Friday, Bianco tied Ole Miss legend Jake Gibbs as Ole Miss’ winningest coach with No. 485. The current Ole Miss skipper moved past the former Yankee and two-sport All-American Saturday. Below is a brief list of who stands atop Ole Miss’ wins list:
1. Mike Bianco 486
2. Jake Gibbs 485
3. Tom Swayze 361
4. Don Kessinger 185
5. Pat Harrison 116
6. Pete Shields 114
7. C.M. “Tad” Smith 107
“Obviously it’s special. Ole Miss has been really good to me and my family. It’s a longevity award as much as anything and I don’t say that jokingly. If you’re here long enough… if you’re a player and you’re here for four years you have a shot at breaking some records; I’ve been here a long time, in my 13th year so there was a shot,” Bianco said Saturday. “Obviously there’s been a lot of great players, a lot of great teams and a lot of great coaches. The thing I’m most proud of is that baseball matters here now. I’m proud that we’re about to sell 6,000 season tickets, Ole Miss is talked about as the best college baseball atmosphere in the country, those types of things.
“The fans believe, the administration believes in baseball and wants to win. When they do that it certainly makes the baseball coach’s job that much easier.”
Moving past someone like Gibbs, who has a grandson, Luke, on the current team and is synonymous with success at Ole Miss, meant a lot to Bianco.
“Obviously one of the great baseball men, not just at Ole Miss but in Mississippi, and a man that was a legend here as a two-sport athlete and then he comes back and coaches at his alma mater and then he’s the all-time winningest coach,” Bianco said. “The name Jake Gibbs is familiar, I don’t think just with Ole Miss fans but everybody — I wouldn’t even just say Mississippi — in the Southeast here. He’s a baseball legend. To be up there with him is quite an honor.”
GETTING THE START: Taking the mound for Ole Miss will be sophomore Sam Smith. The right-hander has been a solid substitute for the Rebels, taking the place of Chris Ellis as he attempts to return from a nagging abdominal injury.
Smith is 2-0 in three appearances this season with a 1.46 ERA. In 12.1 innings, Smith has struck out 11 against five walks while limiting opponents to a .250 batting average. Last weekend was Smith’s strongest start of the season; at FIU, Smith allowed one unearned run in six innings. Smith struck out a season-high five against no walks while allowing six hits.
“One of the things we talked about at the beginning of the year was pitching depth,” said Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco, fresh off his program-best 486th victory. “When you knock down Ellis, (Hawtin) Buchanan and (Jake) Waguespack and look up at the 16 guys, those are three guys that you thought the first week of SEC would be part of the rotation or bullpen rotation. Thankfully we have depth and it hasn’t hurt us to this point.”
Lipscomb will send Will Blalock to the mound. The right-hander is 0-1 in thee starts on the year with a 2.65 ERA. In 17 innings, Blalock has struck out 16, walked 12 and held opponents to a .210 batting average.
LOOKING BACK: Friday it was released that John Gatlin will miss the season with both foot and shoulder surgery. Below is the brief Q and A with Gatlin that ran in Saturday’s blog:
Q: Update on the foot?
A: I was actually back for the first time taking in and out with the team (Wednesday) and pretty common fracture in my foot jogging around. I felt like I stepped on a rock. It didn’t get any better and swelled up pretty big. I went and got an X-ray and it’s a fracture on the left side of my left foot. I’m getting a screw put in Wednesday.
Q: Any kind of timetable with the foot?
A: The timetable for the foot is usually four months give or take, it could be longer because it’s a bone that doesn’t heal so you have to have that screw put in and get blood flow and all that stuff down there. Right now the plan is surgery on Wednesday for the foot and in about four weeks when I don’t have to be on crutches any more, I can get surgery on the shoulder.
Q: So, you were jogging around and noticed it then?
A: Yeah, I kind of felt like I stepped on something. I looked around to see what it was and the pain never really went away.
Q: So, now you just kind of look to next year?
A: It is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about it. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be for me this year, so I just have to do everything I can to be a vocal leader and keep the guys spirits up and all that and focus on coming back next year with a lot of rehab this summer.
Q: Where are you academically?
A: I graduate in May. I talked to my advisor about it the other day and as of right now I can apply for grad school or start on another major; I’ll just make that decision later on.
Ole Miss 10, Lipscomb 1
Mississippi State 4, Central Arkansas 2
Vanderbilt 4, Oregon 1
South Carolina 2, Rider 1
Tennessee 16, Alcorn State 0
Georgia 12, Liberty 0
LSU 9, Washington 4
Kentucky 2, Michigan State 1
Arkansas 4, San Diego State 3
Auburn 9, Brown 4
Missouri 6, San Francisco 2
Texas A&M 6, Cal State Fullerton 1
Louisville 4, Alabama 3 (14 inn.)
Indiana 4, Florida 1
Ole Miss 8, Lipscomb 5
Central Arkansas 7, Mississippi State 5 (10 inn.)
Vanderbilt 4, Oregon 2
South Carolina 9, Rider 5
Louisville 6, Alabama 0
Florida 6, Indiana 4
LSU 8, Washington 4
Michigan State 6, Kentucky 1
Arkansas 8, San Diego State 2
Arkansas 4, San Diego State 1
Tennessee 13, Alcorn State 6
Georgia 3, Liberty 1
Cal State Fullerton 2, Texas A&M 0
Auburn 6, Brown 0
San Francisco 8, Missouri 3
Lipscomb at Ole Miss, 1:30 p.m.
Central Arkansas at Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m.
Alcorn State at Tennessee, 11 a.m.
Alabama at Louisville, noon
San Diego State at Arkansas, noon
Indiana at Florida, noon
Michigan State at Kentucky, noon
Rider at South Carolina, 12:30 p.m.
Liberty at Georgia, 1 p.m.
Brown at Auburn, 1 p.m.
Washington at LSU, 1 p.m.
San Francisco at Missouri, 1 p.m.
Texas A&M at Cal State Fullerton, 1:30 p.m.
Vanderbilt at Oregon, 2 p.m.
——— STARTING LINEUPS ———
LIPSCOMB BISONS (6-9 overall)
DH Drew Adams (.255BA /.356 OBP/ .412 SLG)
C Taylor Stewart (.370/.434/.435)
1B Griffin Moore (.238/.439/.429)
SS Aaron Sandoval (.377/.400/.453)
CF Zach Lowery (.311/.408/.525)
2B Noah Chandler (.303/.378/.394)
3B Austin Sistrunk (.160/.250/.160)
RF Lee Wilson (.200/.333/.257)
LF Chad Shannon (.224/.339/.265)
RHP Will Blalock (0-1, 2.65 ERA, .210 B/Avg.)
No. 7 OLE MISS REBELS (15-1)
LF Tanner Mathis (.255/.379/.273)
CF Auston Bousfield (.328/.397/.438)
SS Austin Anderson (.362/.426/.483)
C Stuart Turner (.481/.525/.808)
3B Andrew Mistone (.312/.433/.375)
DH Holt Perdzock (.182/.182/.273)
1B Will Allen (.200/.210/.250)
RF Will Jamison (.289/.429/.421)
2B Preston Overbey (.333/.358/.412)
RHP Sam Smith (2-0, 1.46, .250)
——— SCORING SUMMARY ———
LIPSCOMB 4, Ole Miss 0 (Top 1): The Bisons took a page out of Ol Miss’ playbook from earlier in the weekend by jumping on the Rebels early. Five singles and a sacrifice fly scored four runs for the visiting Bisons in the game’s opening frame.
Lipscomb 4, OLE MISS 2 (Bottom 1): Ole Miss returned the favor, to a lesser degree, in the bottom of the first. Shortstop Austin Anderson scored left fielder Tanner Mathis from second on the frame’s third consecutive single. Center fielder Auston Bousfield then scored on a sacrifice fly to left by catcher Stuart Turner.
LIPSCOMB 6, Ole Miss 2 (Top 2): Chad Shannon led off the second inning by hitting a solo homer into the Ole Miss bullpen. Two batters later, catcher Taylor Stewart took Sam Smith deep, pushing Lipscomb’s lead to 6-2.
Lipscomb 6, OLE MISS 3 (Bottom 3): With rain looming in the distance, third baseman Andrew Mistone singled up the middle to score Anderson from second to split Lipscomb’s lead in half.
Lipscomb 6, OLE MISS 4 (Bottom 4): Preston Overbey hit his first homer of the season with two outs in the fourth, depositing a Will Blalock pitch into the Ole Miss pen.
LIPSCOMB 7, Ole Miss 4 (Top 5): Former Ole Miss Rebel Zach Lowery hit a line-drive homer just inside the left foul pole to end Smith’s day.
LIPSCOMB 8, Ole Miss 4 (Top 6): Shannon hit his second homer of the game with one out in the sixth off Rebel reliever Matt Denny. The round tripper marked the first earned run Denny has allowed this season.
OLE MISS 9, Lipscomb 8 (Bottom 7): Ole Miss exploded for five runs in the seventh to take its first lead of the game. Turner got the scoring started with a two-run single though the left side with the bases loaded. Mistone’s single up the middle in the next at-bat scored another run. Designated hitter Holt Perdzock then tied the game by scoring Turner on a single that bounced under the glove of Lipscomb first baseman Griffin Moore. First baseman Will Allen put Ole Miss ahead for the first time in the next at-bat with a single through the left side, scoring Perdzock from second. In total, the Rebels scored five runs on six singles and one walk.
FINAL SCORE: No. 7 Ole Miss 9, Lipscomb 8.
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Despite falling behind 6-2 after the first two innings, and 8-4 heading into the seventh, Ole Miss never felt like the deficit was insurmountable. After scoring five in the seventh, senior reliever Tanner Bailey pitched 2.2 scoreless to earn his first win of the season, striking out three in the process. In the ninth, Bailey got two fly balls to center field before a throwing error by Anderson, his second of the game, put a base runner on first. Bailey buckled down and got another grounder to Anderson, who tossed the ball to second for the final out. … Mathis had been struggling (compared to seasons past) at the plate and was hitting .255 before going 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Anderson and Mistone also had three hits. Turner and Jamison had two hits. … Lipscomb relief pitcher Hunter Brothers took the loss, allowing the go-ahead run in 1.2 innings. … Sunday’s win marks Ole Miss’ fourth straight weekend sweep to start the season and keeps the team on pace to tie the 2004 team’s 18-1 start.
PARTING VIEW: Below is a post-game interview with Mistone, who was 3-for-4 with two RBIs:
Next up for Ole Miss is two midweek games at Louisiana-Monroe before opening SEC play at Arkansas next weekend.
For more from the weekend’s sweep, pick up a print edition of Monday’s Oxford EAGLE. (March 10, 2013)