Tuesday at Swayze Field

Alex Presley's leadoff double in the ninth on Sunday set the stage for the Rebels to add to their 5-3 lead. Also, Bradley Lum continues to be a big part of the Rebel baseball program. And, Mike Bianco says Will Kline will start on Friday against Bethune-Cookman.

With a 1-2 count, Alex Presley led off the top of the ninth inning Sunday with a double as the Ole Miss Rebels clung to a lead that had shrunk from five runs to two.

Vanderbilt had fought back from a 5-0 deficit to trail just 5-3. But like this Rebel team has done time and time again this season, they fought back for more runs late. This time it was Presley who got things started in what proved to be a four-run, game-clinching half inning.

"I actually had three strikeouts before that," said Presley prior to Tuesday afternoon's practice at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field. "He (Vandy pitcher Stephen Shao) hung a curve ball and I was able to hit it in the gap. At that point we definitely needed some more runs. We only had the two-run lead, and you never know what can happen."

Two batters and one out later, Logan Power doubled Presley home for a 6-3 lead and some insurance. But after Justin Brashear was hit by a Shao pitch, Vandy made a change, bringing in pitcher Casey Weathers. Mark Wright welcomed him to the game hitting the shot heard 'round Mississippi out of the ballpark and this team into Rebel lore.

It was a similar situation to last year's Oxford Regional but in reverse. Stephen Head walked in the fifth inning of the Rebels' game with Oklahoma, the second of three games Ole Miss played in the regional. The home-team Sooners led 3-2, and Wright sent a two-run blast out of Swayze to give his team a 4-3 lead.

Looking for some security in that one, Presley hit one out of the park in the top of the ninth, a three-run shot for a 7-3 victory. With Head on the mound to finish things up, the Rebs were headed to Regional Championship Sunday.

The Rebels are finding all kinds of ways to get runners on base and push runs across the season. Not quite the home run team of the past, this year the Rebels bunt more and steal more. They run more and keep opposing pitchers off balance. It's as if anything can happen offensively at any time for this bunch.

Presley says this year's offense is different. Not necessarily better or worse. Just different. And effective.

"You can see in the numbers like stolen bases that we run a lot more," said the Rebel junior center fielder. "We can hit home runs; we just don't hit them at the rate of last year's team. Our thing is just get runners on and get extra base hits and steal bases, things like that."

Presley says it's all about making pieces of the puzzle fit, and in this year's case making those type things work as the season has gone along.

"It's just a better fit for this year's players," he said. "It's just the style of players on this team. We're just playing to our strengths and it's been working out for us."


Rebel pitcher Bradley Lum is a team guy if ever there was one. The Hillcrest Christian grad joins a growing list of alums from the Jackson area school who have contributed to Ole Miss baseball in the recent past and also the present.

You know their names. In the Mike Bianco era there've been guys like Dustin Cliburn, Glen Morris, Seth Smith, Stephen Head, Cody Satterwhite, and Logan Power who have played extensively and made some headlines. Lum has been somewhat the exception.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound right-handed pitcher only saw the mound three times this season. In 2005 he made it out there in only one game.

Lum didn't make the 25-player travel roster this year and wasn't at the SEC Tournament. But Monday, the day after his teammates brought the trophy back from Hoover, Lum was one of the first players out of the dugout and onto the field for practice.

Takes a special person to be that type team player. Team captain Justin Henry says no doubt Lum is the kind of teammate every player would want.

"He's a great guy and he understands his role," Henry said. "He's one of those guys who just loves being out there with us. He's uplifting to everyone and keeps everyone loose. He's a funny guy and a guy who loves being on the team and who loves Ole Miss baseball."

Lum says it is his love of the game and Ole Miss and his commitment to his teammates that makes him do things like drive back up from central Mississippi to practice with the team, knowing he isn't going to even be dressed out this weekend.

"I get asked that a lot," said Lum of why he is committed to this team and to sticking with baseball through it all. "I realize the big picture, that this is a team with team goals. It's not about individual accomplishments. So you approach it like that and you practice like that, and when your number is called, you go out and compete to the best of your ability, whether that be a lot or a little. You just go out and do your best.

"You have to understand your situation and the circumstances you're in and accept them or you're not going to be happy," Lum continued. "But I think every guy on this team understands that, and that's what's made this a cohesive team this year. We all know our roles and what it's going to take to get to Omaha."

Lum, a former Hillcrest student body president who just got his degree from Ole Miss in political science two weeks ago, transferred to UM from Mississippi College in 2003. He's now been a part of three regionals in Oxford, although he will have never played in one.

And yet he says he feels as much a part of the team as anyone, and he credits his teammates for that.

"This is a God-given opportunity that I've gotten," he said. "I'm sure it might be harder for some people in life to accept something like this than others. But for me it's not hard. I enjoy coming out here every day and being a part of this program."

Lum might have pitched more in college had he not broken his arm the first day of basketball practice his senior season at Hillcrest. He'd had a good junior year in baseball. He decided his best route was MC. After a couple of years, he almost gave up the game. But instead he headed to Ole Miss.

"I was throwing in the summer with Seth (Smith) and we talked about the opportunity for me to come up here," Lum said. "He talked to the coaches and they told me to come on."

So he did, and there he was this afternoon, out on the practice field pitching in an intrasquad game, helping his championship team get ready for the Oxford Regional, a tournament he won't even get to dress for.

"He helps keep us together," Henry said of Lum. "He understands his capabilites and his role and he understands he's important to the team, too. He's a big part of what we've done here the past few years."

And Lum doesn't hesitate to spread the good word about Ole Miss baseball at every opportunity.

"The bottom line is it's a great time to be an Ole Miss baseball player," Lum said. "There've been a lot of things accomplished here the past few years and the future is so bright. The relationships I've built with the coaches and players and fans I'll have with me the rest of my life. My time here has been great."


Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco has decided to continue with his starting rotation of Will Kline, Brett Bukvich, and Lance Lynn for this weekend's Oxford Regional.


The Rebels' Monday practice was shortened by a brief thunderstorm in the Oxford area. Bianco and the coaches wanted to let some pitchers who didn't throw in Hoover or didn't throw much to get some work.

They were able to finish that up today as Tommy Baumgardner, Stoney Stone, Garrett White, Jesse Simpson, Jon-Jon Hancock, and Bradley Lum got in some work.


The yellow t-shirt "Tour de Defense" that's been awarded to a player every day for the past couple of seasons for outstanding defensive play either in practice or in games was worn Tuesday by Zack Cozart. On Monday, Will Kline had it on.

"I think they gave it to me to wear because I made that play in the eighth," Kline said.

That play was the ball hit right back to him off the bat of Commodore Alex Feinberg with two Vandy players already on base which preserved the Rebs' 5-3 lead and set up the dramatics of the ninth.

Although it looked like the ball was hit hard at him and he responded on reflex to first baseman C.J. Ketchum, Kline said in his mind it took a while for it to get to him.

"It really didn't seem like it came to me that fast," he said. "I remember seeing it headed my way."

Good eyes, Will. And good reaction. It was a huge moment of many huge moments on championship Sunday in Hoover.


The out of town teams will start rolling into Oxford Wednesday. Rebel pitcher Craig Rodriguez said he's already heard from some buddies on the Tulane team.

"I had like five missed calls, and they were all from Tulane players," said Rodriguez, who mentioned the Green Wave featured players from Pearl River Community College where he pitched and also from his hometown of Sugarland, Texas. "I think some of us are going to get together and go out to eat tomorrow night."

Rodriguez also mentioned he was recruited by and considered South Alabama before deciding on Ole Miss.


Here's an ironic twist to end the SEC Tournament. Much had been mentioned about the Rebels 1-5 SEC start this season and the improvement since. That was a 1-2 start against Vandy and an 0-3 weekend against Alabama.

That the Crimson Tide and Commodores were the final two hurdles for Ole Miss to win the SEC tournament title were perhaps as appropriate as any two teams the Rebels could have faced in this particular situation.

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