Category Archives: Ole Miss Baseball

Photo Via:Thomas Wells (djournal.com)

2016 Ole Miss Baseball Preview

I can almost smell it…

The first pitch, the first hit, the first 7th inning stretch, the first playing of Sweet Caroline….

BASEBALL SEASON IS ALMOST HERE REBEL FANS!!!!

Now that that is out of the way, I found it appropriate to dive head first into previewing the 2016 version of the Diamond Rebs. Enjoy!

Ole Miss Baseball preseason ranking: #24 – Baseball America

Coach Mike Bianco Record: 687-417-1 (587-347-1 at OleMiss)14 Regionals, 5 Super Regionals, 1 CWS appearance.

Bianco has never had a losing season with the Rebels, missing the postseason in Oxford only twice.  Bianco has fully established the Rebels as a yearly postseason player.

Opening Game: 2-19 vs FIU 4:00 PM. Swayze Field (for full schedule)

Player to watch: Colby Bortles- With 7 homeruns and a .281 batting average last season as a Sophomore, Bortles will be a consistent threat for the opposing teams and has out of the park ability at any time. Third year in the program, expect a huge year from the Florida native.

Wildcard player: Sean Johnson, the junior from Durango Colorado, missed last season due to Tommy John surgery. Prior to that, he was 10-1 Iowa Western CC with 88 k’s and 16 bb’s according to his biography per olemisssports.com. If he comes back healthy and 100 percent, he could be a signifcant contributor for the 2016 program.

Weekend of interest: Louisville Cardinals February 26-28

Louisville coach Dan Mcdonell is a former Mike Bianco understudy at OleMiss with a record of 406-177 and has turned Louisville into a national power as Bianco has done in Oxford. This would be a great chance at a signature RPI boost and momentum grab going into March and into SEC play.

What to expect: The Rebels junior nucleus of JB Woodman, Errol Robinson, Colby Bortles, Wyatt Short etc. should be of great benefit. Hosting a Regional at Swayze Field is not farfetched. 38 wins going into the SEC tournament sounds about right at this point. Hotty Toddy Rebel fans! See you at Swayze!

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OleHottyToddy: Thanks To The 2014 Ole Miss Baseball Seniors

OleMissSports’ video group RebelVision.com has released an epic hour and a half video recap of the Ole Miss baseball post-season which is without question the best season in the school’s history.  Watch the full video here –> OLEMISS THE SEASON: OMAHA BOUND

Lets take a look at the accomplishments from this year’s senior class and remember them fondly.  HOTTY TODDY!

(Read the original article at OleHottyToddy.com)

Will Allen

Senior catcher from Gainsville, Florida had a break-out season and became a national star in the College World Series. Besides his good hair and his rugged beard stubble, he was a pretty good baseball player too.

Allen finished with the best batting average on the team at .339 among starters. He was also first in doubles (24), second in hits (94) and second in home runs (7).

He started every game this year either at catcher or DH and most importantly was a team leader that should be remembered for this stirring dugout speech in the Oxford regional that helped beat Washington and his sensational tag out at the plate in Lafayette that allowed Ole Miss to finally get to Omaha.

Austin Anderson

The senior utility infielder from Sorrento, Florida settled at third base this year and became a rock solid defender late in the year.

At the plate he finished third overall in batting average (.323), second in runs scored (57) and third in hits (87).

John Gatlin

John started out at Itawamba Community College and is originally from the Tupelo area. John has battled through a lot of injuries to help this team win in Omaha. His pinch hit looper over a drawn in Texas Tech infield will make him a Rebel Hero and will get him a lot of free drinks from now on in Oxford.

In 2013, he tore a ligament in his left shoulder diving for a ball then broke his foot… then he broke his foot again during rehab.

Finally towards the end of this year, he was able to start making a move back in the batting lineup. He had 29 at bats this year and only had three hits total.

Aaron Greenwood        

The 6’-4” senior right hander from Lewisburg, MS appeared in 22 games this year as a relief pitcher, recording a 3-2 record with 5 saves, including a save in the Oxford regional over Washington, an elimination game win in Lafayette in the Super Regional and another save over TCU in Omaha.

Greenwood holds a 2.03 earned run average in 44.1 innings pitched. Opponents hit only .193 against him.

A cartilage tear in his abdomen earlier this year almost prevented his post season heroics. He missed a few weeks at the end of the season but when he got a chance to be on the mound again, he made the most of it.

Aaron Greenwood put this team on his back this year.

Jeremy Massie

Massie was instrumental this year in mid week and weekend relief. The left hander from Sardis, MS transferred to Ole Miss in 2013 from NorthWest CC.

He appeared in 21 games this year, starting nine and finished with a 4-3 record. He was third on the team in total innings pitched (63.2) and finished with a 2.69 earned run average.

Preston Overbey

Senior Preston Overbey has been the consummate utility player during his time as a Rebel. He has been a player without a home, playing catcher, outfield, third base, first, and finally settled at second base this year with the addition of Errol Robinson at short which moved Austin Anderson to third.

The 6’-4” Jackson, Tennessee native did not completely break out at the plate this year, finishing with a .271 average but his contributions in post season, when the team needed a leader, set his senior season apart. Also the spectacular double plays he was a part of with Errol Robinson should not be forgotten either.

Preston’s shining moment this year was in game two of the Lafayette Super Regional.

With the game tied 1 to 1 in the seventh inning and the Rebels absolutely needing some offense, Preston stepped up and pounded a 1-2 pitch to left field. While it was only his fourth home run of the season it saved the season for the Rebels and continued their path to Omaha.

Overbey like a lot of seniors on this team has gone from a largely unknown player to one who was sought out by autograph seekers in Omaha.

When the team bus pulled up at Omaha, the team was swamped at their hotel by Ole Miss fans. “It’s always enjoyable. I love every minute of it. It makes you feel important, but at the same time you have to know how to handle it,” Overbey says.

“We walk down the street and people say ‘Hotty Toddy!’ to us. It seemed like the whole city of Omaha was pulling for Ole Miss.”

This team was not expected to make this much noise but thanks to this group of Seniors, Mike Bianco has deemed this team as , “The best team to ever play at Ole Miss.”

via @PetrePhotog

Rebels Advance in Omaha over Texas Tech

Sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes you’re nail.

(Read original article at OleHottyToddy.com)

The Rebels stay alive in the Omaha College World Series, eliminating Texas Tech 2-1 with bottom of the ninth heroics. Fifth-year senior John Gatlin comes off the bench and delivers the improbable clutch hit over six infielders awaiting a bunt that never came.

As the game unfolded, Tech chose to start a freshman Ryan Moseley who only had four starts on the season. It appeared Tech was content on pitching the pen against Ole Miss and holding their Saturday starter Dylan Dusek for a potential Thursday game.

There will be no Thursday game for the Red Raiders and Tech coach Tim Tadlock will have to think all off-season if Dusek would have made a difference.

Ole Miss head baseball coach Mike Bianco chose to throw his Saturday starter even though on paper this looked to be a matchup very much in Ole Miss’ favor. Of course we don’t play baseball games on paper and this turned into a pitcher’s dual that Ole Miss was fortunate to ‘eek out.

Bianco may be the most criticized coach in America; certainly, among the coaches still playing in Omaha. Every decision Bianco makes (or doesn’t make) is endlessly discussed and questioned among fans and rivals of the program.

While there are many reasons why this seems to be the case, one thing you have to realize as a fan is that coaches don’t have near the control that we, as fans, wish they had on the field.

It would be great if you could play “Money Ball,” play the percentages and your best hitters hit RBI’s and your best pitches get strikeouts.

But that is not always the case.

This week in Omaha, Bianco has had to get real creative. He has had to make some hard decisions, where maybe there was not a good decision.

Certainly, the loss to Virginia was a tough one and many felt like coaches’ choice to pitch to Virginia’s best hitter cost them the game.

Today, Bianco again made another questionable decision pinch hitting for JB Woodman with Colby Bortles and pulling Will Jamison for fifth-year senior John Gatlin, who was batting a cool .103 on the season.

The Colby Bortles call was a no-brainer, a freshman who has been on a tear over the last month as a pinch hitter, but the John Gatlin call; a right hander against a bullpen right hander Dominic Moreno was a shot in the dark honestly.

So many things happen in a game.

If Tech pitcher Cameron Smith doesn’t double pump to second base, Bortles would have been the first of an inning ending double play and Bianco wouldn’t have to make a decision at all.

As a manager, you can’t control everything. In my honest opinion you have to put your best guys out there (the best you have at the moment) and let the kids play.

That’s what this game is about. It’s about the players and putting them in the best position to be successful.

Thankfully for Bianco, he has guys like Holt Perdzock (who scored the first run of the game for OM at a pinch hitter) and Bortles and Gatlin just sitting around waiting for their turn to contribute. It’s not always about the obvious stars in the lineup. This team can and has won in the most unorthodox ways.

It may look like luck but it’s about getting pressure on the other team and letting the players decide who will win the game, and in most cases this year, Ole Miss has had the better players.

Bianco in postgame:

“Really proud of the way the guys responded. I’m really proud of their toughness and being able to respond when things don’t go their way. The guys were really composed going into the bottom of the ninth.”

On John Gatlin’s hit: “I like to see guys like Gatlin, that are great representatives of the University have success. Good things happen to good people.”

On starting pitcher Christian Trent who left after 7 innings with a 1-0 lead:  “Trent has always been so good in our swing game (Saturday). He is still undefeated, and really hasn’t had a bad outing. Even when he hasn’t had his best stuff he doesn’t get beat. There is not a better Saturday pitcher in America than Trent.”

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Bianco Has The Spotlight To Himself

As much as it pains Ole Miss folks to see these words, over the last half-century in the Magnolia State, their rivals in Starkville, that “cow college”  Mississippi State has been without a shadow of a doubt the more superior athletic program in the state.

Since 1963, when Ole Miss last won the SEC championship in football, Mississippi State has managed to reach two Sweet Sixteens in men’s basketball, nine College World Series in baseball, appear in a Final Four, and of course, play for an SEC championship in football.

The Rebels in the last half century in the three major sports on the other hand has a Sweet Sixteen appearance in men’s basketball, three College World Series, and a co-division championship in football.

But when it comes to a sport that both schools are good at, especially since the beginning of the Mike Bianco era in Oxford, baseball takes up the conversation. And after the accomplishments of the Bulldogs in 2013 as runner up in the College World Series, the pressure was amped up on Mike Bianco to get to Omaha in 2014.

“Everything that Ole Miss did in the past baseball wise,”  Acey Roberts told me, “was always done in the shadow of what Ron Polk and Mississippi State did.”

Roberts went on to say that despite MSU’s accomplishments (for the record they have the second longest SEC championship drought behind Auburn), Ole Miss has managed to outplay the Bulldogs in head-to-head meetings.

“Bianco in his time has managed to win more regular season titles, divisional titles, and play in more super regionals than Mississippi State since arriving in Oxford.”

When asked about Bianco’s place in Ole Miss sports history should the Rebels advance to Omaha this weekend, Roberts had this to say.

“If he wins the super regional, he’ll still be second to SEC legend Jake Gibbs.”

And if he wins the national championship?

“He’d be considered the greatest coach in modern Ole Miss history, in any sport.”