The All-Mississippi Super Regional is finally here, and just as fans always anticipated and wanted, it is between the two premier baseball schools in the state - Ole Miss and Southern Miss.
Oh, we forgot Delta State, they are fantastic and we send our humble apologies. Anyone else? No? Oh wait. Holy cow, I completely left out Pearl River Community College, the reigning JUCO National Champions - so sorry you guys. Super proud of y’all for the first national championship in baseball here in the Magnolia State in a very long time.
OK, now, on we go.
In the Red Cup group chat, it was tough for any of us to really get a feel for how this series is going to play out. On one hand, the Rebels are one of the hottest teams left playing, and it seems like a Cinderella story is playing out for them. On the other hand, there’s history, which is not on Ole Miss’ side, as the program has only advanced to the College World Series once with head coach Mike Bianco.
Additionally, there is some history for Southern Miss in this weekend’s series. It is the first time the Mustard Buzzards have hosted a Super Regional, and with a win, USM would advance to the CWS for the first time since 2009. Now, the 2009 version of USM went 40-26 on the season compared to the current team going 47-17 - the fans in Hattiesburg have to be feeling pretty good about its chances.
And finally, there’s the Mississippi factor the national media will not really pick up on or know exists. Ole Miss fans don’t really ever think about Southern Miss unless the two teams are playing, which is never in football but always in secondary sports. USM fans, however, definitely have an enormous chip on its collective shoulder when it comes to the Rebels.
USM is a smaller school, and it has thrived in the past on a “anyone, anytime, anywhere” mantra of being the ultimate underdog who can always beat the big schools. Its most diehard fans also want to see the Golden Eagles in a bigger conference and think if its teams just had a shot they could compete with Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Those are the fans who will be in Pete Taylor Park this weekend, and they will be full of piss and vinegar toward Ole Miss.
Rowdy atmosphere? Who cares, let’s play some damn baseball already and let Tim Elko dickslap a dinger all the way to Berry’s Catfish.
Ole Miss: RHP Dylan DeLucia - 5-2, 4.68 ERA
Southern Miss: RHP Hurston Waldrep - 5-2, 2.96 ERA
Ole Miss: LHP Hunter Elliott - 3-3, 3.17 ERA
Southern Miss: RHP Tanner Hall - 9-2, 2.60 ERA
Monday (if necessary)
Ole Miss: TBA
Southern Miss: RHP Hunter Riggins - 8-4, 2.59 ERA
Honestly, let’s just win the first two and not worry about TBA. Fans should know it’s very likely to be Derek Diamond taking the hill on Monday if it came to it, but it really doesn’t matter a ton as it is likely that game would feature several pitchers to get through a third game.
How to watch
Where: Pete Taylor Park, Hattiesburg, Miss.
When: 3pm CDT
Online streaming: WatchESPN