Published on February 10th, 2015 | by Carver Rayburn0
Ole Miss Baseball Starts February 13
Chants of “Throw it in the dirt!”, sunny Spring afternoons, and lots of baseball.
All of this and more are primed for reality. The 2015 Ole Miss Baseball season is set to begin on Februrary 13 when the Rebels host William & Mary for a three-game series. First pitches are scheduled for 4 pm (Friday), 1:30 pm (Saturday), and 1:30 pm (Sunday).
Heading into his 15th year as head coach at Ole Miss, Mike Bianco continues to produce squads that overachieve and compete on the national level. Bianco, who signed a new four-year deal this past fall that pays him a base of $640,000, is 557–323–1 at Ole Miss.
What he did in 2014 paved the way for the extension. Ole Miss was picked to finish sixth in the SEC West.
All Bianco and his staff did was direct an Ole Miss team to an SEC Western Division Title, to Omaha for the first time since 1972 where the Rebels fell in the semi-finals to Virginia, but left no doubt as to their intentions with a third-place finish at the College World Series. It was the best finish by an Ole Miss team in the College World Series since the 1956 team did the same.
The Major League Baseball scouts took notice. Ole Miss saw nine players drafted in 2014, which included three All-Americans (Will Allen, Austin Anderson, and Auston Bousfield). While the success of these players showed in the draft, it was nothing new to Bianco.
In his 24 years as either an assistant or head coach, Bianco has seen 113 players of his sign professional contracts with 21 of them making Major League rosters.
Rebs Ranked No. 18 by USA TODAY/ESPN
Ole Miss will begin 2015 ranked in one of the three major polls. USA Today has the Rebels at No. 18 and for 2015, the Rebels will look again to the mound for support. Veterans Sam Smith and Christian Trent look to be solid weekend starters. Smith, a senior right-handed pitcher started 18 games for Ole Miss in 2014 going 5–4 with a 3.61 ERA. He struck out 54 batters and walked just 21 on the season.
Junior southpaw Trent returns after a stellar 2014 season where he went 9–0 with a 2.01 ERA. The Louisiana native’s strikeout to walk ratio was an impressive 86:20.
The third starter for the Rebels on weekend rotations has yet to be determined. Pitching Coach Carl Lafferty has alluded to two potential candidates in Junior College transfer Sean Johnson and sophomore Brady Bramlett.
Johnson is listed at 6-feet, 7-inches and the right-handed Iowa pitcher can throw a fast ball in the low 90s, has a good curve and developing change up that has given intersquad players fits.
Bramlett, who sat out last year after Tommy John surgery, has emerged a consistent right-handed threat. In 2013, Bramlett went 5–1 and posted a 3.01 ERA.
Leading the charge after a monumental offensive season for Ole Miss is first baseman Sikes Orvis. The senior was selected as an All-SEC first-teamer after belting 14 homers, driving in 53 runs, and scoring 40 times. Orvis has been named a preseason All-American by Baseball America.