BATON ROUGE, La. – In a reversal of fortunes from the previous two nights, the Rebels proved to be the team using power to win on Saturday, belting out four home runs as No. 14 Ole Miss (36-20, 15-15 SEC) rallied to defeat No. 2 LSU (48-8, 23-7 SEC) by a score of 11-9.
The Rebels got three-run shots from Preston Overbey and Austin Anderson, combined with two-run shots from Will Allen and Overbey to help power to the win. Ten of the Rebels’ 11 runs came on home runs in the series finale.
Freshman Matt Denny (2-1) picked up the win in relief, working 0.2 innings and allowing one hit after entering the game in the sixth. Denny got the Rebels out of the sixth before Ole Miss would plate five runs in the seventh to take the lead it would never relinquish.
Senior Brett Huber picked up his 12th save of the season, working the final 2.2 and holding LSU off the board to give the Rebels the win. The 12 wins ties Huber’s personal best for saves in a season set as a freshman in 2010. He is one save shy of tying three-time All-America Stephen Head for the single season save record.
Kevin Berry (4-1), who picked up the win in relief the night before, took the loss for the Tigers as he allowed three runs on four hits with a strikeout in 0.2 innings of work. Berry entered the game in the seventh with two men on base and gave up a three-run home run to Overbey in the first at bat and the two-run home run to Allen two batters later as the Rebels grabbed the lead.
“This was a big win today for so many reasons,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “The biggest might be that it was a game in which we had to fight back and keep swinging after falling behind early. I’m proud of the guys for continuing to battle and fight today after a tough loss last night. It’s big for us as we move forward and look to the SEC Tournament next week and then the start of the NCAA Tournament the following week.”
The Rebels got on the board first when Preston Overbey crushed a two-run shot over the stands in left field to give Ole Miss the 2-0 lead in the second inning. Andrew Mistone scored on the play, reaching on a single to open the inning and taking second on a groundout from Orvis.
LSU rallied in the third, using a single and then a well-executed hit-and-run to put men at the corners to start things off. A strikeout put the first out on the board before another hit-and-run through the left side brought a run home and kept men at the corners. LSU then got back-to-back singles to push two more runs home and take the 3-2 lead.
A wild pitch moved a second man into scoring position before Chris Chinea hit a sac fly to right to make it 4-2 in favor of the Tigers. A walk put men at the corners again and the Rebels turned to the bullpen for right-hander Chris Ellis.
The Tigers then got an RBI single and a two-RBI double to take the lead out to 7-2 before Ole Miss would get out of the inning.
Ole Miss answered in a big way in the top of the fourth when Austin Anderson drilled a three-run home run to right field to cut the lead to 7-5. Tanner Mathis and Auston Bousfield scored on the play after drawing a pair of walks to reach base.
LSU took the lead back out to four with a pair of runs in the sixth, but the Rebels had different plans. Preston Overbey with a three-run shot and Will Allen with a two-run shot gave Ole Miss the 10-9 lead at the stretch.
The Tigers responded in the bottom of the inning, using a leadoff double to put a man in scoring position. A sac bunt moved him to third and the Rebels turned to the bullpen for Huber. The senior got a groundout and a strikeout to end the inning and maintain the lead for Ole Miss heading to the eighth.
The Rebels added a run in the eighth inning when Stuart Turner scored from third on a double play ball. Turner singled to open the inning and took third on a single to left center from Mistone, setting up the score on the Orvis ground ball that put Ole Miss up 11-9.
Huber then closed things out for the Rebels with a scoreless eighth and ninth as the Rebels picked up the win.
Ole Miss will open the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Tuesday as the sixth seed and will face the 11th-seeded Kentucky Wildcats at 9:30 a.m. at Regions Park. — Ole Miss Sports Information
BATON ROUGE, La. - The Rebels got some clutch hits when needed, but the Tigers got the last one as No. 14 Ole Miss (35-20, 14-15 SEC) fell to No. 2 LSU (48-7, 23-6 SEC) by a score of 5-4 on Friday night in game two of the weekend series.
The Rebels took the lead in the eighth with a heads up play on the base path by freshmanCameron Dishon, but LSU responded with a two-run home run in the bottom of the inning to grab the lead back before closing things out in the ninth.
It was the 17th time this season Ole Miss has played in a game decided by one run.
Aaron Greenwood (3-4) took the loss for the Rebels in an outing that was not done justice by his final stat line. The junior allowed three runs on three hits with five strikeouts through 4.2 innings of work. The right-hander stymied LSU hitters for most of the night, but senior Raph Rhymes figured him out on one pitch in the eighth to grab the win for the Tigers.
Kevin Berry (4-0) picked up the relief win for the Tigers, giving up a hit and a walk in 0.2 innings of work. He entered the game after the Rebels took the lead in the top of the eighth, and was credited as the pitcher of record after the Tigers regained the lead in the home half of the inning.
“That one really hurts because it looked like we were so close to closing it out and the guys fought so hard tonight,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “If there is a silver lining in a game like that, it’s that we have Aaron (Greenwood) back to the form he showed for most of the season. That may be the best I’ve seen him throw and going forward we need him back in the bullpen with the other guys who have been so effective for us for so much of the season.”
Ole Miss struck first on Friday night, bringing a run home with a two-out rally when Andrew Mistone singled to right field to score Austin Anderson from second. Anderson doubled with one out to put himself in scoring position on the Mistone hit.
The Tigers moved into the lead with a rally in the fourth inning. Back-to-back singles from Alex Bregman and Mason Katz put runners at the corners before a sac fly from Raph Rhymes tied the game. A walk and an infield single loaded the bases before another walk pushed the go-ahead run across the plate.
Ole Miss then turned to its bullpen for>Aaron Greenwood who struck out the next two batters to end the inning and keep the Rebels within one at 2-1.
LSU added to the lead in the fifth inning when Mark Laird tripled down the right field line to open the frame. A groundout to second a batter later pushed Laird home to put the Tigers up 3-1 before the Rebels would retire the next three batters to get out of the inning.
It took two innings, but Ole Miss answered with a two-run rally in the seventh to tie the game at three. A single from Will Jamison and a walk of Mathis got things started before Anderson delivered an RBI single to cut the lead to one and leave two men on.
Stuart Turner then grounded out to first to put both runners in scoring position. Mathis then came home on a groundout from Mistone as the Rebels knotted the score at three. Nothing else would cross the plate and the game remained tied at the stretch.
The Rebels moved in front for the second time on the night with heads up base running by pinch runner Cameron Dishon.
Sikes Orvis drew a leadoff walk and Dishon came into the game to run for the first baseman. Dishon took second on a wild pitch, setting up the scoring play as the speedy freshman took advantage of a rare LSU miscue.
Holt Perdzock struck out, but the Tiger catcher dropped the ball, forcing a throw to first for the out. Dishon took off for third on the play and LSU threw from first to third after the putout of Perdzock. The throw was off the mark and sailed to the wall, allowing Dishon to scamper home for the score and a 4-3 Rebel lead.
LSU got the lead back in the bottom of the inning, using a two-run home run from Rhymes to take the 5-4 lead.
The two teams will close out the series at noon on Saturday in a game televised by CBS College Sports. — Ole Miss Sports Information
Diamond Girls shine as they support Ole Miss baseball
The Ole Miss Rebels baseball team wrapped up its final, regular-season home series last weekend, beating arch rival Mississippi State two out of three games. The Rebels moved up to #14 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, and are currently finishing up the regular season in Baton Rouge against #2 ranked LSU.
Of course, much of the focus centers around the team playing on the field. However, there is a group of young ladies whose support at each game is invaluable to the baseball program and the Ole Miss Sports Marketing Department. They are the Ole Miss Diamond Girls.
Former Rebel pitcher Stephen Head, the 2003 SEC Freshman of the Year, National Freshman of the Year, and 2004 SEC Player of the Year, is now the director of baseball operations for Ole Miss. He speaks highly of the Diamond Girls and the contribution they make to the entire program.
“The Diamond Girls are the face of our Ole Miss Baseball program,” Head says.
After thinking about it for a second, Head added, “Actually, the Diamond Girls are more the face of the program than the players, themselves.”
It is hard to argue with Head’s assessment. When you enter the stadium, you are greeted by a Diamond Girl. When you need a baseball program, you purchase one from a Diamond Girl. When you find the promotional towel or t-shirt in your seat, you know a Diamond Girl has placed it there. And when you see Rebel player drop his bat on the way to first base, you see it is a Diamond Girl who races out to retrieve that bat.
“Without a doubt, Rebel fans make our program thrive,” Head says, “and the Diamond Girls truly interact more with the fans than the players do. This makes them a critical part of our team.”
Taylor West was a four-year member of the Diamond girls from 2008-2011 and captain of the group in 2010 and 2011. Currently an auditor for KPMG in Birmingham, she fondly recalls her days as a Diamond Girl and what inspired her to join the group.
“I remember growing up and going to regionals hosted by Ole Miss, specifically the series against Texas,” West said. “There was something electrifying about the atmosphere, and I knew then that I was interested in being a part of the Diamond Girls.”
Whitney Hodge was a Diamond Girl for three years from 2009-2011, serving as a captain in 2011. She echoed West’s sentiments about wanting to be a Diamond Girl.
“I grew up 20 miles south of Oxford, so I went to a good number baseball games before I attended Ole Miss,” she said. “I had always seen the Diamond Girls at the games, and when I saw the ad in the Daily Mississippian I immediately knew I wanted to try out!”
Katherine Barkett-Byrd was a four-year Diamond Girl from 2006-2010 and captain in 2009 and 2010. Her background drew her to the squad.
“My dad was a baseball coach at St. Andrew’s in Jackson for 20 years and also owned a sporting goods store,” she said, “so I definitely had a long-standing passion for baseball.” When she saw a poster in her dorm announcing Diamond Girl tryouts, she knew she had to attend.
So exactly how does one become a Diamond Girl? The process has changed, somewhat, over the years.
When Barkett-Byrd was a freshman, the application process consisted of an interview with one of the assistant baseball coaches at Ole Miss and the director of sports marketing.
“They lined us up six at a time and asked us questions about our background, as well as about baseball,” she said.
“Not long after I became a Diamond Girl, we added a quiz about baseball as part of the process,” Barkett-Byrd said. “We wanted to make sure the girls knew as much about Ole Miss baseball as possible.”
It was during this time that West and Hodge applied. West explains she submitted a resume and filled out an application at an interest meeting.
“Then, at the meeting we took a quiz over baseball rules and specific questions about Ole Miss baseball,” she said. Those girls with the top scores were asked back for interviews. When West was selected, she competed with approximately 250 girls for one of 45-50 total spots.
The selection process no longer involves a quiz, but the competition is just as intense.
“This past year we had 120 girls vying for 20 open spots,” Head explained. The current roster of Diamond Girls numbers 45 and is divided into three squads of 15. The squads rotate games, with each working one game of a three-game series.
When a squad is assigned a game to work, the captain of the group coordinates the girls and creates the schedule for that day’s game.
“There is a 3-inning rotation that involves selling programs, working promotions for Ole Miss marketing, and, of course, the on-field responsibilities of home and visitor bats and home and visitor foul lines,” West explained.
In addition to their duties as bat girls, the Diamond Girls help in other ways, such as passing out Ole Miss baseball camp fliers and distributing marketing and promotional items.
“On Mike Mayers day at the park, for example, the Diamond Girls passed out over 8,000 white masks as part of the day’s promotions,” Head said.
Their days as Diamond Girls prompt many fond memories for West, Hodge and Barkett-Byrd.
West quickly answered when asked what her most memorable moment was at Swayze.
“It was game one of the super regional against Virginia,” she said. “I was working the visitor bats for Virginia. Most of the time I would hold back cheering for Ole Miss out of respect for the other team. Not this time. The Virginia Head Coach (Brian O’Connor) was standing right by where the Diamond Girls sit. As our offensive momentum got rolling, I was basically jumping on his back in excitement when our guys were scoring to win game one. I still feel kind of bad about that.”
Hodge reminisced about the 2010 SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama.
“I loved being there because it was my first time at Hoover. Representing Ole Miss at such a big tournament was special,” she said. “After we lost the series to Auburn at home that season, it was amazing to beat them in the SEC tournament to advance to the semifinals. I’ll never forget being there.”
Barkett-Byrd, like the other former Diamond Girls, had a hard time narrowing it down to just one most memorable moment.
“For me, it was always so special to be able to work the Home bats because we sat with the team and had a front-row seat to all the action,” she said. “We got to hear Coach Bianco and really get into the emotion of the game.”
Singing the National Anthem at Swayze was another special memory for Barkett-Byrd, a former Miss University.
“It was incredible to sing the National Anthem at a home game in my Diamond Girl uniform. That was truly a highlight,” she said.
Though they give so much to the baseball program at Ole Miss, the Diamond Girls believe they receive plenty in return.
“The best part of being a Diamond Girl is being lucky enough to do it for Ole Miss,” Hodge said.
“Standing in that stadium on game day is indescribable, and actually being on the field soaking up the spirit, emotion and intensity of one of the best game day atmospheres is amazing.”
West reiterated how much the group meant to her.
“I loved the opportunity to be a part of the Diamond Girls while at Ole Miss. It was a way to meet all kinds of great girls and I am very thankful for the friendships I made.”
Barkett-Byrd echoed the sentiments of her fellow captains.
“After my first two years in the Diamond Girls, I had more passion for the game and the squad than ever,” she said. “I applied to be a captain so I could take on a leadership role in the organization. Though I was already in a sorority, Diamond Girls actually became my sorority because I spent so much time with them,” she said.
Given Barkett-Byrd’s baseball background and her love of the game, it is not surprising she attended Ole Miss games when she was not even scheduled to work.
“I’d go to the games on my off-days and sit in the student section,” she said. Like the other Diamond Girls, she traveled to away games whenever possible.
“I recall going to Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Vandy, and almost all the games in Jackson,” she said.
All three former Diamond Girls emphasized the strong commitment the group makes to the program. “We are at every game, greeting people, selling programs, throwing t-shirts, etc.,” Barkett-Byrd noted. “One time I recall working a game in the snow. It was extremely cold, but we were still out there doing our jobs.”
As one may imagine, these former Diamond Girls still enthusiastically support Rebel baseball.
Whitney Hodge is pursuing a Master’s in Occupational Therapy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. However, she has attended baseball games every season since graduation.
“I don’t get to as many games as I’d like, but I definitely make it a point to attend a series when I’m home for a weekend,” she said.
Katherine Barkett-Byrd is a staffing supervisor at a staffing agency in Jackson. She is married to an avid State fan, but still ardently follows Ole Miss baseball.
And it comes as no surprise that Taylor West, like Hodge and Barkett-Byrd, still attends Ole Miss baseball games when she has the opportunity.
“Swayze Field is my favorite place to be in Oxford,” she said.
All three of these former Diamond Girls cherish the days they spent supporting Rebels baseball.
So the next time you’re at Swayze, be sure and thank a Diamond Girl for being a fantastic ambassador for Ole Miss baseball and the University of Mississippi. As evidenced by West, Hodge and Barkett-Byrd, Diamonds truly are forever.
– Evelyn Van Pelt
Evelyn studied English at Texas A&M University, but fell in love with Ole Miss and Oxford when her daughter attended Ole Miss on a volleyball scholarship. Her daughter received three degrees from Ole Miss, including her Pharm D. in 2012. Evelyn has been a proud supporter of Ole Miss for over a decade and covers Rebels football for gridirongirl.org. Follow her on Twitter at @OleMissEvie and e-mail her at OleMissEvie@gmail.com
BATON ROUGE, La. – The two teams went toe-to-toe with hits, but it was the long ball that proved to be the difference on Thursday night as No. 14 Ole Miss (35-19, 14-14 SEC) fell to No. 2 LSU (47-7, 22-6 SEC) by a score of 7-1 at Alex Box Stadium.
The Rebels out-hit the Tigers in the game, but the 11 singles couldn’t compensate for the eight extra-base hits – including four home runs – from LSU in the series opener.
“That was really the story of the game,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We got the hits, but they were all singles and we didn’t capitalize on opportunities we had with a big double or a home run like they did. That had more to do with how good they are, especially when they have some momentum. We needed to come back early with a big extra-base hit when the game was in reach and we had a runner in scoring position, but we didn’t do that tonight.”
Mike Mayers (4-5) took the loss for the Rebels, allowing five runs on seven hits with a walk and seven strikeouts through 6.0 innings of work.
Cody Glenn (6-2) picked up the win for the Tigers allowing one run on eight hits with two strikeouts in 7.0 innings of work.
LSU got on the board in the first with a one-out double from Mark Laird followed by an RBI single up the middle from Alex Bregman pushed Laird across the plate. Mason Katz doubled in the next at bat, but Bregman was thrown out at home to put the second out on the board. Raph Rhymes then doubled to bring Katz home and LSU held the 2-0 lead before Ole Miss got out of the inning.
The Tigers build on the lead in the fourth inning with solo home runs from Katz and Christian Ibarra to take the lead out to 4-0, before Rhymes would hit an inside-the-park home run to right center to take the lead out to 5-0 in the sixth.
Rhymes home run came on a dive for the ball in the outfield that was missed, allowing the ball to roll to the wall in right center. The throw came home, but obstruction was called against catcher Stuart Turner who was set up to receive the ball up the line and had a collision with Rhymes a few feet from the plate.
Ole Miss got on the board in the seventh with an RBI single to center field from Stuart Turner following back-to-back singles from>Tanner Mathis and Austin Anderson. The Rebels couldn’t continue the two-out rally, however, as LSU got out of the inning only surrendering the one run.
Sean McMullen gave the Tigers the fourth home run of the night with a solo shot in the seventh inning. LSU then capped the scoring in the eighth with a sac fly from Tyler Moore that scored Katz for the final margin of victory.
Ole Miss would attempt to mount a final rally in the ninth, loading the bases with two outs, but the Tigers got out of the inning to claim the 7-1 win.
The two teams will take the field for game two of the series at 7 p.m. on Friday night in a game televised by Cox Sports Television.– Ole Miss Sports Information
The Rebels & The Tigers conclude the regular season down in Baton Rouge.
The Ole Miss baseball team wraps up the 2013 regular season this weekend against the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge, La., with a series starting tonight.
No. 14 Ole Miss (35-18, 14-13 SEC) walk into the Tiger’s den at Alex Box Stadium after picking up a series win over their in-state rival, the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Rebels then dropped a 10-3 decision on Tuesday night at Southern Miss.
Stuart Turner leads the Rebels at the plate with a .389 average, while knocking in five home runs and a total of 46 RBI’s on the year so far.
No. 4 LSU (46-7, 21-6 SEC) enters the weekend after locking up the SEC Western Division Championship by taking two of three games from the Texas A&M Aggies in Aggieland. The Tigers are led by freshman Alex Bregman with a .393 batting average. Mason Katz brings the power and run production to the lineup with 13 home runs and a total of 63 RBI’s.
The probable pitching rotation for this SEC series tilt will showcase the arms of sophomore LHP Cody Glenn (tonight), junior RHP Kurt McCune (Friday) and junior RHP Ryan Eades (Saturday) for the Tigers. Coach Mike Bianco will be sending Mayers, Smith and Bobby Wahl to the hill for the Rebels.
Ole Miss and LSU are no strangers to one another on a baseball field. They have faced off 310 times. The Rebels trail the Tigers 164-146 in this storied series that dates back to the 1906 season.
Every pitch of this SEC showdown will be carried live on TV starting with tonight’s game on ESPNU at 6:30 p.m., Friday’s on CST at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday’s game on CBS College Sports at 12:00 noon.. Fans also can listen to the play by play on the Ole Miss Radio Network. – Adam Brown, Sports Editor of HottyToddy.com
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – What looked like it might be a pitching duel early changed quickly with a pair of big middle innings as No. 14 Ole Miss (35-18) fell to Southern Miss (27-23) on Tuesday night by a score of 10-3.
The Golden Eagles got four run innings in the fourth and the sixth to take the lead and the Rebels were unable to mount a rally as Southern Miss picked up the win.
Jacob Waguespack (0-1) took the loss in his first collegiate start, allowing two runs on four hits through 3.0 innings of work. The Rebels used four more pitchers on the night, all of whom surrendered two runs each in the loss.
A.J. Glasshof (1-2) picked up the win, working 6.0 scoreless innings and holding the Rebels to four hits with a walk and a strikeout.
“There’s not much that can be said after a performance like that,” said Ole Miss head coachMike Bianco. “We had a few opportunities early, but we didn’t capitalize on them. When that happens, you have to come back out and grind it out and hold the other team down. We didn’t do that tonight in any phase of the game.”
Ole Miss got the first chance to bring a man home, loading the bases in the second inning, but the Golden Eagles got the fly out with the bases loaded to end the Rebels scoring threat and keep a zero on the board.
Southern Miss got on the board first, converting on its first scoring opportunity in the fourth inning. Back-to-back singles opened the frame and had two men in scoring position out of the gates to start the rally. The Rebels then turned to the bullpen for left-hander Austin Blunt to try to minimize the inning.
A sacrifice fly from Mason Robbins put the Golden Eagles on the board, trading the run for the first out in the inning. Blunt struck out the next batter to put two away before a balk and a double down the right field line brought a second run home. Blake Brown then hit a two-run shot to left field to give the Golden Eagles the 4-0 lead before the Rebels would get out of the inning.
Ole Miss got a man in scoring position again in the fifth, but a double play ended the scoring threat and kept the Rebels off the board for the second time in the game.
Southern Miss built on the lead in the sixth inning with a two-out rally. With two men on, Austin Roussel hit ball to the gap at first. Sikes Orvis dove for the ball and made the stop, but the runner beat defenders to the bag safely in a close play and the lead runner on second came home to score. A walk loaded the bases and Ole Miss turned to the bullpen for the second time in the inning, calling on right-hander Josh Laxer.
The first pitch from the right-hander was wild, allowing all runners to advance as the Golden Eagles moved out to the 6-0 lead. A two-RBI single up the middle from Creel in the next at bat took the lead out to eight runs before Ole Miss would get the final out.
The Rebels cut into the lead in the eighth inning, pushing three runs home in the frame. A single and a hit batter put two on before Austin Anderson delivered an RBI double to right. With two runners in scoring position, pinch hitter Austin Knight got an RBI groundout to short before Sikes Orvis would come to the plate two batters later with the bases loaded and deliver a sac fly to center.
Ole Miss would get nothing more home in the inning, but cut the lead to 9-3.
Southern Miss got a run back in the bottom of the inning with a triple from Roussel followed by a wild pitch that brought him home.
Ole Miss will return to action on Thursday with the first game of a three-game series at No. 2 LSU. The opener will start at 6:30 p.m. and be televised by ESPNU.– Ole Miss Sports Information
The Rebels and The Golden Eagles continue their storied series.
The Ole Miss baseball travels down to Hattiesburg, Miss., tonight to play the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
Ole Miss (35-17) is ranked as high as No.14 in nation according to the USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches poll, as college baseball turns to the final week of the regular season. The Rebels are coming off a series win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs, sweeping the doubleheader the teams played on Saturday. The Bulldogs fought from behind on Sunday to get a 7-6 victory over the Rebels.
Auston Bousfield delivered a great afternoon at the plate in the second game of the doubleheader with three hits and five RBI’s as the Rebels went on to win by a score of 10-8.
Southern Miss (27-23) welcomes the Rebels to Hattiesburg after a series loss to Southern Illionis-Edwardsville. The Golden Eagles are led at the plate by Issac Rodrigues, with a .394 average. Rodrigues is tied for the team lead with 34 runs, while teammate Mason Robins leads the team in RBI’s with 35.
The probable pitching matchup for tonight’s game showcases the arm of junior LHP A.J. Glasshoff for Southern Miss. Coach Mike Bianco is sending freshman RHP Jacob Waguespeck to the mound.
Ole Miss and Southern Miss have faced each other 115 times. The Rebels hold a 71-44 lead in the all-time series. When the teams met back on April 16th at Trustmark Park, Ole Miss fell 2-1 to Southern Miss.
Fans can listen to all the action on Q 93.7 and the Ole Miss Radio Network, with the first pitch slated for 6:00 p.m.
Young wins SEC Commissioner’s Trophy as high points scorer.
Senior Isiah Young successfully defended his SEC 200 meter title and finished runner-up in the 100 meters to lead Ole Miss on the final day of the 2013 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships Sunday.
With his performances, Young was the men’s high points scorer at the meet with 18.5 points and earned the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy. He is Ole Miss’ first Commissioner’s Trophy outdoor recipient since Barnabas Kirui in 2010.
Young helped the No. 16 nationally ranked Rebel men score 39 team points and finish eighth overall. The Rebel women scored nine points to place 14th overall.
“We had some good performances, but by and large it was not the outcome that we expected,” said first-year head coach Brian O’Neal.
Arkansas claimed the 2013 SEC outdoor title for the men with 152.5 team points, while Texas A&M won the women’s title in its first year in the league with a total of 117 points.
Young, a 2012 London Olympian, ran a sensational 20.20 to blow away the eight-man field and win his second straight 200-meter league title, earning 10 team points for Ole Miss. That time set a track record at Missouri’s Audrey J. Walton Stadium and is the best in the NCAA and No. 3 in the world this year. It was just off his school record of 20.16 from last year’s U.S. Olympic Trials.
The Junction City, Kan., native nearly pulled off the sprint double with a narrow defeat in the 100 meters. He crossed the line in 10.14, just two-hundredths of a second behind winner Diondre Batson of Alabama (10.12). By himself, Young scored 18 of the Rebels’ 39 team points on the weekend.
“After I lost the 100, I had to refocus and just stick to my plan in the 200 and that’s to run my own race,” said Young after his title run. “At SECs, it seems like after I get a couple races out of the way I’m ready for the 200. I was able to take advantage of the competition and the weather today, and I should run faster as the year goes on.”
Young is the first Rebel to win back-to-back 200-meter titles since Tony Dees in 1983 and 1984 and the first 100-meter runner-up since Greg Saddler in 1994.
Sophomore Sam Kendricks placed runner-up in the SEC outdoor pole vault for the second straight year and earned eight team points for Ole Miss. The current world leader at 19-0.75, Kendricks turned in a clearance of 18-1 to finish second to Arkansas’ Andrew Irwin.
Senior Morris Kersh leapt to a personal-best 51-9 to place fourth in the men’s triple jump and earn five team points. That mark moves him into a tie for ninth place in school history and into the top 20 in the NCAA this year.
Sophomore Robert Semien finished fourth in the men’s 110-meter hurdle final with a strong run of 14.21 against a headwind of -2.1. It’s his highest SEC finish in his two-year career.
Sophomore Malcolm Davis turned in a 10th-place result in the high jump with a clearance of 6-8.75. It was tied for the seventh-best clearance, but he dropped to 10th based on misses.
Earlier in the weekend, freshman Peyton Moss scored a point for the men with an eighth-place result in the decathlon.
Senior Marci Morman placed 10th in the triple jump (40-11.75), while Haley Cutright set a new personal best in the 5,000 meters with a 16:43.54 to place 11th. That time keeps Cutright second-best in school history.
Earlier in the weekend, junior Mary Ashton Nall earned a fourth-place result in the heptathlon to score five points for Ole Miss.
“Obviously, the SEC is the crown jewel of track & field conferences,” O’Neal said. “If you don’t step up, you’ll get run out of the building. We need more of our guys and girls to believe that they can compete in this league. We will learn from this experience.”
Next up is the NCAA East Preliminary Round May 24-25 in Greensboro, N.C. The NCAA will accept the top 48 athletes in each individual event (except the women’s heptathlon, men’s decathlon and 10,000 meter run) and the top 24 relays from the East region. Those athletes will compete for the right to participate in the NCAA Outdoor Championships (June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore.).
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
1. Arkansas – 152.5
2. Florida – 123
3. Texas A&M – 118
4. LSU – 72.5
5. Georgia – 56
6. Alabama – 52
7. Kentucky – 46
8. Ole Miss – 39
9. Auburn – 37
9. Missouri – 37
11. Mississippi State – 33
11. Tennessee – 33
13. South Carolina – 16
1. Texas A&M – 117
2. LSU – 112
3. Arkansas – 109
4. Florida – 106
5. Georgia – 87
6. Missouri – 49
7. Kentucky – 46
8. South Carolina – 41
9. Tennessee – 38.5
10. Mississippi State – 35
11. Auburn – 32.5
12. Alabama – 20
13. Vanderbilt – 16
14. Ole Miss – 9
100 Meter Final
2. Isiah Young – 10.14 (8 points)
200 Meter Final
1. Isiah Young – 20.20 (10 points)
21. Seumas O’Reilly – 14:56.06
110-Meter Hurdle Final
4. Robert Semien – 14.21 (5 points)
4×100 Meter Relay
7. Ole Miss (Griffin, Branch, Serrette, Young) – 39.85 (2 points)
4×400 Meter Relay
10. Ole Miss (Oliver, Griffin, Serrette, Branch) – 3:13.62
10. Malcolm Davis – 6-8.75
2. Sam Kendricks – 18-1 (8 points)
4. Morris Kersh – 51-9 (5 points)
4X100 Meter Relay
5. Ole Miss (Russell, Lundy, J. Williams, Cooper) – 45.48 (4 points)
4×400 Meter Relay
12. Ole Miss (Alexander, Cooper, J. Williams, Hellberg-Jonsen) – 3:49.20
100 Meter Prelims
3. Isiah Young – 10.05Q (SR)
800 Meter Prelims
32. Loren Newsom – 2:00.07
1,500 Meter Prelims
16. Riley Young – 3:57.92
16. Ian Carter – 31:44.69
110-Meter Hurdle Prelims
7. Robert Semien – 14.14Q
400 Meter Hurdle Prelims
12. Dante Oliver – 53.47
10. Malcolm Davis – 24-3.75
12. Onyi Afoaku – 52-7.25
11. Benjamin Lapane – 195-5
8. Peyton Moss – 6,543 (1 point)
100 Meter Prelims
13. Asia Cooper – 11.71
200 Meter Prelims
22. Jasmine Williams – 24.54
1,500 Meter Prelims
26. Amy McCrory – 4:41.39
18. Jazmin Miller – 159-4
Ole Miss had Mississippi State on the ropes but let the Bulldogs off. The Rebels could have helped their own postseason cause Sunday but instead it was State that got a boost.
Where did it get away from Ole Miss, which led 6-0 after three innings and had bases loaded in the fourth with one out but failed to score? How about right there?
The Rebels only had five hits on the day. MSU had 11.
There’s your story, or part of it. Certainly the Ole Miss bullpen collectively wasn’t up to what was needed. But the fact is this bullpen seems to have become less effective lately overall. In the Rebels’ last five losses, they’ve had the lead in the sixth inning. Perhaps there are less pitchers that can be counted on to come through for various reasons – tiredness, soreness, number of innings logged.
Therefore, it needed some more offensive help against a MSU pitching staff that was all but depleted after two days. Or so it appeared. But take a look at the ERAs of the final three pitchers MSU used on this day; the ones after starter Jacob Lindgren, whose ERA is 3.44.
Jonathan Holder, the MSU closer who entered in the second inning and went two innings, with an ERA of 1.26. Chad Girodo with a 1.46 ERA; he went an inning. Ben Bracewell with an ERA of 1.83 went the final five innings.
And Ole Miss did not score an earned run off any of the three. Your story? Another big part of it.
Ole Miss (35-17, 14-13) simply could not hit MSU pitching in the finale after the Bulldogs had made mistakes early and the Rebels had jumped on the visitors 6-0. The two hits off Lindgren came in the first inning when the Rebels scored three runs.
Bobby Wahl, who started the Friday night game and went just an inning when the rains came, started Sunday and went 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on four hits with six strikeouts but five walks.
“I felt pretty good,” Wahl said. “I really don’t know what to say. It was just one of those things where I came out (of the game) with the bases loaded. I put the bullpen in a bad situation. Put those few runs on me there. It’s frustrating.”
“I thought he gave us a valiant effort,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco of Wahl. “(After the delay from Friday) he came back on Sunday, and I thought he was terrific. We knew we were a little thin in the pen today. So we tried to squeeze another (inning) out of (Wahl), and it got away from us quickly.”
Bianco said credit the Bulldogs, now 37-15, 14-13. “That’s a very good State team,” he said.
They do appear to be a quality team. A lesser team would have folded on the road at its arch-rival, down 6-0 and having already lost two games. Maybe there’s some of your story, too.
“This will go down as we blew the lead, had a six-run lead going into the sixth inning,” Bianco said. “But the truth of the matter is they just played better. They hit better and ultimately they pitched better. They hung in there and we couldn’t stop them at the end. Lot of base hits, good at-bats, and obviously we didn’t pitch well enough at the end.”
MSU head coach John Cohen said his team felt it was going to win Sunday the entire time, even when it was down 6-0.
“We did a lot of things not characteristic of our team early,” Cohen said. “But the kids had a business-like approach and never got down. They always felt like they were going to win the game. They were not going to let (the sweep) happen.”
MSU hosts South Carolina this weekend and should the Bulldogs win that series, they’ll be right back in the conversation of hosting an NCAA first and second-round Regional, something the Bulldogs haven’t done since 2003.
Sunday was a great opportunity for Ole Miss to remain in that conversation as well. Now they have to win a series in a place they haven’t won more than one game in any series since 1982 – at LSU.
This was a successful weekend for Ole Miss. The Rebels had lost their last two series – at home to Kentucky and at Auburn. This was only the Rebels’ second SEC series win at home this year. The other was a sweep of Alabama.
But there is always that bitter taste of defeat when it comes on Sunday, even if your team has won the previous two games.
“A disappointing way to finish the weekend,” Bianco said.
As for the pitching this week, Bianco said he would have to evaluate it. It does not appear Wahl would be the Thursday night starter at LSU. Perhaps Mike Mayers, but that remains to be seen.
The Rebels play at Southern Mississippi Tuesday night and are then in Baton Rouge Thursday through Saturday.- Jeff Roberson, OMSpirit.com
The Ole Miss Rebels have two wins this weekend, there’s still a game to go, and Bobby Wahl is set to start Sunday. My how things can change quickly in baseball.
The Rebels were coming in after losing two straight series – to Kentucky at home and at Auburn. Ole Miss had not played its best baseball at home this season where its Southeastern Conference record was only 5-7.
But this was Mississippi State. The Rebel players know this is the arch-rival. But in the first two games of this series, only pinch hitter Austin Knight and relief pitcher Jeremy Massie were participants who hail from Mississippi.
Understanding the rivalry takes time for out of staters. That’s simply the truth of the matter. Players confirm that every year.
But, after these two games on Saturday were done and wrapped in red and blue, Auston Bousfield, a sophomore from Florida, may have stated it best when he assessed things.
“We have a lot of older guys on this team,” Bousfield said after Ole Miss moved to 35-16 on the season and past MSU in the conference standings at 14-12. “Lot of juniors, seniors, even sophomores that played a good amount as freshmen. I feel like we’ve been through the ups and downs of the SEC. We know how to bounce back and respond, even when things don’t go our way.”
Things went their way most of this day. The Bulldogs were coming in after sweeping Alabama last weekend in Starkville. They are now 36-15 overall and 13-13 in SEC play.
With four SEC games left for both – tomorrow, and then at LSU for Ole Miss and at home against South Carolina for State – there is a whole lot left to play for.
Wahl, as usual, started the first game and pitched a fine first inning with three strikeouts on Friday night. Then came the pouring rain, deluging Swayze Field like few had seen. Game one, it was decided shortly after the place was declared unplayable, was to restart at 3 p.m. Saturday. Game two would follow.
So who would start? How would the pitchers for Ole Miss be handled now?
“It was one of those things where we felt like Mike (Mayers) and Sam (Smith) would be great on Saturday, just like they were today,” Wahl said. “I knew I had thrown such few pitches that I’d be ready to go (Sunday).”
And that is where things stand.
The Rebels won game one 3-0. Mayers, the reliever but who actually started the day, had a critical moment in the opener. It was the third inning, the bases were full of Bulldogs, the score was 0-0, there was one out, and Hunter Renfroe, one of the best players from Mississippi and one of the best college baseball players in the country, was at bat.
And he grounded into a double play.
“That was a real turning point for me,” Mayers said. “I’ve struggled with that. I’ve been a guy to give up a run or two in that situation. That was huge for me and huge for our team to get out of.”
Mayers went seven innings and allowed nothing – no runs, two hits, two walks, two strikeouts. Brett Huber came in to pitch the ninth with a 3-0 lead, had some fun with it as only Huber can (two strikeouts but two walks this time), and allowed no runs to claim his 11th save of the season and 27th of his remarkable UM career.
Then in game two Smith, who has become more reliable this year and has lifted his game, pitched well after a very rocky first inning. He allowed two runs in the first on five hits and things could have been worse early. But the Rebels were able to get out of it, trailing just 2-0.
After that Smith threw five more innings and allowed just three more hits with two strikeouts. And the Rebels went to work on offense during that time, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first, with a three RBI triple by Auston Bousfield the big hit.
The lead was 8-3 before MSU made a run late. Entering the ninth with Tanner Bailey on the mound, State made it yet another nerve-racking situation, cutting the lead to 10-8.
But that’s how it ended, and the Rebels were able to hold off State to claim the series.
The Rebels now go for their first sweep of Mississippi State since 2010 in Starkville and the first time in Oxford since 2005.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy with them. They’re going to give you their best game,” said Bousfield, 3-for-5 in the second game with 5 RBI, including three of them on that important early triple. “They came out swinging and we did the same thing. We were able to capitalize and answer back there in the first.”
No matter what happens on Sunday, what Saturday did was send the Rebels to Baton Rouge, by way of a game Tuesday night at USM, to play LSU with something really big they can accomplish as far as this season goes.
Ole Miss hasn’t won a baseball series in Baton Rouge since 1982. The Rebels are certainly due.
As it turns out, having Wahl, your star ace, start two games in one Southeastern Conference weekend against your arch-rival is just about as good as one could draw it up.
And now Wahl, the Virginian, will be on the hill. On Mother’s Day Sunday and with a chance to sweep a team he didn’t even know was going to be his arch-rival just a few years ago.
“I should have a lot of adrenaline. It’s Mississippi State, but even more than that, I’m just ready to go tomorrow,” Wahl said. “We’re excited for tomorrow and an opportunity to sweep our rival. We’re pumped about it.”
And his teammates are ready for him to go, too.
“Any time you have Bobby on the mound you have a chance to win,” Bousfield said, who mentioned the tremendous support the team got from its large and loud crowd all day Saturday. “So we’re excited about it.”
As they should be. — Jeff Roberson, OMSpirit.com
Lutjen wins his final home match
For only the third time when they’ve hosted the NCAA first and second rounds, the sixth-seeded Ole Miss men’s tennis team failed to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, dropping a 4-2 match to Memphis here Saturday at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center in the second round of the NCAA Championships.
The Rebels got off to a slow start after dropping the doubles point. Memphis won at No. 1 doubles 8-5 and at court 2 8-5 to take the 1-0 lead.
Nik Scholtz, ranked No. 14 in the nation, defeated Connor Glennon 7-5, 6-1 at No. 1 singles to tie the match, but Memphis quickly answered on court 6 when David O’Hare defeatedAdrian Forberg Skogeng 6-3, 6-2.
Senior Jonas Lutjen, ranked No. 20 in the nation, won his final home match as a Rebel, defeating Joe Salisbury 6-2, 6-4 to even the match again at 2.
Freshman Stefan Lindmark led Johnny Grimal 4-2 in the first and then lost five of six games to drop the first set 7-5. Grimal used the momentum from winning the first set to take the second 6-2 and give the Tigers a 3-2 lead.
With sophomore William Kallberg closing in on a 5-2 lead in the final set at No. 3 singles against Lukas Vrnak, Memphis’ David O’Leary ended the matter when he finished off junior Johan Backstrom 6-4, 6-3 on court five.
“Give Memphis a lot of credit,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “They played really well in the doubles and at a couple of singles positions. It was a combination of us not playing as well as we’re capable, and Memphis playing well. Nik and Jonas know for us to win the doubles point, they have to win. It puts a lot of pressure on them. They are one of the best teams in the country, but they’re not going to win every match. Today was a tough battle. I am proud of the guys, we just came up a little short.”
The Rebels end their season at 16-9, while Memphis (16-7) advances to the Sweet Sixteen to face Pepperdine.
The season is not quite over for Scholtz and Lutjen who are in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship, which begins May 22 in Champaign, Ill.
1. Joe Salisbury/David O’Hare (MEMPHIS) def. #3 Nik Scholtz/Jonas Lutjen (OM) 8-5
2. Lukas Vrnak/Johnny Grimal (MEMPHIS) def. #49 Stefan Lindmark/Johan Backstrom (OM) 8-5
3. William Kallberg/Adrian Skogeng (OM) vs. David O’Leary/Cedric De Zutter (MEMPHIS) 5-7, unfinished
Order of Finish: 2, 1
1. #14 Nik Scholtz (OM) def. Connor Glennon (MEMPHIS) 7-5, 6-1
2. #20 Jonas Lutjen (OM) def. Joe Salisbury (MEMPHIS) 6-2, 6-4
3. #95 William Kallberg (OM) vs. Lukas Vrnak (MEMPHIS) 6-4, 3-6, 4-2 unfinished
4. Johnny Grimal (MEMPHIS) def. Stefan Lindmark (OM) 7-5, 6-2
5. David O’Leary (MEMPHIS) def. Johan Backstrom (OM) 6-4, 6-3
6. David O’Hare (MEMPHIS) def. Adrian Skogeng (OM) 6-3, 6-2
Order of finish: 1, 6, 2, 4, 5
– Ole Miss Sports Information
Play will resume at 3:00 p.m. with a doubleheader
Inclement weather that hit the Oxford area in the middle of the first inning forced the suspension of Friday’s series-opening game between No. 20 Ole Miss (33-16, 12-12 SEC) and No. 13 Mississippi State (36-13, 13-11 SEC).
Following a top of the first that saw Rebel starter Bobby Wahl strikeout the side around a fielding error at short, the rains came down with Ole Miss coming to the plate and forcing the suspension of the contest.
The game will resume at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at Swayze Field, with game two of the series being played 40 minutes following the conclusion of game one.
Fans will be admitted to the games with Friday or Saturday tickets in the grandstand. Friday’s ticket will be good for the seats in game one, if someone shows up for game two and has tickets for a seat, fans are asked to move to a general admission area out of respect for the fan who has tickets for that seat in game two.
Diamond Club members are asked to present their ticket for Saturday’s game to gain admission. Those with tickets for Friday’s game are asked to check in with the ticket office and members of the Ole Miss ticket office staff will work to make accommodations for those fans.
– Ole Miss Sports Information