OXFORD — Ole Miss took two out of three at Mississippi State, beating the Bulldogs 12-2 today in Starkville.
We’ll talk more about what this weekend means, and Mike Bonner will have coverage in the Clarion-Ledger.
For now, here’s the release from Ole Miss:
STARKVILLE, Miss. – It was an all-around dominant performance from the Rebels on Sunday in a rubber-game as No. 13 Ole Miss (29-9, 9-6 SEC) pounded out 20 hits to race past Mississippi State (22-15, 7-8 SEC) for a 12-2 win at Dudy Noble Field.
The win clinched the weekend series for Ole Miss after the Rebels also picked up a 6-1 victory over the Bulldogs in the series opener on Friday night.
Austin Anderson went 4-for-5 at the plate with a pair of RBI, while Preston Overbey went 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored to help pace the Rebel offense. Ole Miss had six players notch multiple-hits in the game.
Sam Smith (5-2) grabbed the win in his seventh consecutive quality start, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work. Jeremy Massie then picked up his first save of the season, working the final 3.0 innings for the Rebels on the way to the win.
Ben Bracewell (2-3) took the loss for Mississippi State, allowing two runs on five this with two walks and a strikeout in 2.2 innings of work.
“We’ve had a lot of great moments this year, but yesterday was really hard,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We’ve been that resilient team and we’ve been able to handle it and get back up off the mat. We did that today. I’m really proud of the way we showed up ready to play today. It’s about attitude and approach.
“Sam (Smith) was tremendous for us today and the defense was outstanding,” Bianco said. “Of course, it was all about the offense any time you get 20 hits.”
Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning when Braxton Lee came home from third on a passed ball. Lee walked and then stole second before taking third on a single from Auston Bousfield to set up the score on the pitch that brought him home and moved Bousfield to second. Anderson then doubled to the gap in right center to score Bousfield and the Rebels took a 2-0 lead on the Bulldogs.
The lead continued to grow in the fourth inning as the Rebels pushed four runs home with aggressive base running and timely hits.
A leadoff triple from J.B. Woodman and an infield single from Will Jamison put two men on to start the inning. Overbey then singled through the left side to bring Woodman home and the first of four runs across the plate. A passed ball moved Jamison and Overbey into scoring position before Errol Robinson would single to right to score the Jamison and put men at the corners again as Overbey took third.
The Rebels executed a double steal during the next at bat with Robinson taking second and Overbey sprinting home as the lead grew to 5-0 in favor of Ole Miss. Two outs later, Austin Anderson then drove a ball back up the middle to score Robinson and give the Rebels the six-run lead.
Overbey delivered another RBI with a two-out single to right center in the fifth that brought Jamison home from second. Jamison reached on a walk and stole second to get into position for the Overbey hit that gave the Rebels a 7-0 lead.
Ole Miss continued to add to the advantage in the sixth with two more runs to take the lead to 9-0 on the Bulldogs. With the bases loaded and no outs, Will Allen drove a two-RBI single to right center that brought home Lee and Bousfield. The Rebels loaded the bases with a walk, a single and then a throwing error off a sac bunt attempt from Anderson to set up the score on the Allen hit.
A two-out single to left from Bousfield in the seventh took the lead to double digits for the Rebels. Errol Robinson reached on a throwing error. Robinson took second on the error to get into scoring position for the Bousfield hit that gave Ole Miss a 10-0 lead on Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs got on the board in the home half of the seventh, starting the inning with back-to-back singles off Smith and sending the Rebels to the bullpen for left-hander Jeremy Massie. Pinch hitter Reid Humphreys then hit a double to left to score the first run and leave two men in scoring position as the batting order flipped back to the top for Mississippi State.
Seth Heck then hit a ground ball to third and the Rebels conceded the run for the out, allowing a second run to score from third to get Heck at first. Massie then struck out the next two batters to end the inning and keep Ole Miss on top 10-2 after seven innings of play.
The Rebels moved back on top by 10 runs in the eighth inning after loading the bases to start things off. Overbey drove a single through the left side to bring the first run home before Robinson delivered a sac fly to center to make it a 12-2 lead after the top of the eighth.
Massie then held the Bulldogs in check through the eighth and ninth to pick up the save and clinch the series win.
Ole Miss will return to action on Thursday night, kicking off a three-game series against No. 8 LSU in Oxford. Game one is slated for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch on ESPNU as the SEC Thursday Night Game of the Week.
#13 Ole Miss 12, #13 Mississippi State 2 (Apr 13, 2014 at Starkville, Miss.)
Ole Miss………… 200 412 120 – 12 20 0 (29-9, 9-6 SEC)
Mississippi State… 000 000 200 – 2 8 3 (22-15, 7-8 SEC)
Pitchers: Ole Miss – Sam Smith; Jeremy Massie(7) and Will Allen. Mississippi State – Ben Bracewell; Brandon Woodruff(3); Lucas Laster(6); Myles Gentry(8) and Gavin Collins; Cody Walker.
Win-Sam Smith(5-2) Save-Jeremy Massie(1) Loss-Ben Bracewell(2-3) T-3:14 A-10371
B. Woodruff faced 2 batters in the 6th.
S. Smith faced 2 batters in the 7th.
Lucas Laster faced 2 batters in the 8th.
OXFORD — I’m on vacation this weekend, so Mike Bonner is covering the baseball series for the Clarion-Ledger.
Here is the Ole Miss press release about game 1 in Starkville, a 6-1 win for the Rebels.
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Rebels jumped out to an early lead and used solid pitching and defense to hold the Bulldogs in check as No. 13 Ole Miss (28-8, 8-5 SEC) defeated No. 13 Mississippi State (21-14, 6-7 SEC) by a score of 6-1 in the series opener Friday night.
Five Rebels notched multiple hits on the night with Braxton Lee and Sikes Orvis each driving in a pair of runs to help pace the Ole Miss offense. Errol Robinson also went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Brantley Bell and Auston Bousfield also each tallied two hits on the night.
Chris Ellis (5-0) picked up the win, allowing one run on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work. Wyatt Short then picked up his third save, working the final 2.1 innings with two hits and three strikeouts while holding the Bulldogs off the board.
Ross Mitchell (5-3) took the loss for Mississippi State, allowing six runs on 13 hits with two walks and five strikeouts through 8.2 innings of work.
“Chris (Ellis) was terrific tonight and his stuff was perhaps as good as it’s been in the last three or four weeks, though it may not have looked like it,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Mississippi State is good at drawing walks and they really made him work out there tonight, but he was able to buckle down and make pitches when we needed them.
“Wyatt (Short) was great and it was good for a Mississippi kid to come in and finish things off like that for us on a Friday night,” Bianco said. “It was also big to not have to use our closer. We’re playing well and really played well tonight in all phases of the game.”
Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning, putting together a two-out rally to take the early lead on the Bulldogs. With men at the corners, Bell laced a single through the left side to bring Bousfield home from third and leave men at first and second. Orvis then drove a ball back up the middle to score Allen from second as the Rebels took a 2-0 lead before Mississippi State would get out of the inning.
The Rebels continued to build on the lead in the second inning when Lee drove a double to the gap in right center to bring home Robinson from second. Robinson opened the inning with a single to right and took second on a sac bunt from Will Jamison to set up the score on the Lee hit. Ole Miss led 3-0 after the second inning of play.
Mississippi State put together a rally in the third inning, using a bloop single to right and a single up the middle that glanced off the glove of a sliding Robinson to put men at the corners to start things. Alex Detz delivered a ground-out RBI to short following a foul fly from Jake Vickerson to get the Bulldogs on the board. Detz was out at first on the play, but Matthew Britton slid in safely at second before the Rebel defense could get there to avoid the double play.
The Rebels got out of the inning with a fly ball to center and held to the 3-1 lead on the Bulldogs after three complete.
Ole Miss answered the Mississippi State rally with one of its own, pushing the lead out to four runs in the fourth inning with some solid hitting early. A single and a balk pushed Preston Overbey to second before Robinson pulled one through the left side as the Bulldogs ran with a defensive shift. Overbey then came home on a groundout from Jamison as Robinson advanced to second. Lee then drove a double into left field to score Robinson and the Rebels held a 5-1 lead after the top half of the fourth.
Mississippi State looked to put together a second rally in the game in the eighth inning, using a fielding error on a pop fly to second to put a man on base. A strikeout put two away before a single to right put two men on base for the Bulldogs. Overbey then snagged a line drive flaring away from second for the final out and kept the Rebels on top 5-1 after eight innings.
The senior second baseman figured prominently in the inning, also recording the first out on a single to left. Mississippi State’s Brett Pirtle tried to stretch the hit into a double and was met at the bag by a diving Overbey who snagged the throw from Lee and tagged Pirtle for the first out in the inning.
The Rebels extended the lead in the ninth, putting together a two-out rally sparked by Allen. Allen reached on a single through the left side before Bell was hit by a pitch. Orvis then drove a ball to right, scoring Allen from second and putting men at the corners as Mississippi State went to the bullpen for right-hander Myles Gentry.
Gentry then got a groundout to end the inning, but Ole Miss had staked a claim to a 6-1 lead.
Shot then kept the Bulldogs off the board in the ninth, recording a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to secure the win for the Rebels.
Ole Miss and Mississippi State will take the field for game two of the series at 3 p.m. Saturday in a game televised by Fox Sports South.
#13 Ole Miss 6, #13 Mississippi State 1 (Apr 11, 2014 at Starkville, Miss.)
Ole Miss………… 210 200 001 – 6 13 1 (28-8, 8-5 SEC)
Mississippi State… 001 000 000 – 1 10 0 (21-14, 6-7 SEC)
Pitchers: Ole Miss – Chris Ellis; Wyatt Short(7) and Will Allen. Mississippi State – Ross Mitchell; Myles Gentry(9) and Gavin Collins.
Win-Chris Ellis(5-0) Save-Wyatt Short(3) Loss-Ross Mitchell(5-3) T-2:42 A-13224
OXFORD — Ole Miss exited the spring without naming a backup quarterback, and with coach Hugh Freeze indicating the decision may actually extend into the 2014 season.
That’s by design, because Freeze and co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dan Werner want redshirt freshmen DeVante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan competing against each other for as long as possible.
“They’re competitors, so they’ll try to outdo one another,” Werner said.
That’s been the case since the two signed in February 2013: Buchanan an in-state kid that had offers from every SEC school, Kincade an Elite 11 quarterback from Dallas. One of them is going to be the starter in 2015, after Bo Wallace graduates, and both know only one can have that job.
“It’ll be real fun competing with him,” Kincade said. “We go back and forth, back and forth. We help each other out, pat each other on the back and tell each other our mistakes and things like that.”
Said Buchanan: “It’s coaches’ decision whether it’s close or not. I feel like it’s close. (Kincade) is a really good quarterback, so I just got to go out everyday and it’s on my mind: I got to play great everyday and do my best to impress the coaches. They’re going to decide that.”
They got 15 practices, including the Grove Bowl, this spring in which they, for the first time, really got to play football. Freeze even pulled the green no-contact jerseys off both midway through, in an effort to see how they would handle live snaps.
“I look forward to watching film between Ryan and DeVante,” Freeze said. “They both do different things. Ryan has some natural pocket presence that’s hard to teach. He’ll hang in there and knows where it’s supposed to be. You saw Kincade do a lot of things with his feet. He’s got a strong arm.”
Now comes the time, Werner said, where they have to work on their own and get better.
“The rule is I’m not allowed to sit in there with them, so they have to do it on their own,” Werner said. “I expect them, in basketball terms, to be a gym rat. You got to want it all day long. So you come over (to the Manning Center), you got to lift, you got to run, and then you got to come in and watch film and then you got to throw.”
OXFORD — Ole Miss has already finished its spring, but in this week’s Five for Friday I talk a little about what the offseason may entail and also preview this weekend’s series against Mississippi State.
My story on Ole Miss’ sudden power surger, and what has led to it, can be found here.
OXFORD — Austin Anderson’s walk-off home run against Auburn earned him a place in this week’s Sports Illustrated.
The Ole Miss third baseman is this week’s “They Said It,” for what he said following Friday’s 8-5 win. It’s notable because, in the 13th inning, the Auburn pitcher tried to intentionally walk Anderson. But the ball came across the plate, and Anderson hit it over the right field fence to end the game.
“I just tried to hit it as hard and as far as I could,” Anderson said.
The video quickly went viral, and was the talk of the baseball (both college and MLB) Internet late Friday night and into Saturday morning. Anderson talked about the reaction it today, saying that he was ready to move on from it but knew it was special.
“It was kinda crazy, obviously,” Anderson said. “It’s still surreal to me, just because I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen and then I had the chance to experience it.”
Anderson, a senior, is hitting a team-high .351 this season with four home runs and 23 RBI. All four of his home runs have come against SEC pitching. No. 13 Ole Miss (25-8, 7-5 SEC) plays at No. 21 Mississippi State this weekend.
Go to the 4:26 mark of the below video to see the home run.
OXFORD — With No. 13 Ole Miss heading to rival Mississippi State this weekend, coach Mike Bianco remains uncertain whether or not he’ll have reliever Aaron Greenwood with him.
Greenwood, a senior riding a 19-inning scoreless streak, was scheduled to pitch Thursday afternoon for the first time since aggravating “something” in his rib cage last week.
“At once we thought it was more serious than we think now because he’s felt a lot better each day,” coach Mike Bianco said. “We’re hopeful for this weekend. If it doesn’t happen then we’re pretty confident the following weekend against LSU he’ll be OK.”
Greenwood suffered the injury against Auburn on Friday while fielding a ball that was hit off his foot. He was pulled after the play (Bianco said that was the plan), and did not express any discomfort until Saturday morning.
“We’ll know more later today and probably won’t make a decision until tomorrow morning, after he throws today,” Bianco said. “But probably the biggest thing is how he feels tomorrow morning when he wakes up.”
Now 1-0 on the season with a 1.48 ERA and 16 strikeouts, Greenwood has been a durable multi-inning option out of the Rebels’ bullpen. In 13 appearances he’s thrown 24 1/3 innings, walking six batters and giving up 15 hits.
- Lots of talk this week about the Rebels’ bats, with 24 home runs so far this season. The team hit 23 all season. More on that in Friday’s Clarion-Ledger, but third baseman Austin Anderson (four homers, all in SEC play) said, “I find myself some last year and even more this year, early in the counts, I’m swinging to drive it.”
- Sikes Orvis leads the team with seven home runs, and cleanup hitter Will Allen is right behind him with five. Seven players have hit a ball over the fence so far.
- Anderson on his intentional walk-attempt home run against Auburn on Friday, which was the buzz of the baseball Internet Saturday morning: “It was kinda crazy, obviously. It’s still surreal to me, just because I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen and then I had the chance to experience it.”
- Ole Miss will go with its normal weekend rotation: Chris Ellis on Friday, followed by Christian Trent and Sam Smith. Mississippi State has not announced a Sunday starter, but did say Ross Mitchell (5-2, 1.48 ERA) will throw Friday night. The Bulldogs’ ace confounds hitters with stuff that is not at all overpowering, but gets guys out.
“He’s one of those guys that he looks like the typical soft-throwing lefthander but he’s obviously much better than that,” Bianco said. “The stuff has got a lot of sink, he commands his pitches very well and another thing that’s good about any pitcher is if you can make that pitch to get out of the inning. He has that knack to be able to get out of innings and jams. Another factor that nobody ever talks about is that there are certain guys when they pitch their teams play well. I think his team plays well when he pitches. I give him credit for that.”
OXFORD — Derrick Millinghaus will transfer from Ole Miss.
The sophomore point guard has been given his release, coach Andy Kennedy confirmed.
Millinghaus Tweeted Wednesday morning that it was “time to open up another chapter.” He did not indicate his future plans.
Millinghaus played in 30 games last season for the Rebels (19-14), averaging 6.6 points and 2.3 assists in 18 minutes a night. But he was suspended for three games late in the season for what was termed a violation of team rules by Kennedy.
When Millinghaus returned he was barely in the rotation, playing 14 minutes between the team’s regular season finale and two SEC tournament games. It was a continuation of a trend for Millinghaus, who started nine games of Ole Miss’ first 15 games and played more than 20 minutes in 12 of those contests. But after going 5-of-17 from the floor in 37 minutes against Mississippi State on Jan. 11, Millinghaus played 20 minutes in just more game.
Millinghaus will still be known forever in Ole Miss lore for his play in the 2013 SEC tournament, making a floater in the final seconds to defeat Missouri in Ole Miss’ first game. Had that shot not gone down, Ole Miss’ season ends in Nashville. Instead the Rebels won their next three games, including the SEC tournament championship and a first-round NCAA tournament game.
No other players have been granted their release, though Kennedy was honest at the end of a postseason-less season about his desire to improve the roster.
“When’s the last time you saw three assistant coaches over there during a game?” Kennedy said last month. “When assistant coaches are missing games you know the head coach realizes we have an issue that we need to get resolved.”
Without Millinghaus Ole Miss has two point guards on its roster: rising senior Jarvis Summers, an all-SEC player, and redshirt freshman Jerron Martin. Signee Stefan Moody can play the point guard, but is more of a combo guard.
Ole Miss lost one senior off last season’s roster, Marshall Henderson, and signed four players in the fall. At least one and maybe two are headed to a prep school first, but Ole Miss continues to recruit for the spring signing period that begins next week. The Ole Miss Spirit reported Tuesday that junior college shooting guard Roderick Lawrence is expected to visit Ole Miss this weekend, and Hargrave Military Academy power forward Jabari McGhee is also talking to the Rebels about a visit.
OXFORD — This spring was not easy for co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Matt Luke.
Ole Miss lost three starters and five total contributors from last season’s offensive line, and not all the replacements (Fahn Cooper, Aaron Morris and Rod Taylor) were ready this spring. One, Christian Morris, may be headed towards a redshirt year after offseason surgery.
Which meant Luke had to make do with what he has. But at the end of Saturday’s Grove Bowl, coach Hugh Freeze said he was happy with the offensive line’s improved performance over the course of spring and gave the credit to Luke.
“Matt has done a great job,” Freeze said. “We’re still without Christian (Morris) and Aaron (Morris). We’re playing quite a few walk ons in the two-deep. I really have seen kids like Robert Conyers and Ben Still improve, Austin Golson, who had a really good day today at tackle. Everybody knows about Laremy (Tunsil), Justin Bell, Davion Johnson and Daronte Bouldin. Those guys play really hard. They love it.”
Luke, co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner said, simply “gets those guys ready, whoever happens to be in there.”
Of particular interest this August will be who emerges at center, where Evan Swindall was a three-year center and an underrated key of Ole Miss’ success on offense the last two seasons. Junior Ben Still and redshirt sophomore Robert Conyers competed all spring to replace Swindall. Still is a natural center, and has the advantage when it comes to snapping the ball. But Conyers, a converted tackle, is athletic and is improving with his ball placement.
Bell could also get a shot at center — he’s been seen several times this spring snapping the ball before practice — but Luke said he is moving forward right now with Bell as a guard and just Still and Conyers at center.
OXFORD — Noted college football preview guru Phil Steele predicts that Ole Miss will be ranked No. 20 in the preseason AP poll this summer.
Steele, talking to ESPN, released what he believes the preseason poll will look like. He claims getting 25-of-25 last year correct, and is known for his volumnious college football preview magazine each fall.
Ole Miss finished 8-5 last season and was 33rd in the final AP poll, but the Rebels return 16 starters and 60 lettermen off that team. Steele said he pays particular attention to quarterback, where Bo Wallace will be a three-year starter for the Rebels, as well as other returning skill position talent.
The SEC is not at No. 1 in Steele’s projection: that’s defending national champion Florida State. But Alabama is No. 2, followed by Auburn (4), South Carolina (10), Georgia (11), LSU (13), Missouri (18), Texas A&M (19) and Ole Miss.
The Rebels will play four of those teams this fall, with both Alabama and Auburn coming to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Ole Miss will travel to LSU and Texas A&M. All four games are within a month’s time, from Oct. 4-Nov. 1.
OXFORD — Ole Miss is now No. 9 in the NCAA’s official RPI, released Tuesday.
That’s an improvement of one spot from a week ago for the Rebels (25-8, 7-5 SEC), who won all four games in the past seven days and are No. 13 in the USA Today coaches’ poll.
The only bad part of the above sentence is what sweeping Auburn did to the Tigers’ only RPI. Auburn fell 20 spots, all the way to No. 65.
No longer are those three wins top-50, which could have really helped an Ole Miss team that is 7-1 against No. 51-100 but only 1-6 against No. 1-50.
Today’s opponent, Memphis, is No. 32. Ole Miss will also play Murray State (No. 292) and Mississippi State (41) this week.