For today's DM, I wrote a guest column that discusses our Rebels and this all important weekend. You can click here, or the entire article is after the jump.
By Brian Walker’s Elbow
The Ole Miss Baseball team will face a formidable challenge this weekend when the Virginia Cavaliers come to Oxford for the Super Regional and, consequently, the right to go to Omaha. It is a team unlike any of Bianco’s other teams. It has character, and no matter how far behind or how bad it looks, the players continue to fight. However, it has its quirks as well.
Kevin Mort and Tim Ferguson play "around the world" with baseballs and a basket during warmups.
While batting with two strikes, the players in the dug-out rub two fingers on the bills of their caps. After the fourth inning when "The Love is Gone" is played, they have certain hand motions for each part that make a fan wonder "why are they not putting that energy into practicing baseball?"
But, it is rather entertaining to watch all of the old people try to do the motions in rhythm with the players.
My advice to section G: stick to "Sweet Caroline." While I criticize the players for these actions, maybe these superstitions are the things that have carried us this far.
The journey to the brink of going to Omaha has been far from easy as three players were suspended for opening weekend play, Chris Corrigan was dismissed from the team for violating team rules and Scott Bittle has been injured since experiencing pain during warm-ups on May 3.
The team encountered on-the field obstacles as well. It began with a rough start in Mobile where the team went 1-2 against subpar competition. When they returned to Oxford, they were outslugged by TCU. Just when they got on a streak, they dropped a home series to South Carolina. They recovered momentum by taking series from Georgia, Florida and Auburn, but promptly lost to an awful MSU team. After sweeping at Arkansas, they were crushed in the SEC tournament.
Just when it appeared that the team was going to choke in the postseason yet again when it lost a 9-3 late inning lead against Western Kentucky in the regional, Drew Pomeranz came back on two days rest and pitched one of the best games ever by an Ole Miss pitcher. Really, this performance epitomizes the season for Ole Miss. A different player is the hero in each game. In the last game, Pomeranz was the one that was out there "grinding it out," as his coach likes to say. In early midweek action, it was David Phillips with a walk-off homerun to beat Austin Peay. When Pomeranz unexpectedly could not start against Kentucky, Philip Irwin stepped in and pitched eight innings and got the win. Against then ranked No. 1 Georgia, Scott Bittle climbed the hill and silenced their potent offense to take the series.
On Friday at 1 p.m., these same Rebels will take the field. The same team that lost a series to Mississippi State but swept at Arkansas, another team that is in a Super Regional this weekend. One Rebel is waiting in the shadows to be the hero that finally gets Bianco’s boys to Omaha. So, Rebel fans, show up to the stadium on Friday wearing red and cheer this team all the way to Rosenblatt Stadium.