Thursday, January 11, 2007

Rebels Ranked #11 in PreseasonRankings

OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss baseball team continued to find itself in the rankings heading into the 2007 season as the Rebels were ranked 11th-nationally in the preseason baseball poll released on Tuesday.

It is the third poll to have the Rebels ranked nationally as Ole Miss was also in the top 15 in the Baseball America (25) and Collegiate Baseball (20) preseason polls.

“We are excited to find ourselves in the rankings to open this season,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “It is a testament to where this program is and where we want to be that we have been ranked four years in a row heading into the season.”

Ole Miss is coming of a 44-22 season and claimed the 2006 SEC Tournament Championship before advancing to the NCAA Super Regionals for the second straight season in 2006. The Rebels are the only program in the SEC to host an NCAA event each of the last three seasons as Ole Miss has played host to three-straight NCAA Regionals and back-to-back NCAA Super Regionals.

With the 44 wins in 2006, the Rebels posted back-to-back 40-win seasons for the first time in school history. Ole Miss was 48-20 in the 2005 season.

Returning to lead the Rebels are four position starters who all hit .328 or above including Justin Henry, C.J. Ketchum, Logan Power and preseason All-America selection Zack Cozart.

The Rebels return 76 percent of innings pitched from a year ago as the whole starting rotation comes back to the mound for Ole Miss. Brett Bukvich, Will Kline and Lance Lynn all return after closing out the season as the starting three for the Rebels. Closer Cody Satterwhite also returns to the bullpen after posting a freshman record of 11 wins last season, while the versatile Craig Rodriguez returns for his senior season after moving fluidly between starter and reliever for the Rebels.

Satterwhite was named to the Brooks Wallace Award watch list for the nation’s top baseball player along with Cozart, while Kline was named to the Clemen’s Award watch list honoring the nation’s top pitcher.

Ole Miss will open its season on February 10, when the Rebels play host to the University of New Orleans Privateers. First-pitch is set for 1:30 p.m. at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.