Weekend Wrap

I know what you were thinking as you kept up with Ole Miss-Florida baseball from Gainesville Sunday. I was thinking it, too.

Before Jake Morgan got those last two Gators to strikeout to end it, you were thinking, "A win today and next weekend is HUGE."

So was I. In reality it would still have been a huge weekend upcoming had the Rebels lost Sunday. But to go into such a big series on such a positive means there should be a Regional type feel to the Rebels' series with Georgia.

We'll see what the rankings are, but I'm guessing the Bulldogs will still be No. 1 in some of the polls. The Rebels should be in just about everybody's top 15.

The "new" stadium will be dedicated this weekend. There are supposed to be tours of the entire facility at some point for fans to see the showplace up close and underneath. At least a couple of celebrities will be on hand to throw out first pitches and get the games started.

Chip Clinton, Mr. Throw it in the Dirt, will be remembered. Chip made weekends like Ole Miss-Georgia even more special, more than just another baseball series. He helped make them an event.

Let me put it this way. From all I've heard, this is a don't-miss-it weekend in Oxford. More when we hear.

The Rebels certainly did their part to make the buildup to the upcoming weekend special. At 28-11 overall and 11-7 in SEC play, remember there are two non-conference games to take care of beforehand.

UALR comes to Oxford Tuesday night and the Rebels are at USM Wednesday night. UALR, 9-25 on the year, should be well rested. Their three-game series with Troy this past weekend in Little Rock was limited to one game Friday night because of rain and wet conditions. Troy won the only game played 12-9.

USM lost the last two games of its weekend series with UAB in Hattiesburg 11-5 and 4-1. The Golden Eagles are 24-14 and host Mississippi Valley State Tuesday night.

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A tip of the cap to Coach Billy Chadwick and his men's tennis team. To be called champions, which is what this program can claim quite often, is always special.

To go through any SEC sports season and never lose is a most noteworthy accomplishment. That's what the men's tennis team wrapped up by rolling over Mississippi State in Starkville Saturday.

Now it's on to Auburn this weekend where the third-ranked Rebels will defend their SEC Tournament crown they won last year at Arkansas. The beat goes on loud and clear for this program.

Coach Mark Beyers' women's tennis team will make it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005 after winning some big matches this SEC season and, like their men counterparts, getting past MSU Saturday. Their match was in Oxford.

The men, who play MSU at least twice each season, won their 23rd straight match against the arch rival, dating back to 1999. The women, who normally play the Bulldogs once a year, won their 20th consecutive match against State. And get this. That streak goes back to 1989.

Think about that dominance. The last time the MSU women's tennis team was victorious over the Lady Rebels, Billy Brewer had five seasons left to coach the football Rebs, Ed Murphy was halfway through his tenure as men's head basketball coach, and Oxford-University Stadium had just opened for baseball.

Incredible to beat your arch rival for that long every time you face them.

While the men are defending their SEC tourney title at Auburn, the Lady Rebs play their SEC tournament at Arkansas.

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The men's golf team finished eighth in the SEC Tournament over the weekend. Coach Ernest Ross' team, ranked in the top 30 nationally, will make the NCAA Tournament field for the third straight year.

But this season the Rebels never seemed to be at the top of their game, especially in the bottom couple of positions. It was a struggle to get good rounds from top to bottom in almost every tournament.

It is another good season for that program, and the team can still finish strong in the NCAA Tournament. But to date, they'd admit themselves it hasn't been what they wanted it to be nor what they thought it would be.

With key young players having an impact this season and recruiting going well, the future outlook for the program is excellent.

Coach Michele Drinkard's women's golf program continues to show marked improvement. The Lady Rebs are coming off a seventh place showing at the SEC Tournament this past weekend, their highest finish since 1999. They are ranked in the top 40 currently, so there's a good chance there will be more golf in their immediate future, as in NCAA tourney.

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Then there were dramatics at the softball complex. Lisa Conchos and Ashley Dowdy both hit solo home runs in the bottom of the final inning to give Coach Missy Dickerson's Rebels a 7-6 victory over No. 12 Tennessee on Senior Day in Oxford.

Coach Joe Walker's track team got in on the action over the weekend as well with Logan Waites and Juliana Smith both setting new school records in their events Saturday to highlight competition for Ole Miss at the LSU meet.

Waites turned in a new school record in the 5000 meters as she raced to a time of 17:21.07 en route to a second place finish. Her mark surpasses the previous school record of 17:22.67 that was set by Darlene Calvin in 1989.

Smith posted a new school record in the hammer throw with an NCAA regional distance of 189-10.00 on her way to the individual title. She broke her own school record of 189-02.00 she posted last weekend at the Ole Miss Invitational. Smith went on to record an NCAA regional mark and a fourth place finish in the shot put with a distance of 48-05.25.

All in all, a pretty good weekend for Ole Miss sports all around. And another weekend of action is only five days away.


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