SEC OPENING WEEKEND
Matchup: No. 14 Ole Miss (12-5) vs. No. 15 Vanderbilt (12-6)
Dates: March 17-19
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Venue: Swayze Field
Television: SECN+ (Fri./Sat.)/SEC Network (Sun.)
Richard Cross, play-by-play
David Dellucci/Kyle Peterson, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
Eli Savoie/David Kellum, play-by-play
Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Series: Ole Miss leads 63-56-2
Last Game: May 26, 2016
Ole Miss won 12-9
Hoover, Ala. (SEC Tournament)
Friday, March 17, 7 PM
» Special recognition of the 1977 team before the game
» Rebel Towel Giveaway (First 2,000 fans)
» Friday Night Fireworks presented by Newks
Saturday, March 18, 1:30 PM
» Special recognition of the 1972 team and all Ole Miss Baseball alumni prior to the game
Sunday, March 19, 3 PM
» Baseball Card Pack (1 of 5) Giveaway (First 1,000 fans)
» Meet the Rebels Poster Giveaway
» Kids Run the Bases Presented by Belles and Beaus. Kids are invited to come down on the field following the completion of the game.
– Ole Miss is riding a four-game winning streak, posting four consecutive shutouts for the second time in school history.
– The Rebels are coming off a 5-0 victory over Nicholls on Tuesday at MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi.
– Ole Miss held opponents to two runs over the last six games, the fewest in a six-game stretch in program history.
– The Rebels have won the past three contests versus Vanderbilt, including a 2016 SEC Tournament win and two victories to clinch the last series between the two in 2015.
– Ole Miss starting pitching has not allowed a run in the last 43.2 innings.
– The Rebels rank top five nationally in five different pitching categories.
– Ole Miss pitching leads the SEC in opponent batting average (.185), saves (8), fewest hits allowed per nine innings (5.84), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.35), strikeouts per nine innings (10.9) and WHIP (0.93).
– The 1977 team that won the SEC championship will be recognized on the field Friday; the 1972 team that won a conference championship and advanced to the College World Series will be honored Saturday.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
FRIDAY, 7 P.M.
Vanderbilt – Kyle Wright, Jr., RHP, 0-2, 5.40 ERA, 20.0 IP
Ole Miss – David Parkinson, Jr., LHP, 3-1, 2.52 ERA, 25.0 IP
– Reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week after a career-best outing versus Furman (March 10)
– Against Furman, pitched 8.0 scoreless innings (career high), facing the minimum and allowing only one hit to go along with a career-high nine strikeouts; took a no-hitter into the eighth inning.
– Against No. 23 UNCW, retired the first 12 hitters he faced and finished his night allowing one earned run on three hits with six strikeouts
– Earned the win on Opening Day versus No. 6 East Carolina, allowing three runs on six hits over 7.0 innings
– Held the lowest ERA among Rebel starting pitchers in 2016
– Made 22 appearances, including nine starts, and logged 68.0 innings last season
– Transferred to Ole Miss in 2016 after spending one season at Florence-Darlington Technical School
SATURDAY, 1:30 P.M.
Vanderbilt – Patrick Raby, So., LHP, 2-2, 1.40 ERA, 25.2 IP
Ole Miss – Brady Feigl, R-So., RHP, 2-1, 3.91 ERA, 23.0 IP
– Pitched a career-high 8.0 innings without allowing a run, surrendering just four hits and one walk while striking out 10 for the first time in his career
– Lasted 5.0 innings in each of his first three starts
– Earned a win over No. 23 UNCW, his second career start; allowed one run on three hits and two walks without surrendering a hit until the fifth inning
– 2016 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American (Collegiate Baseball)
– Made 26 appearances out of the bullpen in his debut season, the second-most outings on the team and most by a freshman; his 39 strikeouts ranked second among Rebel relievers in 2016
– Redshirted the 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery
SUNDAY, 3 P.M.
Vanderbilt – Drake Fellows, Fr., RHP, 3-0, 1.00 ERA, 27.0 IP
Ole Miss – Will Ethridge, Fr., RHP, 1-0, 1.15 ERA, 15.2 IP
– In his last outing (March 8), threw a career-high 7.2 innings without giving up a run and tying his personal best of 10 strikeouts; retired the first 17 hitters he faced and did not issue a walk
– Retired all six hitters he faced, striking out four, in 2.0 innings of relief vs. No. 1 TCU (March 5)
– Earned the victory in his first game as a Rebel, striking out 10 over 5.0 innings vs. Arkansas State (Feb. 21); his 10 strikeouts were the most by an Ole Miss freshman since 2007 and the most by a Rebel in a debut this century
– Rated as the No. 33 freshman prospect in the nation (D1Baseball.com)
– 2016 Louisville Slugger first team High School All-American (Collegiate Baseball)
– Posted a 23-5 record with a 1.65 ERA, 119 strikeouts and 21 walks in 148.0 innings throughout his high school career
– Drafted in the 35th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners
No. 15 Vanderbilt enters SEC Opening Weekend with a 12-6 record following Tuesday’s 8-1 win over Western Kentucky. The midweek matchup ended a 15-game homestand for Vanderbilt. The Commodores have relied on their pitching to start the season, which ranks towards the top of the SEC in nearly every statistical category. Starting pitchers Patrick Raby and Drake Fellows went through the first four weeks of the year with sub-2.00 earned run averages; Raby’s was 1.40 over his start, while Fellows is the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week and holds a 1.00 ERA as a weekend starter. Outfielder Jeren Kendall is a Commodore to watch out for after being named a Preseason All-American entering the 2017 campaign. He paces the Commodores in runs scored (16) and home runs (4). However, Julian Infante is leading the team at the plate with a .373 batting average.
The SEC opening weekend matchup will feature two of the winningest coaches in conference history. Tim Corbin is in his 20th season as a head coach, including the past 15 at Vanderbilt. With 622 wins as the Commordores’ head coach, Corbin ranks 10th on the SEC all-time wins list. Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco is seventh on that list with 642 victories in his 17th season guiding the Rebels.
Ole Miss leads the all-time series 63-56-2. The Rebels have won four of the last five meetings with the Commodores, including wins in the 2014 and 2016 SEC Tournament. In the last regular season series between the two programs, Ole Miss took two of three from No. 1 Vanderbilt in Nashville (April 9-11, 2015). In game two of that set, Colby Bortles belted a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the ninth before the Rebels finished the comeback in 16 innings. Closing out the series, Will Stokes made the start and logged a career-high 6.0 innings to college his first win as a Rebel.
ALUMNI WEEKEND HONORS 1972 AND 1977 TEAMS
With Vanderbilt in town, Ole Miss will honor a pair of its best teams as part of Alumni Weekend. Friday night, the 1977 SEC championship team will be recognized on the field prior to the start of the series. The 1977 Rebels produced a then-school record 39 wins on their way to capturing the conference regular season crown as well as a title in the first ever SEC Tournament. On Saturday, the 1972 squad will be honored before the game. With a 28-16 record, the 1972 Ole Miss baseball team won the SEC before advancing to the fourth College World Series in school history. Both teams were coached by the legendary Jake Gibbs, who won 485 games in his 19 seasons at the helm of the Ole Miss baseball program.
VICTORIOUS COAST REBS
Playing on the Mississippi Coast for the first time in 106 years, No. 14 Ole Miss increased its shutout streak to four games with a 5-0 win over Nicholls Tuesday night at MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi. The Rebels broke out the bats, while their pitching limited the Colonels to only four hits. For the sixth consecutive game, an Ole Miss starting pitcher did not allow a run. The streak began last Tuesday with Ryan Rolison, and the freshman continued what he started with a career-long 6.0 innings on the mound. The Jackson, Tennessee native, surrendered only four hits and a walk, while tallying a career-high seven strikeouts in his second start. At the plate, Tate Blackman used a two-run homer and a triple to knock in three runs to lead the way. Will Golsan, Thomas Dillard and Bryan Seamster added two hits apiece, with Dillard hitting his second home run of the season. Along with his multi-hit game, Seamster made a pair of spectacular catches in left field, his first start as a Rebel.
With five shutouts over the past six games, including four in a row, the Rebels already have their most shutouts in a season since 2013. The four consecutive shutouts are the most by the Ole Miss pitching staff since 2004, the only other time it has happened in school history. To begin the streak, the Rebels held Furman, a team with a combined batting average of .317, scoreless for the entire weekend to earn their third three-game sweep of the 2017 season. Keeping the Paladins without a run, the Rebels posted a three-game series shutout for the first time since March 12-14, 2004, coincidentally vs. Nicholls. To continue this season’s shutout streak, Ole Miss shut out Nicholls 5-0 Tuesday in Biloxi, Mississippi.
IT ALL STARTS WITH PITCHING
The Rebels have held opponents to only two runs over the past six games, the fewest runs surrendered during any six-game stretch in program history. Naturally, it all starts with pitching. In 56.0 innings, the pitching staff has posted a 0.32 ERA with five shutouts. Opponents have been limited to a .135 team batting average and have struck out 66 times. Moreover, six Ole Miss starting pitchers have not given up a run in 43.2 frames. During the streak, Rebel starters have allowed only 25 hits combined while issuing just 13 walks and racking up 61 strikeouts.
ON THE MOUND
The Ole Miss pitching staff has been efficient on the mound this season, leading the SEC in several categories and ranking among the best in the nation.
|Stat||National Rank||SEC Rank|
PARKINSON NAMED SEC PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Following the best start of his career, Ole Miss ace David Parkinson was named SEC Pitcher of the Week, the league office announced March 13. Pitching a career-long 8.0 scoreless innings versus Furman (March 10), the junior left-hander earned his first weekly accolade as a Rebel. Parkinson became the second Rebel to earn an SEC weekly honor through the first four weeks of the season. Ryan Olenek was the SEC Player of the Week after opening weekend. Prior to Parkinson, the last Rebel to be named SEC Pitcher of the Week was Wyatt Short (May 11, 2015). Kicking off the weekend, Parkinson got the Rebels off to a perfect start by pitching a gem. Against a team hitting .317 heading into the weekend, the Henrico, Virginia, native struck out a career-high nine hitters and did not issue a walk during his longest outing as a Rebel. Moreover, he had a no hitter intact until a leadoff single to center in the eighth inning. Parkinson faced the minimum as the Furman baserunner was wiped off the base patch on a groundball double play. As the team’s ace, Parkinson is 3-1 with a 2.52 ERA this season through four starts. He has recorded 26 strikeouts, ranked 10th among conference pitchers, while only walking five in 25.0 innings of work. The southpaw is holding opponents to a .198 batting average to help the Ole Miss pitching staff pace the conference in that category.
With 15 freshmen as part of the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, some of the newest young Rebels are making an impact right away. Ole Miss has started four freshmen in the majority of the early games: Thomas Dillard (LF), Cooper Johnson (C), Grae Kessinger (SS) and Cole Zabowski (1B). After Dillard paced Ole Miss in hitting through the first two weekends, and Zabowski was the team’s leader in batting averge after three weekends of play. Meanwhile, Johnson and Kessinger have provided great defense at two of the most important positions on the field.
TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE
Last year, Ole Miss had the luxury of having two closers in lefty Wyatt Short and right-hander Will Stokes. The duo combined for 18 saves in 2016 with Short in the primary role, closing 11 games. After drafted by the Chicago Cubs, Short took his talents to the professional level, and it appeared as if Stokes would become the lone closer on the staff in 2017. However, another Rebel has emerged to join Stokes in the back end of the bullpen. Sophomore Dallas Woolfolk, who’s fastball ranges from 93-95 mph, has become another pitcher that Ole Miss can rely on as a closer. The Southaven, Mississippi, native holds a 1.54 ERA over a team-high seven appearances. Along with tallying 15 strikeouts and issuing only two walks, Woolfolk boasts four saves. Stokes has recorded four saves as well, and the two Rebels lead the conference.
GOLSAN GETS GOING
Junior Will Golsan has gotten off to a fast start this season, leading the team in hits (19), runs (13), doubles (4) and total bases (26). He’s shown his versatility in the field as well, starting in his third different position in as many seasons. Golsan won the starting nod at second base following the beginning of his freshman season before moving to first base last year. This season, Golsan has found his home in right field to better showcase his athleticism. He is the only Rebel to start all 17 games.
THE YEARLY GAUNTLET
The Rebels are 6-3 versus ranked teams this season, which includes sweeps of both No. 6 East Carolina and No. 23 UNCW in three-game series at Swayze Field. Last season, the Rebels won 12 games against ranked teams which included series victories over No. 2 Louisville, No. 8 LSU and No. 21 Arkansas. Ole Miss also topped No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 4 South Carolina, No. 5 Mississippi State and No. 18 Coastal Carolina, which went on to win the national championship, in games last year. In 2015, the Rebels made the NCAA Tournament after having the nation’s No. 1 strength of schedule.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Swayze Field provides the best atmosphere and some of the biggest crowds across the country for college baseball games. The Rebels have won over 70 percent of their home games throughout the past 28 seasons. The combination of winning baseball plus an electric fan base makes Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field a bucket list item for any sports fan. A 2016 survey conducted by D1Baseball.com proved it as Division I baseball coaches ranked Swayze Field top 10 nationally in six different categories, including prettiest setting, best traditions, best overall stadium and most intimidating cracking the top five. Last year, the Rebels averaged 8,502 fans per game, including five contests with the attendance over 10,000, to rank second nationally. In total, 291,714 fans watched Ole Miss Baseball at Swayze Field, which was also the third-highest total attendance in the country. Both marks set season attendance records. With single-game and series records already broken this season, Ole Miss has averaged 8,405 per game to rank second in the nation.
THE 17TH SEASON OF THE BIANCO ERA
The 2017 season is the 17th year of Ole Miss Baseball led by Mike Bianco, the program’s all-time wins leader. With 642 wins at Ole Miss over the past 16+ seasons, Bianco is the winningest and longest active coach in the Southeastern Conference. In fact, he’s the conference’s longest active coach among the sports of baseball, men’s basketball and football. He ranks seventh on the SEC’s all-time wins list, passing longtime Auburn coach Hal Baird earlier this season. Bianco is also on pace to leapfrog former Vanderbilt coach Roy Mewbourne, who sits in sixth, this season; Mewbourne produced 655 wins in 24 seasons.
ON THE HORIZON
After opening up SEC play, Ole Miss will spend next week on the road. The Rebels will head to Memphis to face the Tigers for the second time this season (March 21). First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. at AutoZone Park, home of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. Two days later, Ole Miss starts its first conference road series of the year, traveling further north to battle Kentucky. The three-game set begins Thursday night (March 23) at 6 p.m. on SEC Network. Game two of the series will take place at 5:30 p.m. Friday evening (March 24) before the two teams wrap up the weekend Saturday morning (March 25) at 11 a.m. on SEC Network.