That favorite pastime has returned to Oxford, Mississippi. Glory, Glory, Hallelujah.
Ole Miss is set to host an NCAA Regional this weekend and is poised to take the program deep into the NCAA Baseball Tournament and College World Series. However, the Rebels were blessed with some stiff competition in its guests this weekend, including two conference champions and a top 15 ranked program.
The Oxford Regional is paired against the Lafayette Regional (Lafayette, Louisiana, that is) where Mississippi State will be participating this weekend. This sets up the potential for an Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State Super Regional in Oxford the following weekend. Heads will explode if this scenario plays out.
The Rebels, who were picked to finish sixth in the SEC West back in February enter the weekend with a 41-18 overall record, an SEC West Championship and a National rank of 14. But, there is still work to do. Ole Miss has been here before. In fact, the Diamond Rebels have been less than a few outs away from reaching Omaha twice during the Mike Bianco era.
Will this be the year? We break down the path to the College World Series.
– Oxford Regional –
Ole Miss (No. 12)
Washington (No. 14)
Game 1 – Friday, May 30 @ 3:00 p.m.
Washington (39-15-1) vs. Georgia Tech (36-25)
The Huskies are currently ranked No. 14 and finished second in the Pac-12. Ole Miss has faced Washington just once on the diamond previously, losing 7-2 in a 2004 NCAA Regional at Oxford.
Offense – Washington hit its way to a .281 average as a team in 2014. Brian Wolfe, the team’s top hitter, averaged .361 at the plate which included 10 doubles, 35 RBIs and five home runs. Trevor Mitsui also slapped five balls over the fence while batting .335.
Defense – The pitching revolves around the right arm of Tyler Davis who posted team best 10-2 mark this season. Davis’ ERA is just 1.75 in just under 100 innings of work.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The last time Ole Miss and Georgia Tech played each other in baseball, the Yellow Jackets were members of the SEC. That was in 1959 and Ole Miss defeated Georgia Tech in a three game series to win the conference. In 2014, the Yellow Jackets are coming off an ACC Tournament Championship.
Offense – The squad brings a team batting average of .279 to Oxford and a offensive weapon in Junior outfielder Daniel Spingola who posted a .328 avearge with eight triples and 36 RBIs.
Defense – With a team ERA of 3.26, the Yellow Jackets will look to slow down the offensive production of opponents with the arm of Dusty Isaacs who gave up an earned run average of just 1.81 this season despite going 7-5.
Game 2 – Friday, May 30 @ 7:00 p.m.
Ole Miss (41-18) vs. Jacksonville State (35-25)
Ole Miss Rebels
This regional will be the sixth time the Rebels have hosted in the program’s history and the 12th time Ole Miss has advanced to the NCAA Tournament during the 14 years of Bianco Ball. In 2014, Ole Miss led the SEC in batting average (.303) and a 2.76 team ERA by the pitching staff was good enough for fifth.
Offense – The SEC’s best offense (.303 team average) is led by Junior outfielder Austin Bousfield, who led the SEC with 87 hits while Senior catcher Will Allen is second in the SEC in batting average (.352). Junior first baseman Sikes Orvis’ 12 home runs was the second most in the SEC.
Defense – Weekend starters Chris Ellis and Christian Trent combined for a 17-1 record during the season making for one of the best Friday-Saturday pitching combos in the nation.
Jacksonville State Gamecocks
The Gamecocks are coming of an Ohio Valley Coference Tournament Championship where they won six consecutive elimination games. Jacksonville State is 0-3 all-time versus Ole Miss.
Offense – Jacksonville State boasts a team batting average of .294 and are led by Senior outfielder Griff Gordon. Gordon posted a .376 batting average, seven home runs and 49 RBIs this season.
Defense – On the mound, the Gamecocks have relied heavily on right-hander Zacahry Fowler who posted a 7-7 record. Relief pitcher Travis Stout has 15 saves this season.
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Game 3 – Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser – 1:00 p.m.
Game 4 – Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 1, 2014
Game 5 – Game 4 Loser vs. Game 3 Winner – 1:00 p.m.
Game 6 – Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner – 5:00 p.m.
Monday, June 2, 2014
Game 7 – Game 6 Winner vs. game 6 Loser (If Necessary) – 7:00 p.m.