2006-2007 Season's Discussion:
The Ole Miss Rebels Baseball team is ranked as high as 11th in one preseason poll and in the top 25 in most other preseason polls. The Rebels reached as high as 4th in polls the past 2 seasons. Ole Miss finished 11th in last years poll and finished 9th in the 05 poll.
This season Ole Miss returns four position players that all hit .328 or higher. They are Justin Henry, CJ Ketchum, Logan Power and preseason All American Zack Cozart. The Rebels return 76 % of all innings pitched from last year. The entire starting rotation returns. Brett Bukvich, Will Kline and Lance Lynn were the weekend starters when the season ended.
All will be back along with top closers Cody Satterwhite who has been clocked at 97-98 MPH and Craig Rodriguez. Nick Hetland also returns. Hetland had 3 starts early in the season but suffered a season ending injury.
The Rebels will be lead by head coach Mike Bianco. Bianco is building a powerhouse at Ole Miss where he has had 5 post season appearances out of his six seasons at Old Miss including 3 straight regionals and back to back super regionals. The Rebels were within 1 out of reaching the College World Series in 2005, losing the deciding game to eventual national champion Texas.
Ole Miss baseball's catcher Justin Brashear. Thanks to sportsphotography at flickr.com for the picture.
Under Bianco attendance at Rebel baseball games have skyrocketed (#5 nationally in 07). Several games have had nearly 10,000 fans and more in attendance. The Rebels lost top assistant coach Dan McDonnell, who was named head coach for the Louisville Cardinals at the end of the season and Stuart Lake who returned to his native state of South Carolina. However the Rebs replaced them with South Alabama assistant Rob Reinstetle who is considered to be one of the top young recruiters in the country and Kyle Bunn and Carl Lafferty. Lafferty served Ole Miss as the administrative assistant last season while Bunn served as volunteer coach. The 2007 Ole Miss Rebels Baseball team is considered young but still experienced. They could compete for the national title this season as well as the 2008 season as the Rebels should have a solid nucleus returning next year.
A telling early season test will be when Ole Miss plays a three game series against 13th ranked UCLA March 9 - 11 in Oxford.
The Ole Miss Rebels Baseball team is the defending SEC Baseball Tournament Champion. Bianco has experience on the national scale as he has won the national championship while an assistant coach at his alma mater, LSU. While Bianco was LSU's catcher the Tigers finished 3rd in the College World Series. LSU courted Bianco last year to return to LSU as the head coach to replace Smoke Lavell, however Bianco signed a contract extension with Ole Miss as he plans to continue to keep the Rebels as one of the nations most elite programs. As long as Bianco is leading Ole Miss Rebels Baseball, fans expect them to compete on a national level season after season.
Read about the rivalry with Miss. State at Best SEC Baseball Rivalry.
A special thanks to secsportsfan.com reader C. Bouknight, of West Columbia, SC, for contributing this report on his alma mater -- The University of Mississippi.
It wasn't until 1940 when the Ole Miss baseball team experienced its first no-hitter in the team's history with an 8 to 0 win over Mississippi State. The rivalry with Mississippi State has been called the Best SEC Baseball Rivalry.
Though the Ole Miss Rebels baseball team didn't hit the field between the for two years, 1944 and 1945, due to World War II they returned in 1946 with the coach C.M. "Tad" Smith at the head.
Tom Swayze coached the Ole Miss baseball team for 21 seasons and under his coaching the team emerged into the national level. Under Swayze the Ole Miss Rebels baseball team earned 11 consecutive winning season, 1954 to 1964, and only three losing seasons.
Ole Miss Pitcher collage. Thanks to shockingbird at flickr.com for the photo.
The first modern no-hitter was played under Swayze's reign in the modern era in the year 1956 when the Ole Miss baseball team played Vanderbilt. It was also in that year when Bernie Schneiber became the first Ole Miss Rebel baseball player to become an All-American. The team would claim the first of four conference crowns in 1959 by gaining the SEC Western Division title and defeating Georgia Tech two games to one in the SEC Championship Series.
The second SEC title would be won in 1960 which was the icing on the cake for the Ole Miss Rebels baseball season with a school record of a 17 game winning streak. The remaining two SEC titles would be won in the 1964 and 1969 years. Following those the Ole Miss Rebels baseball team would earn a berth in the NCAA District III Playoffs and earn a spot in the College World Series for both title years.
Under Swayze the Ole Miss Rebel baseball team would have four All-American players, Jake Gibbs in 1960 and 1961, Donnie Kessinger in 1964, Jimmy Yawn in 1966 and Whitney Adams in 1970. During his stint as the Ole Miss Rebels baseball head coach Swayze would be awarded SEC's Coach of the Year four times in the years 1959, 1960, 1964 and 1969.
In more current history of the Ole Miss Rebels baseball history in 2000 when Mike Bianco became head coach. Bianco was an assistant coach under the legendary Bertman from LSU and also a player for the LSU team. During the Ole Miss Rebels baseball team's first year under Bianco they tied for second in the SEC West when they were only expected to finish sixth. The team also finished the season with a 39-23-1 record, which was just one win away from the school record. Bianco began his career with the Ole Miss Rebel baseball team with excitement and the most recently year is no different.
In 2006 the team would finish with the second straight 40-win season and having claimed the SEC Tournament Championship. This SEC Tournament win would be the first that the Ole Miss Rebels baseball team had earned since 1977. The team also claimed the NCAA Super Regionals that year.
Last season, Ole Miss had the 5th highest average fan attendance record -- in all of NCAA baseball.
The 2007-2008 Ole Miss Rebels baseball team will be led Cody Satterwhite. They look strong. We think they'll win the SEC West and battle it out with South Carolina and Vanderbilt for #1 in SEC baseball. We expect the Rebs to make it to the CWS and maybe even win it all in 2008.
Ole Miss Baseball Team Huddle. Thanks to shockingbird at flickr.com for the photo.
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