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Ole Miss Grove Bowl' highlights big weekend for Big 3 baseball

By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
March 29, 2001
Much like last weekend's Super Bulldog Weekend at Mississippi State, this weekend will be filled with festivities on the Ole Miss campus, as the Rebel baseball team will try to rebound from a lopsided 15-6 loss to arch-rival Mississippi State in the 22nd Annual Mayor's Trophy Cup game.
The 16th-ranked Rebels, currently 21-7-1, sit atop the standings in the Southeastern Conference Western Division with a record of 7-2. The Mayor's Cup contest did not count in the SEC standings.
The 4 p.m., SEC contest against the Georgia Bulldogs serves as a backdrop for Saturday's "Grove Bowl." It is the first of a three-game weekend set.
The main attraction in the early afternoon is the annual Red/Blue Game scrimmage that will wrap up spring football drills.
The scrimmage is set to kick off at 1 p.m., in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Admission is $10 with all seats general admission. Ole Miss students, faculty, and staff will be admitted free upon presentation of their University ID card. Kids, ages 12 and under, will also be admitted free of charge.
Due to stadium construction, seating for Saturday's football game will only be on East side, according to Ole Miss athletic staff. The Rebel Club on the East side will not be open either.
Entry at the stadium will be through gates 17, 18, and 19.
Those gates will open Saturday morning at 11:30. No reserved parking will be available for the Red-Blue Game. Activities begin early in the Grove with plenty of food and a free concert.
There is also a softball doubleheader at 5 p.m., as the Lady Rebels hook up with Auburn.
In other Ole Miss news, head coach Mike Bianco's weekly call-in show will debut this Thursday and will run from 6-7 p.m. every Thursday throughout the remainder of the regular season.
Fans can talk to Bianco by calling toll free 1-888-808-8637 or *(Star) 222 on BellSouth Mobility or Cellular South.
Things not looking much different for USM: The Golden Eagles, who are dipping toward the .500 mark, still haven't shown much swagger in the past week, losers of three of their last five, including a non-conference loss to New Orleans on Tuesday that saw the Golden Eagles (15-13) strand 11 baserunners.
USM has the opportunity to improve on a disappointing 2-4 start in Conference USA play when they hit the road to take on the Louisville Cardinals this weekend.
The three-game series begins Friday at 5 p.m.
Following the string with the Cards, Corky Palmer's bunch heads over to Tuscaloosa for a single game against the Alabama Crimson Tide on April 4.
USM trails surprising league leader Houston by four games.
Jeff Cook leads the USM hitting attack with a .381 average. Cook also posts an impressive .602 slugging percentage.
He and teammate Chad Rogers were lauded by the C-USA website for their performances in the Charlotte series last weekend.
Another bright spot for USM is Darren Welch. The Golden Eagle catcher is a candidate for the 2001 Johnny Bench Award, given annually to the top catcher in college baseball.
Welch is one of 35 catchers on the early-season watch list that is compiled from information based on the 2000 season and 2001 preseason honors.
Welch was named preseason All-Conference USA as well as being a Collegiate Baseball Preseason All-Conference USA selection. He has started 26 of 27 games this season for the Golden Eagles and is hitting .291 with 24 hits in 92 at-bats. Defensively, he has 137 putouts, 31 assists and just five errors for a .971 fielding average.
He's at a .467 slugging percentage and .393 on base percentage.
MSU's Brock named SEC Pitcher of the Week: Mississippi State's Tanner Brock did a number on the defending national champion LSU Tigers during last weekend's Super Bulldog shindig.
Brock, who kept the Dogs from getting swept with a nifty one-hit, eight-inning Sunday shutout of the SEC's top-hitting team, has garnered SEC Pitcher of the Week honors.
Only two Tigers reached second base during his outing. Brock becomes the first Diamond Dog to receive an SEC player or pitcher of the week this season and the first Bulldog pitcher honored since Brian Compton in 1999.
He improved to 2-0 with a 1.17 earned run average in three league starts.
The outing was the first one-hitter pitched against the Tigers in nine years.
Brock will hit the road with MSU (14-9) today after dispensing with Ole Miss to tackle the Arkansas Razorbacks Friday in Fayetteville for the three-game series. Friday's game time is slated for 6:30 p.m.
Jason Burkley currently leads the Bulldogs with a .375 average. MSU fans eclipsed 20,000 mark for the LSU series at home, including a season-high 9,264 for the televised Saturday game.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. Email him at rdark@themeridianstar.com.