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Chadwick'sTop Moments: No. 10

gatoradebath.jpgMoving along chronologically, today we delve into the top 10 moments of Ole Miss men's tennis coach Billy Chadwick continuing with the 2005 season, which was one of the most exciting seasons in Ole Miss tennis history.

In 2005, the Rebels would capture their second consecutive Southeastern Conference Championship and fourth overall (1996, 1997 and 2004).  The Rebels posted a 10-1 conference record, highlighted by wins over No. 12 Kentucky, No. 20 Auburn, No. 7 Florida and No. 20 Mississippi State.  The Rebels would claim the SEC in thrilling fashion.  On the last day of the regular season, Chadwick and the Rebels marched into Starkville and clinched the SEC with a 4-3 win over their arch-rival, making it the 10th straight win over MSU for Chadwick and the Rebs.  The Rebels won the SEC West as well, bringing their record against SEC West opponents to a dominant 20-0 since the 2002 season.

The Rebels were paced by team captain Catalin Gard, who opened the season ranked No. 1 in the country, junior Juan Pablo Di Cesare, along with freshman phenoms Erling Tveit, Jakob Klaeson and Bram ten Berge.  Di Cesare won the clincher in Starkville to propel the Rebels to the SEC title.  Tveit made his presence known early and often, going 9-2 in the SEC as a freshman and earning All-SEC honors.  Klaeson and ten Berge were instrumental as a doubles tandem, posting an 18-9 overall doubles record.

Winning the rigid Southeastern Conference was just the beginning of the success that the Rebels would encounter throughout the magical 2005 season.  Tune back in on Friday as we divulge the depths in which this Rebel squad went in the postseason.

Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis.

Special assistance from Media Relations student Wesley Boock.

Chadwick's Top Moments: No. 11

halftimeum04.jpgOn this Monday we take a look at moment No. 11 of the top moments in Billy Chadwick's career.  This moment encompasses a year full of great accomplishments that Chadwick made the norm for the Ole Miss tennis program.  

In 2004, the Rebels enjoyed yet another extremely successful season.  The Rebels won the program's third overall Southeastern Conference Championship, featuring the SEC Player of the Year, Catalin Gard, and SEC Coach of the Year, Billy Chadwick.  The Rebels finished conference play with a 9-2 record, highlighted by wins over No. 15 Vanderbilt, No. 17 Georgia and No. 13 LSU, including an undefeated record against SEC West foes.  The Rebels spent four weeks throughout the season ranked ranked No. 2 in the country and finished the season ranked No. 5.

Senior Catalin Gard went 10-1 in league play at No. 1 singles, en route to becoming the third Rebel to win SEC POY honors, joining Mahesh Bhupathi (1995) and Johan Hede (1996).  Coach Chadwick earned his second SEC COY honor (1996) after guiding the Rebels to a 22-5 overall record, a Southeastern Conference title and a No. 5 final ranking.  

On Wednesday, we will break into the top 10 moments, beginning chronologically in 2005, in which Chadwick and the Rebels reached familiar and some not so familiar milestones.  Stay tuned to check them out in our list of the top 10 moments of coach Billy Chadwick.

Baseball Scorecards Tell the Story

Earlier this baseball season, Ole Miss tied a game on a dropped fly ball with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, which was a case of deja vu for Ole Miss fan Curtis Wilkie, who remembered the same thing happening in a game seven years earlier.

What helped him remember? He always keeps score at baseball games, whether it is the major leagues or Ole Miss, as he shows scorecards piled up in his office in Farley Hall on campus.

"I remember and other people there remembered a previous game, and I was pretty sure it was a Friday night game against Georgia, but I couldn't remember which year," Wilkie said. "I got the media guide and looked up previous series we played against Georgia and found it immediately. I remembered we won the game, so I was able to pull the scorebook for that year out and flip to it, and it was right there. It's fun to be able to do that."

Every fan that keeps a scorebook has a story. 

Wilkie has been keeping score since he was 10, and by the time he was in the sixth or seventh grade he was the official scorekeeper for Summit High School in Summit, Miss.

"It's something not a lot of people do, but I have found it as a good way to keep up with the game," Wilkie said. "If I go to major league games, I will generally buy a scorecard and keep score. Since I was in high school, I don't think I have done it as systematically as I do now with the Ole Miss team. I keep score of every game I go to and I have my own scorebook that I make."

Another resident scorekeeper is Juanita Skinner, originally from Baldwyn, Miss., who now lives in Oxford. She went to Ole Miss in the late '50's and early '60's, and then started keeping score for the junior high baseball team when she was a teacher and counselor for 39-plus years at Colonial Junior High and Overton High School in Memphis.

"Up here, I was keeping it just on a plain piece of paper, and Coach Bianco's father, Ron, sat at the table and we all talked, and he said, 'You need a real scorebook,' " Skinner said. "He was the one that got me back keeping the score in an official scorebook about three years ago. I did it because I concentrated on the game. Not everybody is here for the ball game; a lot of people are here to socialize. As long as I'm keeping score, I'm concentrating on the ball game, and that's why I got started doing it."

Behind home plate, there is a scattering of fans keeping score. There's David Robinson, who's been an Ole Miss baseball season-ticket holder since Pat Harrison was coach in the late '90's. 

Like so many others, it helps him stay focused on the game. When he sees the batter step to the plate, he know what they did in their previous at-bats, and he keeps a pitch count, so he can tell when the pitcher is going to start tiring out. However, he had a rather unique start to his scorekeeping.

"The honest truth is I wound up coaching my son's little league teams, and I would bring the book here and keep the book here to teach myself how to keep up with keeping a book for his game," Robinson said. "A college baseball game can last four hours, but if you're keeping a scorebook, it feels like it was only an hour and a half."

A couple of rows up from Robinson, behind home plate and right below the press box, you can find Shannon Lovejoy keeping score. Similar to Wilkie, she's been keeping a book since she was 9 when her father took her to a California Angels game and taught her how. Since then she has done it for every game she has gone to and has been coming to Ole Miss baseball games since the '80's.

"You can look at a complete scorecard and you can recreate the game," Lovejoy said. "That's pretty cool. I also watch the pitcher and keep the pitch count. I have people who text me all through the game to see what the pitch count is. The people who are season-ticket holders know I'm totally focused in on the game, so they don't engage me in a lot of conversation during a game."

And then there's Don Sheffield, who everyone calls "coach," who was a football manager at Ole Miss from 1958-62 before getting into coaching, which he did for about 10 years in northeast Mississippi. 

He remembers being asked in the summer of 1963 to coach a community baseball team of pee-wees and junior players in Dorsey, Miss., where he grew up, and he coached them to a championship, after which he went back to school to finish up his degree in physical education, so he could teach and coach.

"All during the time I was coaching, you had your own scorebook for your team, so I got accustomed to keeping score," Sheffield said. "It keeps me into the game. If I'm sitting here watching the game and I get to talking to somebody I lose what's happening in the game, but if I'm keeping score, I'm mentally into the game and I know what's happening. Another reason for doing it is I have a small Ole Miss message board, and so, if I want to make a comment about the baseball game, I want accuracy in what I say about the game."

Whether it's keeping up with the game, remembering past games or settling arguments and debating points, every fan and every scorecard has a story. You just have to find them.

VIDEO: Ole Miss-LSU Highlights

Sam Smith posted his eighth straight quality start, but it was not enough, as LSU shut out Ole Miss 2-0 Saturday afternoon to take the three-game series. It was the first time that the Rebels had been shutout since a 4-0 loss to Memphis on April 15 last season, and the six hits were the second-lowest output of the season.

"They came straight at us, attacking us," Will Allen said. "Early on, we hit a lot good balls, but they just weren't finding holes. That's baseball. They're a good team and they have good arms, but we're a better offense than that. We have to execute better than that. We know that. We're more talented than that. We have done our jobs for the majority of the whole, but today was not our day. We didn't really come out and get after it like we always have been and striking first."

"It was just a bad day offensively, which is not like us," head coach Mike Bianco said. "I really felt like this weekend wasn't like us. Unfortunately today, it was one of those bad offensive days that happens in baseball over 56 games. We just really couldn't mount anything. We had a few base hits here or there, but we really didn't threaten at all."

Smith, a native of Lake Charles, La., pitched into the eighth inning and left with a 2-0 deficit after he allowed a solo home run to Conner Hale to lead off the inning, which snapped a streak of 10 straight retired batters for him. 

He allowed two runs -- both earned -- on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts in a career-long 7.1 innings. With the loss, Ole Miss is 5-3 during his streak of eight straight quality starts.

"It's so disappointing for him individually," Bianco said. "I know he just wants to win. It's not about his win or loss; it's about our success. What can you say? Every third game, he gives you great effort. He really didn't have his stuff today. 

"I don't know if he touched 90 (mph). If he did, it was just a few pitches in the 90s, where usually he's all over 90-93, but he hung in there. It wasn't his best day stuff-wise, but it was one of his gutsier performances. He gave us every opportunity, but we couldn't do anything offensively."

LSU's starting pitcher, Alden Cartwright, retired the first nine Ole Miss batters in order and left with a 1-0 lead after four innings. For the game, Ole Miss leadoff hitters were 0-for-9, and the Rebels were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.

Ole Miss threatened in the fourth with back-to-back one-out singles by Auston Bousfield and Austin Anderson, but Will Allen grounded into an inning-ending double play. 

"It was up and in, and honestly I shouldn't have swung at it," said Allen of his at-bat in the fourth. "That was my fault. That was really an inning that we could have put together and score some runs and put some pressure on them."

Sikes Orvis hit a two-out double in the seventh, but Ole Miss could not get him home, and then in the ninth, trailing 2-0, the Rebels got the would-be game-winning run to the plate after a single by Anderson and two-walk by Orvis, but LSU's Kurt McCune got a groundout to close out the 2-0 win.

"It is frustrating but it's baseball," Allen said. "It's happened to us before and we have overcome it to win some ball games. It's happened to other teams. It's going to happen to every team. There's not really much you can do about it. You have to keep your head up and keep swinging."

"We lacked that punch," Bianco said. "We lacked that on Thursday night, where we have always been so good when the game is on the line. We just couldn't manage stuff, and that's going to happen. It happens at times in our game. We couldn't manage to put an inning together, we couldn't make the pitch at the right time, and we couldn't make the play to get off the field in a couple of innings. That's not us. You look at the weekend, even yesterday, we played better, but certainly not the way we have played at home until this point."


VIDEO: Ole Miss-LSU Highlights

LSU looked to have gotten out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, but right fielder Mark Laird dropped a fly ball in foul territory that would have been the final out and send the game to the fifth down just one run. 

Later in the at-bat, Auston Bousfield took advantage of extra life and knocked a 2-RBI single back up the middle to push the Ole Miss lead to 4-1, as the Rebels went on to even the series with a 5-1 win Friday night at Swayze Field.

"I was kind of kicking myself as the ball is in the air," Bousfield said. "Laird is a great outfielder. He made that great catch against Sikes (Orvis) last night that might have sealed the game for them. When he dropped it, I breathed a sigh of relief, and I had to lock back in and try to make it hurt and make them pay. I was able to get a pitch to hit, and I drove it up the middle and got a hit."

Bousfield later added a solo shot in the seventh, his fourth home run of the season, as he went 4-for-4 with three RBI, which tied his career high for hits. 

"Boz had a terrific night with the four hits, none bigger than the bases-loaded, two-strike hit, where it looked like we were going to squander an opportunity there for a second," head coach Mike Bianco said. "We tried to be a little too aggressive and tried a couple of push bunts, a couple of safety squeezes, that didn't work out. We don't execute, but then he gets the big two-out hit, and that's what it's all about."

Bousfield extended his hit streak to 10 games, hitting at a .404 clip during the stretch, and has multiple hits in five of his last seven games dating back to a 2-for-4 game on April 8 against Memphis. 

He also moved into the team lead with a .349 batting average and 86 total bases and continues to lead the team with 60 hits, which also leads the SEC. His 86 total bases is second only behind Kentucky's A.J. Reed who has 104 for the season.

"I was struggling a couple of weeks ago," Bousfield said. "I wasn't getting a lot of hits, but I feel like I was hitting balls hard but just hitting a lot of balls at people. I'm getting good swings off, and they're starting to fall a little bit more."

With the win, Ole Miss improves to 30-10 overall and 10-7 in league play, ahead of tomorrow's rubber game at 1 p.m. on Fox Sports Net.

"It evens the series, and tomorrow if we can come out and play our game, we still have a chance to take the series against a really good LSU team, so it's always big to win this game," Bousfield said.


 

For eight innings, Chris Ellis dueled Aaron Nola, the Southeastern Conference's leader in strikeouts (84) and earned run average (0.70) to a draw, as he left with the game with the score tied at 2-2.

It was the eighth time in 10 starts that Ellis allowed one earned run or less for the eighth time in 10 starts, as he lowered his earned run average from 1.81 to 1.72. He allowed two runs -- one earned -- on eight hits with two walks and six strikeouts, stranding nine runners on the base paths.

In the other dugout, Nola allowed two runs -- all earned -- on eight hits with two walks and seven strikeouts, as he threw a season-high 121 pitches in 7.2 innings of work. He has yet to allow more than two runs in any of his 10 starts this season.

"Both guys pitched terrific," head coach Mike Bianco said. "For Chris, it might have been his best outing of the year. Certainly, he pitched deep and did a great job with pressure-packed pitches. One of the ways that you beat Nola is you don't let them score. You keep the score low, so if you do scratch across a run or two, that will put you ahead or tie it up and get him out of the game. Certainly, Chris was terrific tonight."

The bullpens traded zeroes with the exception of the 11th, where each team scratched across a run and then the 13th, where LSU strung together a one-out double, followed by a walk, and then a fielding error to score what would be the game-winning run, the second unearned run allowed by Ole Miss during the game. 

"We had opportunities," head coach Mike Bianco said. "We have been on the right side of it several times. Today, it just didn't happen. We didn't get the big hit, we didn't make the big pitch, and we didn't make the play in the field."

"It's baseball," said Sikes Orvis, who went 2-for-5 with a solo home run. "We came out and played tough. We did everything we needed to do. I take that ground ball hit to Errol (Robinson) 9 times out of 10 that you roll it up. Baseball is a funny game. You get kicked in the teeth a lot playing it, but we'll bounce back tomorrow and be alright."

Two new mock drafts released this week has former wide receiver Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief being selected in the late second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, set for May 8-10.

NFL media analyst Bucky Brooks projects Moncrief to the San Francisco 49ers with the 56th overall pick in his latest mock draft.

"The 49ers need a speed receiver on the perimeter to open up the field for Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree," Brooks wrote. "Moncrief is a remarkable size-speed athlete, with the potential to slide into Boldin's spot when the veteran retires in a few seasons."

Here's the link to the full article, "Mock Draft 5.0: Jadeveon Clowney, AJ McCarronn to Texans"

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper, who previously slotted Moncrief to the Indianapolis Colts with the 59th overall pick in a "Grade A draft," projects him to the San Diego Chargers with the 57th overall pick in his latest mock draft.

"With the measurables of a player typically drafted much higher, Moncrief is one of the best size/speed equations in the draft, but he was inconsistent in 2013 and lands here," Kiper wrote. "San Diego isn't set at WR just because Keenan Allen had a good year. The Chargers are thin behind him."

For ESPN Insider subscribers, here's the link to the full article, "Kiper: Mock 4.0 goes two rounds"

Chadwick's Top Moments: No. 12

gardITA04.jpgWith Billy Chadwick's last  regular season in the books, the Rebels seem to be peeking and hoping to make a final postseason run for the legendary head coach.  Corresponding with such, we are also getting down to our final stretch of top moments from our beloved coach Chadwick.  We begin this week with a first-time moment from an individual player from 2004.

In that season, Catalin Gard became the first Rebel to win the ITA All-American title, capturing the singles crown.  Gard entered the 2004 fall season ranked as the No. 1 singles player in the country.  Proving his ranking, Gard captured the year's first national title, defeating Stanford and 2004 Pac-10 player of the year, Sam Warburg in the ITA All-American Championship final.  Gard would finish his career with 112 wins and earn All-America honors three-times.

Next, we will highlight a team accomplishment from the 2004 season.  Stay tuned to see what else Gard, Chadwick and the Rebels accomplished in what turned out to be another championship season. 

Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis.

Special assistance from Media Relations student, Wesley Boock.

Chadwick: 'We Control Our Destiny'

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One spot in the ITA national rankings can make all the difference. 

Last season, San Diego, ranked No. 44 in the country, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, while crosstown rival, San Diego State, ranked No. 45, was the highest ranked team left out of the 64-team field.

Ranked No. 53 in the country and likely needing a win over No. 10 Texas A&M to keep their postseason chances alive, Ole Miss played its most complete match of the season to knock off the Aggies 4-3 in legendary head coach Billy Chadwick's last SEC home match.

After the win, as well as a doubleheader sweep of Alcorn State, the Rebels moved up 10 spots to No. 43 in the country, ahead of Thursday's SEC Tournament match against No. 18 Tennessee in Nashville. In the first meeting in Knoxville, Ole Miss won 4-1 behind wins at Nos. 2, 4, 5 and 6 singles.

"If they were making the choice today, we might get in; we might not," Chadwick said. "We're ranked No. 43 in the country and traditionally they take 43 or 44 teams, in addition to the automatic bids that are ranked lower. We're walking the tightrope on it. We need to help ourselves and beat Tennessee."

Coaches often times talk about sense of urgency, such as men's basketball head coach Andy Kennedy referring to the team's 2013 NCAA Tournament run. For Chadwick, it's no different, led by the team's lone senior in Johan Backstrom and two-time All-American Nik Scholtz.

"You could see that when we played Texas A&M," Chadwick said. "They really played with a sense of urgency. We know that right now we control our destiny, and if we want to make the NCAA's, we take care of Tennessee."

"We believe we can do it," Scholtz said. "Making the tournament is another thing that's motivating us at this stage in the year. It's good to know that you're definitely in (the discussion), but the fact that we don't know if we're in the tournament is great motivation."

Coming off a disappointing 6-5 loss in 10 innings Saturday, Ole Miss bounced back with a dominant 12-2 win Sunday to take the weekend series against Mississippi State in Starkville.

At the plate, the Rebels set season high for runs (12) and hits (20), while Sam Smith posted his seventh straight quality start and picked up his fifth win of the season.

"It was our day, and it starts with an attitude and a belief," head coach Mike Bianco said. "When we walked into the team meeting before we got here, I could tell they were ready to go. It was a quiet bus ride back to the hotel last night, but I could tell this morning they were ready to go."

"Yesterday, wasn't a good day at the end for us, but we were all excited to go to bed and wake up and play baseball again the next day," Smith said. "We brought a lot of energy this morning, and nobody could have matched our energy today."

Ole Miss did it all at the plate from the start. The Rebels got the leadoff man on in six of the nine innings, went 13-for-26 with runners in scoring position and 5-for-15 with two outs, including three two-out RBIs. Of the 19 hits, 17 were singles, and six players had multi-hit games.

The one-through-four hitters -- Braxton Lee, Auston Bousfield, Austin Anderson and Will Allen -- were a combined 11-for-20 with two doubles, three walks, five runs scored and five RBI. The same four hitters hit at .407 clip for the weekend.

Anderson tied a career-high with four hits, as he went 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI. Bousfield and Preston Overbey had three hits each, followed by Lee, Allen, and Will Jamison with two hits each.

"He can hit the ball out and sprays the ball all over the field," said Bianco of Anderson. "You watch him, and he has so many great at-bats in a row. He continues even when he doesn't get hits. He's just not an easy out up there."

"It was one of those day that everyone was seeing the ball well," Anderson said. We were hitting it, but they weren't. We were aggressive throughout the whole lineup and that definitely helped.

Lee set the table for the Rebels with a 6-for-14 weekend out of the leadoff spot, to go along with three walks, three doubles, three runs scored, two RBI and two stolen bases, which gives him 19 for the season.

"With Braxton really swinging it well, and he's such a threat on the bases, it's hard to quantify how that helps the other guys," Bianco said. They really have to defend against the steal and how that helps Boz, Anderson and Allen, not that they need a lot of help with the way they're swinging, but it's certainly a big deal for us."

The 10 runs was a season-high in support of Sam Smith, who did not allow a run until the seventh inning. He left in the seventh after giving up two runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts in six innings.

"The offense comes out and smacks them in the mouth early and you get to pitch with a lead," Smith said. It's nice to have a little room to breathe."

"It's as good as I have seen him, and that's saying a lot," Bianco said. "He's pitched well. His fastball was really outstanding, throwing the ball down in the zone, throwing ball at the knees, in and out."



Pitching, Defense Key Rebels To Win

Ole Miss struck early with five runs over the first four innings, which Chris Ellis and Wyatt Short made hold up in a 6-1 win over Mississippi State Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.

The leadoff man for Mississippi State reached base safely in five of the seven innings that Ellis started, but he limited the damage to one run in 6.2 innings, as he scattered eight hits with a walk, two hit batsmen and two strikeouts. It marked the seventh time in nine starts that he allowed no earned runs or one earned run this season.

"He was terrific," head coach Mike Bianco said. "He made pitches when he had to. He looked like he was so in command of the game. I was proud of the way he pitched, better than he's been in a while."

"It felt like every inning they got a leadoff guy on, whether it was beating out an infield single, or I walk a guy, or hit a guy, but it was good to have defense behind me that turned doubles plays and made the big play to get me out of the inning," Ellis said.

A trio of defensive plays in the middle innings highlighted the effort in the field that included just one error and saved at least one run and possibly more. 

"Chris had a great game today, throwing strikes and making it easy on the defense, getting ground balls and double-play balls to get out of innings," Errol Robinson said. "He kept us in the game throwing strikes and not too many walks today."

In the fourth, Preston Overbey knocked a ball down hit to a hole on the right side and then caught the lead runner in a run-down between third base and home for the last out of the inning. 

In the fifth, Robinson and Overbey combined on a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the inning, and then in the eighth, Braxton Lee started the inning defensively with an outfield assist, as he cut the ball off and threw out the runner at second.

"It was a big double play, not just by Errol but also a tough turn," said Bianco of the double play. "They run well. We're not holding the guy at first, so he gets a great jump, and then it's a tough turn for Preston because they're all over him. He makes a great turn and gets out of it." 

Mississippi State threatened again later in the eighth with runners at first and second and two outs. Short, who entered the game the seventh, was behind 3-0 to Wes Rea, and then he battled back to a 3-2 count before getting a lineout to Overbey to end the inning.

"We need that," said Bianco of the defense. "We defended really well up until a few weeks ago, so we need to get back to that."



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Riding a six-game win streak, Ole Miss travels to face Mississippi State in a three-game weekend series as part of Super Bulldog Weekend, which also includes Saturday's Maroon-White spring football game.

Mississippi State has averaged 7,700 fans at Dudy Noble Field, which ranks third in the nation behind LSU (10,770) and Arkansas (7,871) and just ahead of Ole Miss (7,481) and South Carolina (7,408). Mississippi State has set a goal to break the on-campus attendance record, which the school set in 1989 with 14,991.

"With Super Bulldog Weekend, it's going to be a ton people, and certainly when your rivals come to town," head coach Mike Bianco said. "We have also been to South Carolina. It's exciting for them. That's why people come to play here and play in the SEC. You want to play in those types of atmosphere, so the guys are excited for it."

Ole Miss is no stranger to that type of atmosphere, having played in front of 7,000-plus fans in all three games at South Carolina and four SEC home games with 9,000-plus fans at Swayze Field, including 10,523 at last Saturday's doubleheader against Auburn.

"It seems like every spring game for them, it's something like 12,000 or 14,000," Bianco said. "We draw pretty well here, too. Once you get to that number, it's a lot of people. It's not really the amount of people; it's your rival. That's what playing in the SEC is all about. You have to go play baseball regardless."

NOTABLE

Ole Miss has had a knack for the dramatics with an 8-3 record in one-run games, 6-2 in walk-off wins and 11 come-from-behind wins, none more dramatic than Austin Anderson's three-run walk-off home run in the 13th against Auburn last Friday.

Including a pair of home runs by Will Allen and Sikes Orvis Tuesday against Memphis, Ole Miss has 24 home runs through 35 games, which eclipsed last season's mark of 23 in 62 games. Compared to last season through 35 games, the Rebels have also raised their batting average, from .272 to .303, and lowered their earned run average (2.68 to 2.21) and opponents' batting average (.237 to .219).

QUOTABLE

Head coach Mike Bianco: "We're playing really well. In that (0-4) week, we had trouble putting innings together. We had trouble closing out games and trouble doing a lot of things. This offense has been good and pretty consistent throughout the season."

Junior right-hander Josh Laxer, on the weekend: "It's going to be fun. I can't wait. It's going to be a great series. Two great teams, us and State. It's going to be a battle out there. It's going to end up being who's the most clutch because there are probably going to be some close games, so we're excited about that."

VIDEO: The Legend Of Billy Chadwick

The Season: Ole Miss Men's Tennis

VIDEO: Mike Bianco


Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco recaps Wednesday's 8-5 win over Murray State and previews the upcoming three-game series at Mississippi State starting Friday at 6:30 p.m.


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