The Ole Miss Rebels head to the College World Series with a pitching staff that was nothing short of sensational against Regional and Super Regional competition. The list of those who have contributed has been impressive.
One of those has been freshman All-American Hunter Elliott. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder from Tupelo stepped up throughout his first college season. But in Sunday’s 5-0 Ole Miss win over Southern Miss, he may have been his best yet.
Head coach Mike Bianco said Elliott’s first-year progress and success has not really been a surprise.
“We always knew he was good, a high profile recruit coming out of Tupelo,” Bianco said. “He had a really good fall. And once we moved him into the rotation, he’s been terrific.”
Bianco mentioned that Elliott is effective when he is on the mound because the left-hander knows what he can do and has confidence. Elliott’s plan was concise and to the point on championship Super Sunday, and he got it done in 7.1 innings of solid work, which included a career-high 10 strikeouts.
“My big thing going into (Sunday) was to try to avoid as many 3-ball counts as I can,” he said. “I went back and looked, and I think I had three 3-ball counts. My mindset, my biggest thing was just to flood the zone, attack them with my best stuff, and stay out of the 3-ball counts, which was nice.”
It was a brutally hot Mississippi afternoon, mid-90s on the thermometer but much hotter than that on the field. The teams battled through it and Ole Miss came out on top.
Bianco perhaps summed things up best in his remarks after his team advanced to the College World Series. Ole Miss won 10-0 on Saturday prior to another shutout on Sunday.
“This question was asked a lot. ‘What does it take?’ I guess what it takes is don’t let the other team score,” the veteran head coach said of advancing to the final eight of the 2022 season.
Clearly, Ole Miss pitchers have been doing an excellent job of limiting the opposing teams’ offenses in recent games. And on Sunday, Hunter Elliott was the one who led the way.
“He’s had a lot of good games for us,” Bianco said, “but none better than this. He was lights out today.”