Diamond Rebs climb poll after impressive series win
Two out of three ain’t bad — especially considering the competition.
Ole Miss took a pair of games from then-No. 2 Louisville and used the success to vault up the new Baseball America rankings. The Rebels jumped eight spots to No. 13.
The Southeastern Conference claimed the two top spots of the poll with Florida top ranked and Texas A&M second. Vanderbilt is fifth, LSU seventh, Arkansas 17th and Mississippi State 24th. Kentucky fell out of the poll.
Over the weekend, Ole Miss held the Cardinals’ offense — which had averaged 14 runs per game — to just 11 in the three-game set. The Rebels took the first game 6-5, dropped game two, 4-0, and won the rubber game, 4-2.
Louisville fell just two spots to illustrate the respect the Rebs have garnered around the nation.
On the mound
The Ole Miss pitching staff kept the Cardinals in check in the series. Brady Bramlett is a perfect 2-0 on the season, striking out a team-high 14 batters in ten innings. Sean Johnson also is 2-0, while closer Wyatt Short has not allowed a run and has converted all three save opportunities.
At the plate
Tate Blackman continues his torrid pace at the plate, batting .524 with a team-high 11 hits and also leading the team with eight run scored. J.B. Woodman has supplied the power with 2-of-his-7 hits home runs. He also paces the club by driving in eight runs.
Woodman has also showed his speed, stealing 2-of-3 bases.
The Rebels are in action again Wednesday when Memphis comes to Oxford. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.
• Ole Miss has now faced two teams that played in an NCAA Regional — Louisville and Florida International. The Rebs are 5-1 against those two squads.
• The state of Mississippi has two teams in this week’s poll with the Rebels and Mississippi State. The states with the most ranked teams? North Carolina, Texas and Florida. Texas is the only state with two teams in the Top 10 (A&M and No. 9 TCU).
• Ole Miss gets a shot at another ranked team this weekend. The Rebels travel to South Carolina, for the Coastal Carolina Tournament. Ole Miss faces Ball State Friday, the No. 18 Chanticleers Saturday and Cincinnati Sunday.
• Six teams in this week’s poll have more defeats than the one-loss Rebels. Just three teams have more wins than Ole Miss’ six.
• North Carolina matched Ole Miss with the largest jump in the rankings, eight spots. The Tar Heels went from No. 20 to No. 12, staying one spot ahead of the Rebels.
(Feature image credit: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.