The round up highlights sports on the Ole Miss campus ending the week of Sunday, February 17, 2013.
By: Adam Brown, Sports Editor Hottytoddy.com
Complied from Ole Miss Sports Information Press Releases
Wahl Named to Golden Spikes Award
Junior right-hander Bobby Wahl became the latest Ole Miss baseball player to find himself a candidate for the Golden Spikes Award when USA Baseball announced the preseason watch list for the award on Thursday.
The Golden Spikes Award is given annually to the top collegiate baseball player and is sponsored by Major League Baseball and presented by USA Baseball.
Wahl, who was named a second team All-America selection in the preseason, enters the 2013 campaign anchoring the Rebel pitching staff with a return to his role as the Friday night start, a role he filled as a sophomore a year ago. The right-hander posted a 7-4 record last season with a 2.55 ERA and struck out 104 batters while walking only 32 in 99.0 innings of work.
He held opponents to a .211 batting average against and combined for three shutouts on the year, including a win over then top-ranked Florida to set the stage for a series win. Wahl played a key role in that series win during the finale, scoring the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth as a pinch runner. He also picked up wins over No. 10 TCU, UNC-Wilmington, Houston, Auburn, Tennessee and again over TCU in the opening game of the NCAA Regional at Texas A&M.
The Rebels are coming off a season in which the squad posted a 37-26 record and advanced to the championship game of an NCAA Regional for the sixth time in the last eight seasons. It also marks the 10th NCAA Tournament appearance for Ole Miss in the Mike Bianco era and 17th NCAA Tournament appearance all-time.
Ole Miss posted several big wins on the season and claimed seven weekend series, including three series sweeps. The Rebels swept UNC-Wilmington, Houston and Tennessee while also picking up series wins over Miami (Ohio), No. 1 Florida, No. 15 Arkansas and posted series splits on the road at No. 10 TCU and No. 22 Louisville.
The Rebels open the 2013 season on February 15 with the first game of a three-game series against No. 14 TCU at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field starting at 4 p.m.
Rebels Fall To No. 10 LSU
The Ole Miss softball team (2-5) got a strong opening five innings of work from junior pitcher Shelby Jo Fenter on Wednesday, but a six-run sixth allowed No. 10 LSU to notch a 9-1 win at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
The game – which was played as a non-conference matchup because the two teams don’t meet in the Southeastern Conference regular season and wanted to continue the rivalry – was a two-run affair until the sixth inning. Leading 3-1, LSU (5-1) used three- and two-run home runs in the top of the sixth to break the game open and get the win.
“It was a frustrating game for us because we played really well early on, all the way to the fifth,” Ole Miss softball head coach Windy Thees said. “We have to keep the ball in the ball park. We missed on a couple pitches, and with a top-10 ranked team if you miss on a pitch they’re going to make you pay. That’s the story of the game; we gave up four long balls.”
Fenter finished with 5.2 innings of work, striking out five batters and allowing six runs on five hits. At the plate, freshman shortstop Haley Culley had one hit and one run, and junior centerfielder RT Cantillo finished with an RBI double. Junior catcher Marina Parra also had a hit for Ole Miss.
The Rebels created chances, but couldn’t always drive home their runs, leaving a pair of runners on base in the each of the fourth and fifth innings. Despite the loss, Thees sees the benefits of playing a top-10 ranked opponent, the fourth opponent for Ole Miss inside the top 25 in the opening seven games, and another All-America caliber pitcher.
“This is what we need to do,” Thees said. “They’re a World Series team, they return their pitcher and a couple kids from that team who are just solid and helped them get there. That’s where we’re going. This is where we want to go to. We want to be that team. Our kids need to play the best competition.”
The Rebels play again Friday in Mobile, Ala., at the Mardi Gras Invitational against Lamar and Central Arkansas at 11 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. CT, respectively. Ole Miss will face the tournament host, South Alabama, on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., and will close out the tournament Sunday against Jackson State at 10 a.m.
The No. 12 nationally ranked Ole Miss men’s tennis team’s first stop on the road trip was a success, as the Rebels downed a feisty Portland team 6-1 Wednesday at the Louisiana-Pacific Tennis Center. With the win, the Rebels improved to 3-1 as they head to Seattle, Wash., to face No. 6 Georgia in the first round of the ITA National Team Indoor Friday at 10 a.m. CT.
The Rebels started the match by winning the doubles point with wins on courts three and one in that order. Johan Backstrom and Stefan Lindmark downed Paxton Deuel and Kent Andreasen 8-2 at No. 3 and then 16th-ranked Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen defeated Ratan Gill and Alex Ferrero 8-5 at No. 1.
Portland didn’t make it easy for Ole Miss in singles, but the Rebels responded winning in straight sets on the top two courts to go ahead 3-0. Lutjen, ranked No. 6 in the nation, was first off the court with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Mike Hu Kwo at No. 2 singles. Scholtz, ranked No. 24, followed up with a 7-5, 6-4 win against Gill at No. 1.
The match ended when 40th-ranked William Kallberg held off Portland’s Alex Ferrero 6-7(3), 7-6(3), 6-4 to remain undefeated at No. 3 singles and improve to 15-4 overall.
“I was very impressed with Portland,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “They pushed us today, and our guys responded. Every match was extremely competitive. It was a great match, and the team now has their sights on the National Team Indoor and our first round opponent, Georgia.”
Lindmark and Backstrom both won their matches for the final 6-1 score.
Friday’s match against Georgia will feature live scoring as well as a live blog from Georgia. Those be can accessed by going to OleMissSports.com and clicking on the link in the calendar.
No. 12 Ole Miss 6, Portland 1
1. #16 Nik Scholtz/Jonas Lutjen (OM) def. Ratan Gill/Alex Ferrero (POR) 8-5
2. Jackson Martin/Mikel Hu Kwo (POR) def. #25 William Kallberg/Adrian Skogeng (OM) 8-7(4)
3. Johan Backstrom/Stefan Lindmark (OM) def. Paxton Deuel/Kent Andreasen (POR) 8-2
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2
1. #24 Nik Scholtz (OM) def. Ratan Gill (POR) 7-5, 6-4
2. #6 Jonas Lutjen (OM) def. Mike Hu Kwo (POR) 6-4, 6-4
3. #40 William Kallberg (OM) def. Alex Ferrero (POR) 6-7(3), 7-6 (3), 6-4
4. Johan Backstrom (OM) def. Justin Guay (POR) 5-7, 6-3, 10-7
5. #84 Stefan Lindmark (OM) def. Paxton Deuel (POR) 7-6(3), 6-4
6. Jackson Martin (POR) def. Adrian Forberg Skogeng (OM) 7-5, 6-1
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3, 5, 4zzzz
Rebels host Oklahoma State, Washington
The No. 26 nationally ranked Ole Miss women’s tennis team continues a seven-match homestand this weekend hosting No. 36 Oklahoma State and No. 39 Washington.
The first 100 fans to enter Friday’s match against Oklahoma State at 2 p.m. will receive an “I Love Ole Miss” t-shirt. The match is scheduled to be played at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center, but could be moved to the Gillom sports center due to weather.
The Rebels (1-2) have not played a match since the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Junior Caroline Rohde-Moe, ranked No. 27 in singles, leads the team with a 17-6 overall record, 3-0 at No. 1.
“It’s a big weekend for us,” head coach Mark Beyers said. “We have two quality teams coming in. We’ve had two solid weeks of practice both indoor and outdoor to get ready and work on some things. We are looking forward to the challenge this weekend. Hopefully we’ve improved as a team and as individuals and we can showcase that this weekend.”
The players echoed their coach, saying they are hoping to continue where they left off, downing Illinois 4-0 in their last match.
“I am excited to get back on the courts this weekend,” said freshman Mai El Kamash, who is settling in to a routine since joining the team at the beginning of January. “We haven’t had a great start to the season, but I know we can do better. We are looking forward to the opportunity with these matches.”
Oklahoma State comes into the weekend at 4-1, coming off wins against Columbia, Arkansas and Minnesota. The Cowgirls currently have two players in the ITA singles rankings. Senior Malika Rose is ranked No. 75 and sophomore Meghan Blevins is ranked No. 125.
On Sunday, the Rebels will take on Washington at 11 a.m. Fans coming to Sunday’s match will have a chance to win an IPod shuffle.
Washington comes into the match with a record of 4-1 this season, with their only loss coming against No. 2 UCLA.
Admission to all home matches is free.
Newton Named SEC Freshman Of Week
Freshman Abby Newton was named SEC Freshman of the Week, the SEC announced Wednesday. This is the first career honor for Newton and the first time the SEC has honored a Freshman of the Week for women’s golf.
Newton, a native of Katy, Texas, helped Ole Miss to a top-10 finish in the team’s first tournament of the spring season, leading Ole Miss to a 10th place finish out of 18 teams at the UCF Challenge in Orlando, Fla., Sunday-Tuesday at RedTrail Golf Club.
Individually, Newton, who was Ole Miss’ number one golfer heading into the tournament, carded a 76-75-76—227 on the weekend. She finished in 50th place out of the 97-golfer field.
For the 2012-13 season, Newton has played in all five tournament with the Rebels and has a career-best round of 73.
Members of the 16th-ranked Ole Miss men’s track & field team and the Ole Miss women’s squad are moving up the national rankings as the SEC and NCAA Indoor Championships quickly approach.
The Rebel men moved up one spot to No. 16 in this week’s USTFCCCA poll after a good showing in New Mexico last weekend, which was Ole Miss’ final meet before the Feb. 22-24 SEC Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.
In fact, Robertson is the only person in the nation ranked top 20 in the high jump, triple jump and long jump. He currently stands second in the high jump (7-6), sixth in the triple jump (52-8.25) and 19th in the long jump (24-7.25).
Freshman Asia Cooper has been a force in the women’s sprints and had a truly breakout performance in Albuquerque. The Jackson, Miss., native finished runner-up at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational 60 meters with a personal-best time of 7.29 (converted to 7.31 for altitude) and moved up to No. 8 overall in the NCAA rankings, first among freshmen. She now ranks third in school history in that event.
In the 2013 world rankings, Robertson is 11th in the men’s high jump, Cooper is 27th in the women’s 60 meters and Kendricks is 35th in the men’s pole vault.
Last year, the men placed sixth at the SEC Championships in Lexington, Ky., while the women were eighth. Robertson tied for the most points by any athlete at the conference meet and earned the Cliff Harper Trophy.
Already regarded as the nation’s elite track & field conference, the SEC Championships will be even tougher this year with the addition of track superpower Texas A&M, as well as Missouri.
This year’s NCAA Championships will also be held in Fayetteville, March 8-9. New this year is that there are no automatic qualifying standards for the NCAA meet. The NCAA will accept the top 16 athletes in each individual event and the top 12 schools in each relay for the championships.
Here is a complete listing of Rebels currently ranked among the top 50 in their events:
Athlete, Event, Time/Mark (NCAA Rank)
Ricky Robertson, high jump, 7-6 (2)
Sam Kendricks, pole vault, 18-1.75 (5)
Ricky Robertson, triple jump, 52-8.25 (6)
Morris Kersh, triple jump, 51-8.5 (14)
Ricky Robertson, long jump, 24-7.25 (19)
The Ole Miss Rebel baseball team opens up their 2013 season today against the TCU Horned Frogs at Swazey Field. The Rebels are ranked No. 13 by Baseball America in the preseason polls, while the Horned Frogs are ranked at No. 14 in the same poll.
The Ole Miss Rebels welcome in the Georgia Bulldogs into the Tad Smith Coliseum on Saturday. The Rebels are looking to post a win after two straight road losses to the Missouri Tigers and Texas A&M Aggies.
Ole Miss (18-6, 7-4 SEC) is 12-1 playing in front of the student section “Club Red” and the rest of the Ole Miss fan base. The only loss at home comes at the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats, a defeat that started the four game losing skid. Marshall Henderson is lighting up the rest of the conference, averaging 19.5 points per game to lead the SEC.
The Georgia Bulldogs (12-12, 6-5 SEC) had their five game winning streak come to an end on Tuesday against the Alabama Crimson Tide by a score of 52-45. The Bulldogs are led by sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Poe who is averaging 17.7 points per game which is third in the SEC in scoring.
Georgia leads the overall series with the Rebels 66-40, but in Oxford, Ole Miss leads the series 25-21. Coach Andy Kennedy’s has a 5-2 winning record against Georgia. The last time the Rebels and the Bulldogs faced each other was last season where Ole Miss defeated Georgia 66-63 in Athens.
Ole Miss fans can catch all of the action between the Rebels and the Bulldogs on ESPN 2 with the tip off at 7PM.