair of road wins, defeating No. 29 Texas Tech and No. 32 Rice. The Rebels return home for each of their next three matches, starting with Tulane on Friday (2 p.m.), before opening SEC play on Friday, Feb. 27 with a road match at Kentucky.
- The No. 19 ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team was off this past weekend, returning to action Monday for its home opener against Troy, before traveling to Chicago for the ITA National Team Indoor (Feb. 13-16).
Classes started on the Ole Miss campus this past week, as the men's and women's basketball teams enter the heart of Southeastern Conference play. Some of the spring sports have started their 2015 seasons, while others are gearing up for the start of their seasons. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:
- Selection Sunday is more than a month away, but in a battle of teams on the fringe of the NCAA Tournament discussion, the Ole Miss men's basketball team downed Florida 72-71 on Saturday. Going into the matchup, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi tweeted, "The loser here is pretty much toast from an NCAA tournament perspective."
- Through six SEC games, Ole Miss is 3-3, having played six of the top eight teams from the league, according to KenPom.com. The Rebels, themselves, are the third-highest rated team (No. 34). Looking ahead, return trips at home against Arkansas and Georgia and a road game LSU loom large for the team's NCAA Tournament chances.
"It's good for our confidence," said head coach Andy Kennedy of the win. "We're not as confident of a group as I would have hoped despite some of our early wins that show we are a good basketball team. You have to be able to stack wins at this time of the year. It was obviously a vital game for us."
- Preseason All-SEC first team selection Jarvis Summers proved clutch for the Rebels, scoring each of the team's last four points, the first two on a step-back jumper from just inside the 3-point line and the last two on a pair of free throws with 3.5 seconds left after driving into the lane.
"Coach (Kennedy) always tells me to go right," Summers said. "That's my strength. I just listened to him this game and tried to make a play."
- In a similar situation, tied 77-77 on the road at No. 1 Kentucky, Summers settled for a contested 3-pointer, which was off the mark, and the Wildcats went on to win 89-86 in overtime. That was not the case Saturday against Florida.
"I beat myself up after that game," Summers said. "I just had to move forward. I told myself if I ever got in that situation again, I was going to keep going to the hole and be aggressive."
- Here's a good read on Stefan Moody from Hugh Kellenberger of The Clarion-Ledger. Check it out.
- Playing its third straight opponent ranked opponent, Ole Miss came up just short, falling to Mississippi State 64-62 on a last-second shot on Thursday night. Ole Miss went 1-2 over the three-game stretch, knocking off Georgia and losing to Texas A&M and Mississippi State by a combined 11 points. The Rebels are 14-6 overall, 4-3 in SEC play, likely needing to get to at least eight SEC wins to garner NCAA Tournament consideration.
- The result was not what head coach Matt Insell and the team wanted, but a lively crowd of 3,383 provided one of the better, if not the best, atmospheres I have experienced in five-plus years around the women's basketball program. Insell has tirelessly promoted his program, including going door-to-door on Fraternity Row the night before the Mississippi State game, and it showed Thursday.
"First, I want to thank Rebel Nation," Insell said. "What a great crowd that was. I think Oxford, Mississippi and Rebel Nation just really showed up for us tonight. They showed us how much they cared about this basketball game. The crowd was into the game the entire time. I just want to thank everyone that came."
- A lot has been written and said about The Pavilion at Ole Miss. Here's an infographic comparing it to Tad Smith Coliseum. Notice the concessions in the bottom right corner that includes the addition of Raising Cane's to the menu.
- The Ole Miss baseball team held its first spring practice on Friday and its first intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday. Here's a pretty thorough preview from Kendall Rogers on the Rebels, which are ranked No. 18 in the D1Baseball.com's preseason top 25 rankings. Don't forget, Ole Miss opens the 2015 season with a three-game home series against William & Mary, starting Friday, Feb. 13 at 4 p.m C.T.
- The lowest-ranked team in its four-team regional in Gainesville, Florida, the Ole Miss men's tennis team notched two big wins over No. 13 Florida and No. 29 South Carolina. The Rebels rallied from down 3-0 to defeat the Gators 4-3 and closed out the weekend with a 4-2 win over the Gamecocks to advance to the ITA National Team Indoor Final 16.
- The men's tennis team was bolstered by the return of senior Nik Scholtz, a three-time All-American and the reigning SEC Player of the Year. Unranked because he did not play in the fall, Scholtz defeated the 34th-ranked and 71st-ranked players this past weekend. For more on Scholtz and his decision to return to Ole Miss for his senior season, click here.
- Former Ole Miss players Cody Prewitt and Senquez Golson showed out at the Senior Bowl this week. They impressed coaches, scouts and media members, among others. Next up is the NFL Scouting Combine (Feb. 17-23). For more on their week at the Senior Bowl, click here and here.
- Another former Rebel, the New England Patriots' Brandon Bolden, will be playing in the Super Bowl next Sunday (5:30 p.m. CT, NBC). I caught up with Bolden earlier this week, so look for more on him in the days leading up to the Super Bowl.
- In case you missed it, with the start of classes, the Ole Miss football has been updated to reflect six mid-year additions, including freshman offensive lineman Javon Patterson, a U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection from Pearl, Mississippi. Looking ahead, National Signing Day (Feb. 4) is a week and a half away, so stay tuned.
On the transition as new hitting coach:
The transition has been really good. The coaching staff has made it a lot easier on me than what it could be. It's definitely been a whirlwind.
On what he knew about Ole Miss before taking the job:
I definitely had a lot of respect from afar for Coach Bianco and his program. I knew more than I thought I would because Ben Fleming, the strength and conditioning coach, was with me at Kansas State and we overlapped by a year for the 2013 season, and I kept in touch with him, so it was nice to know him through the process. Mike Bianco's work speaks for itself with 14 years and what he's done, continuing to build and getting to Omaha last year. I got to see them play quite a few times. They were a lot of fun to watch and played with a blue-collar mentality and a chip on their shoulder, and that's something I want to be a part of.
On what he looks to add and what he brings from his previous coaching experience:
It's a good fit because I pride myself on the mentality part of coaching. I want a bunch of guys who are going to blue collar and play with a chip on their shoulder, really play the game and outwork their opponent. I pride myself on that as a coach, and I hope our offense is going to pride themselves on that as well. I bring that dynamic to the staff. We have a bunch of good players and a bunch of good recruits, and I feel really good about where the program is right now.
On the reception on the road from fans and recruits:
Things are different when you put the script "Ole Miss" across your chest. That's no disrespect to Kansas State. I was in Atlanta last week recruiting, and I had to call back to the office and ask Andrew Case, our director of operations, what Hotty Toddy meant because I got six or eight Hotty Toddy's the first day I had the shirt on. To be honest, I wasn't sure what they were saying, if they cursing at me, or they were happy, or what they were, so I had to get an education on that. The response has been unbelievable. It's been overwhelmingly positive. People have been very supportive around town for the little bit that I have been here. It's really exciting to get going. It's going to be a great experience for my wife and I.
On summer workouts and talking to current players about the upcoming season:
I have talked to them quite a bit. I have been able to reach out to quite a few of our position players, especially the older guys. The coaching staff and the returning players are really excited about hopefully taking that next step. We want to be the last team standing in Omaha, not one of the last four teams. That's our goal, and that's the goal for a lot of teams, especially in this league. It's a dogfight, and you can't get to that goal without doing your job in the summer and fall. It's an exciting time, and the confidence is at an all-time high, probably, for his program, and that can be attributed to last year's team.
On what's needed to take Ole Miss to the next level:
We're on the right track. We're in a very good spot. It goes back to recruiting and getting the most talented players that you can find. But more so than the talent part of it, the best teams are the teams who can match the talent part of it with guys who are willing to give up a little something of themselves for something greater. That's why it was fun to watch Ole Miss baseball from afar because you could tell it was team and those guys loved playing with one another. If we can keep on that track, the sky is the limit, not only for this team this year, but the program and the future.
On being a former catcher on staff with two other former catchers in Mike Bianco and Carl Lafferty:
When you're a catcher, you're at the only position on the field, where everyone is looking to you. That's important. You're supposed to be a leader. I was not an elite baseball player. I was a pretty average player, and that's OK. One of the good things about that was I had to work pretty hard for everything I got and that helped me in my coaching career. They would say the same thing about being a former catcher. If you look around at the managers in the major leagues and minor leagues, there are a lot of former catchers because of the responsibility placed on that position.
On his younger brother, Jeff, and what he has learned from him and his major league baseball experience:
He's my best friend and we talk a couple of times a week. He had a whole different experience than what I did as an average player. He saw the other end of the spectrum. We talk often and he has a perspective of the Stephen Head's and Seth Smith's of the world, those types of people. He had an unbelievable college career, and he was an All-American and a high draft pick, and he was fortunate and blessed enough to play in the big leagues for parts of four seasons. He provides some valuable advice from his experience, but more than anything, he's really excited that I have this opportunity.
On his relationship and previous work experience with Ben Fleming:
It's important for me in the transition because I can bounce a lot off of him. The one year we worked together, we had a pretty special year at Kansas State and made it to the Super Regional and had the best year in school history. I trust his opinion. He's relentless in the way he works with kids. Coach Bianco really values him and what he does. It's good to have some familiarity with someone in this program getting here. I can't help but have a good relationship with Carl Lafferty. It didn't take long to build that because we were the two guys out on the road and recruiting.
On recruiting and how Carl Lafferty has helped in the transition:
It's a tough transition when you go from one part of the country to another part of the country and trying to land on your feet and hit the ground running. What's made it an easy transition is Carl. He's very gifted on the road. He has an unbelievable ability to know players and know everything about them. He knows who they are, who they play for, and where they're from. When you have someone as gifted as Carl is from a recruiting standpoint, it makes the transition a lot easier, that's for sure.
On the plan for the rest of the summer and preparation for fall practice:
The important thing, as we move forward before school starts, is to build relationships with players. That's what I believe most of coaching is. If I can start to build relationships and get these guys to trust me and what I'm all about and help them understand that I'm willing to work with them, everything will take off from there. I'm confident that will happen. Outside of recruiting, which is the life blood of the program, I want to build relationships with our current players and hit the ground running once school starts in late August.
On what fans should expect from the offense:
We want be aggressive in a lot of different ways. It can be driving the ball out of the yard, driving the ball in the gaps and stealing bases. I want to be really sound in every aspect of our offense, whether that's the ability to hit and run, steal bases and get down bunts. We want to hit the ball in the gaps because if you can do that, balls will go out of the yard and you will be able to do some things offensively. We're going to be uptempo and really aggressive and take the fight to the other team from the offensive side of things.
On the new ball and how it changes the game:
I don't know if it will change my philosophy as a hitting coach, but it will change the game. I trust what the NCAA is doing and there needed to be a change. I think the new ball is going to make a difference. Hopefully, in our ballpark, it makes the difference with a lot more beer showers for our team.
Former Ole Miss player Zack Cozart, now a member of the Cincinnati Reds, was named the best defensive shortstop in baseball for the first half of the 2014 season. ESPN Insider Scott Spratt selected one player from either league at each position.
Here is what Spratt had to say about Cozart:
"Cozart is the hottest fielder in the sport. He has saved 12 runs since the start of June, the most in baseball over that time frame. He has increased his overall Runs Saved total to 17, tied for second-most at any position. Where Pedroia stands out by making unexpected plays, Cozart excels by rarely making mistakes. He has just 10 Defensive Misplays/Errors (DMEs) in 757 innings, which is the lowest rate among middle infielders with a minimum of 400 innings this season."
Here's a sampling of Cozart's glove work in the first half of the 2014 season:
For ESPN Insider subscribers, here's the link to the full article: First-half Defensive All-Stars