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Rebels Host Jacksonville State to Open NCAA Oxford Regional Play - Ole Miss Athletics

Last updated: 06-03-2019

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Rebels Host Jacksonville State to Open NCAA Oxford Regional Play - Ole Miss Athletics

• Ole Miss was selected as an NCAA Regional host for the 9th time in program history, all in the era. • The Rebels are hosting in back-to-back seasons for the first time since hosting four straight from 2004-07. • Ole Miss is making its 23rd NCAA Tourney appearance and its 16th in 19 seasons under head coach • The last time Ole Miss faced Jacksonville State in a regional was to start its 2014 run to the College World Series. • Ole Miss is in search of its 10th NCAA Regional title. • The Rebels earned the No. 12 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament after an impressive 4-2 SEC Tournament run. • Ole Miss went to Hoover having lost 6 of its last 7, but playing six games in six days, the No. 7 seed Rebels went 4-2 with three wins over top-15 teams (Texas A&M, Arkansas, Georgia), before falling on a walk-off to top-seeded Vanderbilt in the title game. The Rebels came from behind in three of their four wins. • The Rebels reached the SEC title game in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2005-06. Ole Miss tied an SEC Tournament record with six games played. • With a 16-14 SEC record, Ole Miss has now finished .500 or above in SEC play in 15 of 's 19 seasons. (1st Team - SS), (2nd Team, All-Defense - C) and (All-Freshman - P) took home SEC honors, giving the Rebels four or more in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2007-08. • All-SEC First Team shortstop was named a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, as well as a Third Team All-American by Collegiate Baesball. Kessinger went on a 40-game reached base streak, spanning from March 8 until May 14, the longest by a Rebel since Tanner Mathis reached 41 times in 2011. Kessinger finished the regular season with 51 hits in SEC play, the most in the league. • All-SEC 2nd Team and All-Defensive Team catcher has caught 18 runners stealing, one shy of the league-high. Johnson has thrown out 45 percent of would-be base stealers this season. • Of the Rebels' 25 losses, 21 have come by 4 runs or fewer, and 19 have come by 3 runs or fewer. • Ole Miss walked the fewest batters (93) in SEC play this season. Ole Miss is No. 24 in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 2.60. The Rebels are 38th nationally and fourth in the SEC with 3.36 walks allowed per nine innings. • Ole Miss is No. 24 in the nation and No. 4 in the SEC with 418 runs scored on the season. • The Rebels have scored three or more runs in an inning 52 times this season. • Ole Miss scored in double figures 18 times this season. The Rebels have reached double figures in hits 22 times. Head coach began the season fifth on the all-time SEC coaching wins chart, and since, the Rebel head coach has moved to third. When Ole Miss defeated Texas A&M 13-3 on Friday, April 26, Bianco won his 739th game as the Rebel head coach, moving him to third all-time past South Carolina's Ray Tanner. On Friday, April 5, Ole Miss turned in a dominant 12-4 win over Florida to deliver Bianco's 300th win in SEC play. Ole Miss has finished at .500 or above in SEC play in 15 of Bianco's 19 seasons. Ole Miss earned four preseason All-SEC honors, the most in Rebel baseball history and tied for the most in the conference this season. Six of the Rebels' starting nine offensive players carry either 2019 preseason or 2018 postseason honors into the start of the season. Full awards list on page 10. - SEC Player of the Week (Week 2), Golden Spikes Award Performance of the Week (Week 2), NCBWA National Hitter of the Week (Week 2), Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week (Week 2) - Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week (Week 3) - SEC Freshman of the Week (Week 8, Week 11) - SEC Player of the Week (Week 12) Three Rebels combined to take home four All-SEC honors at year's end, in addition to selection to the SEC Community Service Team. was named to the All-SEC First Team. earned Second Team All-SEC honors, as well as an SEC All-Defensive Team nod, while was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. The Rebels have had four or more All-SEC honors in consecutive seasons since the 2007-08 campaigns. It's also the first time Ole Miss has had one player on each of the four All-SEC teams in consecutive seasons. This week, and were both named finalists for the C Spire Ferriss Trophy, given annually to the top college baseball player in the state of Mississippi. was a finalist for the Rebels in 2018. Kessinger and Keenan will try to become the sixth Rebel to win the award. Ole Miss and Jacksonville State have met four times, with the Rebels taking all four meetings. The two squads last squared off in the 2014 NCAA Oxford Regional. Ole Miss secured the 12-2 win to spark a run to the College World Series. Their only regular-season meeting came in the opening series of the 2002 season. The Rebels swept the Gamecocks in Oxford, using 10-2, 8-4 and 6-5 victories to take all three games of the series. Ole Miss and Illinois have met a dozen times in their history, and the series is tied 6-6. The teams last met in 1987, with Ole Miss winning both games of a two-game midweek set. The teams first met in 1916 with the Illini winning both contests. The Rebels won the next three meetings in 1917 and 1918. Ole Miss and Clemson have met 13 times coming into the 2019 NCAA Oxford Regional, with Clemson holding the 7-6 lead all-time. The Tigers last came to Oxford in 1984 and left with a series sweep. The two squads have met once in the postseason. Clemson took the 8-7 victory in the 1977 NCAA Southern Regional in Miami. Ole Miss must replace its entire weekend starting rotation as (1st Round), (5th Round) and (12th Round) were all selected in the 2018 MLB Draft. Ole Miss tied for the fewest walks allowed in SEC play this season. Ole Miss entered the SEC Tournament No. 24 in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 2.60. The Rebels are 38th nationally and fourth in the SEC with 3.36 walks allowed per nine innings. earned the Friday night role after posting the team's best ERA over the offseason. The junior out of Lilburn, Georgia, posted a minuscule 0.60 ERA in the fall with 18 strikeouts compared to four walks (4.50 K/BB). He kept it going in the spring, holding opposing hitters to two runs over 11 innings for a 1.67 ERA. Ethridge turned in the best start of his career Friday night against Kentucky, going 7.0 scoreless innings with just three hits allowed, no walks and 11 strikeouts in the Rebels' 8-2 victory. Freshman lefty has moved into the Saturday night role and has been electric. He didn't disappoint in his first weekend start and first SEC start at Missouri. Nikhazy took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and exited after 7.2, having allowed no runs on two hits. closed out the win, and the two combined a two-hit shutout. Nikhazy became the first Rebel freshman to start a shutout in SEC play since Drew Pomeranz on April 5, 2008, against Vanderbilt. The lefty out of Windermere, Florida, was named SEC Freshman of the Week after shutting down Florida, going 6.0 innings with just one run allowed and six strikeouts. He turned in another terrific performance last week against Texas A&M, striking out a career-high 10 in 7.0 innings with no walks, four hits and just one earned run allowed to once again earn SEC Freshman of the Week honors. The 10 strikeouts came as the most by a Rebel freshman since fanned 10 in his collegiate debut. Nikhazy is the only player in the conference to be named SEC Freshman of the Week twice during SEC play this season. Nikhazy's two awards and two Freshman of the Week nods in 2018 made it back-to-back years that the Rebels have had a player bring home the honor twice during SEC play. At season's end, Nikhazy earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team. The final starting role was taken by highly touted freshman . Hoglund was drafted in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates but elected to come to Oxford. The rookie out of Hudson, Florida, has lived up to his billing thus far. His fall ERA was second only to Ethridge at 1.23 over 14.2 innings of work. He was outstanding in the spring as well, posting a 6.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio, going 8.2 innings without issuing a free pass. Before his final start of the spring, he allowed just two earned runs. Hoglund turned in a quality start in his last outing at Swayze against Texas A&M, going a career-long 6.0 innings with just two runs allowed on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts to help the Rebels sweep the Aggies. had a breakout 2018 season that ended in All-America honors and a selection in the 37th round of the MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. However, Caracci elected to return for his redshirt-junior campaign, and he has worked his way back to top form going into the season. Caracci pitched for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team over the summer, posting a perfect 0.00 ERA with two saves and an opposing batting average of .094 in 9.2 innings of work. Heading into the season, Caracci is a first-team All-American according to Perfect Game, in addition to four other All-America nods. He's also All-SEC Second Team and is on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award Watch List. After a slow start to 2019, Caracci has caught fire with the start of SEC play. Caracci went eight straight outings without allowing a run. His streak spanned 13.1 innings, in which he allowed just six hits with three walks, while striking out 19. Caracci earned a spot on the SEC All-Tournament team, tying for a tournament record with three saves. Caracci didn't allow a run in the SEC Tournament and hasn't allowed an earned run in his last four appearances. Caracci is tied for fifth in the Rebel record books for single-season saves (11) and career saves (21). Ole Miss enters the NCAA Oxford Regional at No. 24 in the nation and No. 4 in the SEC with 418 runs scored on the season. The Rebels are averaging 6.7 runs per game, good for 48th nationally and fourth in the conference. Ole Miss has scored 3 or more runs in an inning 52 times this season. The Rebels have had 23 three-run innings, 11 four-run innings, 7 five-run innings, 6 six-run innings, 2 seven-run innings, 2 eight-run innings and one nine-run inning. Ole Miss scored in double figures 18 times this season, including a season-high of 25 against UAPB. The Rebels have reached double figures in hits 21 times, including a season high of 23 in Sunday's series-deciding 10-inning win at LSU. Junior has been on fire since the start of SEC play. He has hits in 33 of 42 games since league play started and went on a 40-game reached-base streak, spanning from March 8 until May 14. His reached-base streak stands as the longest by a Rebel since Tanner Mathis reached in 41 straight in 2011. It's the 17th-longest streak in the nation this season. The outstanding season landed Kessinger on the All-SEC First Team, as well as the Collegiate Baseball All-American Third Team. Kessinger led SEC in hits during conference play. He finished No. 2 in the league in batting average and on-base percentage during SEC play. The junior out of Oxford slashed .405/.472/.556 in league play with 27 R, 26 RBI and 13 extra-base hits. He was also among the top 10 in the league in doubles, total bases, slugging percentage, RBI and stolen bases. had a tremendous rookie campaign, earning Freshman All-American honors, as well as an All-SEC Second Team nod going into 2019—and he has shown no signs of a sophomore slump. Keenan is No. 43 in the nation and No. 6 in the SEC in RBI with 60 on the year. Keenan leads Ole Miss and is seventh in the SEC with 13 home runs this year. He was 10th in the SEC in on-base percentage during conference play. Olenek has hits in 42 of 54 games this season and finished fourth in the SEC in batting average. Adding 13 doubles this season, Oley has 53 doubles in his Rebel career, putting him in a tie for third place in Rebel history. He is seven shy of the all-time record of 60, owned by Brad Henderson. He's also sixth in career hits. incredible start to the 2019 season drew some major national recognition as the junior slugger swept the national awards in Week 2. He's one of the most feared hitters in college baseball, having drawn the 15th-most walks in the country, the most in the SEC. Dillard was also second in the SEC in walks drawn in conference play. Dillard earned SEC All-Tournament Team honors for the second straight season. He had the game-tying RBI and game-winning run against Missouri, scored the tying run against Texas A&M, drove in the tying run against Arkansas and scored the go-ahead run on home run against Georgia. Junior is off to an excellent start to 2019 and is poised to be the next in a line of prolific catchers to play for head coach . Johnson has just seven passed balls in 52 games played and has erased 18 would-be base stealers, the second-most in the SEC, in addition to a pair of pickoffs, leading to a Second Team All-SEC selection and an SEC All-Defensive Team nod. Johnson was named SEC Player of the Week after slashing .545/.643/.909 in the LSU series with 6 R, 5 RBI, 2B, HR. In Sunday's series-clinching win, Johnson went 4-for-5, with four runs scored and four RBI, posting career-highs in hits and runs scored.

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