Rebels Welcome an Undefeated, Top-Ranked Team to Swayze Field for a Three-Game Set
Matchup: No. 21 Ole Miss (4-0) vs. No. 2 Louisville (4-0)
Date: Feb. 26-28, 2016
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Venue: Swayze Field
Television: SEC Network+
Richard Cross (Fri., Sat.)/Will Kollmeyer (Sun.), play-by-play
David Dellucci, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
David Kellum (Sun.)/Eli Savoie (Fri., Sat.), play-by-play
Keith Kessinger, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Series: Ole Miss leads 6-5
Last Series: March 10-11, 2015
Midweek series split, 1-1
Friday, Feb. 26: Brady Bramlett Poster Giveaway
Sunday, Feb. 28: Kids run the bases post game presented by Belles and Beaus, first 1,000 fans at Swayze get a replica hat presented by Origin Bank
– Ole Miss is off to a 4-0 start for the sixth time under head coach Mike Bianco.
– The Rebels are coming off a 4-3 victory over Arkansas State on Wednesday
– With the win over the Red Wolves, Ole Miss has not lost its first midweek game of the season since 2003, a streak of 13 games.
– Ole Miss is hitting .571 (4-of-7) with 10 RBI when the bases are loaded
– The season-opening series attendance was 26,910 (8,970 average), the sixth-highest attendance for a three-game series in Swayze Field history.
– Tate Blackman has recorded multi-hit games in all four contests this season, exceeding his total from all of last season.
– Ole Miss is 15-for-16 in scoring a runner from third with less than two outs.
– The Rebels are in the midst of an eight-game homestand to begin the season.
– Head coach for Louisville is Dan McDonnell, a former Ole Miss under Mike Bianco from 2001-06.
– Ole Miss pitchers are holding opponents to a .208 average at the plate.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
FRIDAY, 4 P.M.
Louisville – Kyle Funkhouser, Sr., RHP, 1-0, 3.60 ERA
Ole Miss – Brady Bramlett, R-Jr., RHP, 1-0, 0.00 ERA
– Pitched five scoreless innings to earn the opening day victory over FIU
– Retired the first 11 batters he faced and ended his outing surrendering just one hit and recording six strikeouts versus the Panthers
– Made all 15 starts last season after missing all of 2014 due to injury
– Serves as the vice-chair of the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)
– Sings in the university choir
– Serves as the president of Ole Miss SAAC
SATURDAY, 1:30 P.M.
Louisville – Brendan McKay, So., LHP, 1-0, 0.00 ERA
Ole Miss – Chad Smith, Jr., RHP, 0-0, 7.36 ERA
– Pitched 3.2 innings in his Ole Miss debut, allowing three runs on four hits
– Selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 23rd round of the 2015 MLB Draft
– Named one of the top 150 MLB Draft prospects by Perfect Game
– Junior college transfer from Wallace State C.C.
– Struck out 42 over 35.0 innings as a sophomore at Wallace State
– Grandson of Norm Zauchin, who played for the Boston Red Sox
SUNDAY, 1:30 P.M.
Louisville – Drew Harrington, Jr., LHP, 1-0, 0.00 ERA
Ole Miss – Sean Johnson, R-Jr., RHP, 1-0, 3.60 ERA
– Earned a victory versus FIU, tossing 5.0 innings in his first start as a Rebel
– Coming off Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss nearly the entire 2015 season
– Named to the 2015 SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll
– In 2014, went 10-1 with 88 strikeouts and 16 walks over 75.0 innings to lead Iowa Western Community College to a national championship
– Loved playing hockey growing up
LOOKING AT LOUISVILLE
Louisville enters this weekend ranked No. 2 in nearly every national poll. The Cardinals have won all four games thus far in 2016, outscoring their opposition a combined 57-7. Five Cardinals received preseason All-America honors, led by junior Corey Ray and senior Kyle Funkhouser. At the plate, Ray is hitting at a .733 clip with three home runs and nine RBI as the reigning ACC Player of the Week. On the mound, Funkhouser returned for his senior season after being selected in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft. The head coach for Louisville is Dan McDonnell, a former Ole Miss assistant coach under Mike Bianco from 2001-2006.
OLE MISS VS. RANKED TEAMS
Facing the No. 2 team in the country this weekend, the Rebels are looking to continue their recent success when facing some of the nation’s top teams. Last year, Ole Miss went 5-4 against No. 1 teams, winning series over Florida and Vanderbilt. The Rebels also won games against No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 8 Louisville, and No. 15 UCF. Playing the nation’s toughest schedule in 2015 did not bother the Rebels as they finished 7-6 versus top-10 teams.
REBELS RALLY FOR WALK-OFF WIN OVER ASU
The No. 21 Ole Miss baseball team rallied from behind with a run in each of the last two innings Wednesday night, keeping its perfect season intact. A Cameron Dishon sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth scored pinch-runner Ray Alejo to lift the Rebels to a 4-3 victory over Arkansas State at Swayze Field. The win over the Red Wolves marked the seventh straight Ole Miss victory when the two opponents have faced off against each other. Sophomore Tate Blackman continued to shine at the plate with his fourth straight multi-hit game. The second baseman reached base all four times he stepped up to the dish, drawing a pair of walks to go along with his two hits.
STARTING THE WEEK OFF RIGHT
After Wednesday’s thrilling comeback victory over Arkansas State, Ole Miss continues an impressive 13-game winning streak in its first midweek game of the season. The Rebels have not lost their first midweek game of season since the 2003 campaign, when Ole Miss fell 4-2 to Southwest Missouri State. That setback is the only loss in the opening midweek game during the Mike Bianco era. In fact, Ole Miss has only lost its first midweek game twice over the past 25 seasons.
A major factor to the Rebels’ 4-0 start can be credited to clutch hitting. With a runner on third and less than two outs, Ole Miss has knocked the runner in 15 out of 16 chances. On the flip side, Rebel opponents are just 4-for-14 in that category. The Rebels are also hitting a whopping .571 with 10 RBI when the bases are loaded.
BACK TO THE GAUNTLET
Last year, Ole Miss faced the nation’s toughest schedule on its way to its 13th NCAA Regional appearance in the past 15 seasons. This season, the Rebels will once again face some of the toughest competition right off the bat. Ole Miss hosted FIU and will also face Louisville at home, two teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2015. Facing a pair of tournament teams in the first two weekend series of the season is rare. In fact, only seven teams play weekend series against tournament teams to kick off the first two weeks of the season. The Rebels are the only 2015 NCAA Tournament team to face fellow tournament qualifiers.
Teams Facing 2015 NCAA Tournament Teams in First Two Weekend Series
Florida Gulf Coast (Florida, Illinois)
Ole Miss (FIU, Louisville)
Rhode Island (Florida State, Maryland)
Sacramento State (Auburn, LSU)
Stanford (Cal State Fullerton, Texas)
UIC (Texas Southern, Vanderbilt)
Xavier (Arizona State, Mercer)
BRAMLETT DOES IT ALL
Not only is redshirt-junior Brady Bramlett the Rebels’ opening day starter, he also makes a major impact off the field. In January, Bramlett traveled to San Antonio, Texas to represent the Southeastern Conference at the NCAA Convention. He was one of three student-athletes from the SEC who voted on proposed governance rule changes under the NCAA’s Division I autonomy process. This was not the first time Bramlett was a voice for his fellow student-athletes. The Bartlett, Tennessee native represents the SEC and serves as the Vice-Chair of the NCAA National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is a representative on the NCAA Strategic Vision and Planning Committee, a subcommittee of the NCAA Division I Council. He is also a representative on the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee. Bramlett’s busy schedule off the field includes serving as president of the Ole Miss SAAC, singing in the university choir and working towards his degree as a biological science major.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Swayze Field provides the best atmosphere and some of the biggest crowds across the country for college baseball games. Rebel Nation took advantage of the nice weather and came out to the ballpark in full force to see Ole Miss Baseball open the 2016 season. Attendance on opening day was 10,129, the sixth-largest in stadium history and the biggest opening day crowd in school history. More than 10,000 fans watched the Rebels win game two on Saturday, and the three-game series attendance totaled 26,910 (8,970 average). That mark set an opening series record and also ranks sixth for three-game series attendance at Ole Miss.
Next week, Ole Miss closes out its eight-game homestand with a midweek matchup versus Memphis, March 2. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. and can be seen on SECN+. Leaving Oxford for the weekend, the Rebels will travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a tournament hosted by Coastal Carolina. Along with facing the Chanticleers, Ole Miss will battle Ball State and Cincinnati.