The Ole Miss Rebels have gotten hot at the right time and for the Southern Miss pitching staff, the Rebs were too hot to handle in game one of the Hattiesburg Super Regional.
Whoever decided to start this game at 3:00 p.m. has never been to south Mississippi in June nor played on an all-turf field. The conditions did not, however, bother the Rebels on their way to a 10-0 win on Saturday.
It was strength against strength heading into this Super Regional matchup. The Rebels had to find a way to either get to the USM stellar pitching staff often or have the Ole Miss pitching staff step up like it did in Coral Gables. For the Rebs, both happened. Dylan DeLucia was shoving on the mound while the Rebel offense carried their hot play from Miami into Hattiesburg.
The first inning was similar for both offenses, going down in order with 2 strikeouts and a fly out. For Ole Miss, any inning with a 0 for their pitching staff is a win, so off to a good start.
Both pitchers got into a little bit of trouble in the second inning with multiple runners reaching base and both teams still managed to escape giving up nothing. The Rebels striking out with the bases loaded seemed like a massive opportunity missed.
In the top of the second, USM pitcher H. Waldrep was hit on the ankle on a solid hit by Calvin Harris. In the top of the third, Waldrep walked Bench and Gonzalez to start the inning. Cult legend Tim Elko at the plate with two on no out is almost a guaranteed run at this point. Sure enough Elko singles to left bringing Bench in for the first run. Ole Miss ends the inning with 2 runs after a sac fly from Kemp Alderman chased home Gonzalez.
Dylan DeLucia had incredible shut down inning in the bottom half of the third retiring the Golden Eagles in order. Garrett Wood somewhat made up for the bases loaded strike out with a double, bringing home Chatagnier for a 3-0 Rebel in the top of the 4th.
After giving up a one out triple, DeLucia shut down USM again, keeping the 3 run lead in tact through 4. DeLucia walked two and gave up an infield single in the bottom of the 5th before perhaps the most dramatic foul ball in baseball history took place.
Reece Ewing was inches away from giving Southern Miss the lead. OMG pic.twitter.com/5DwHVMrcbX— 11Point7: The College Baseball Podcast (@11point7) June 11, 2022
There were a couple angles on the replay that had me convinced that the ball was fair. It was the most Ole Miss thing that could possibly happen, it only made sense. Then after zooming in and slowing it down, the ball clearly crossed in front of the foul pole and DeLucia struck Ewing out to end the threat, maintaining the 3 run advantage.
Talk about momentum shifts and the air being sucked out of a stadium. In the top of the 6th, the Rebels put the game away, scoring the final 7 runs of the contest. It was none other than Tim Elko and Kevin Graham both doubling to bring in a combined 5 runs in the inning. Four different pitchers pitched for the Golden Eagles that inning.
While the Rebs won the game, they also had another victory within the game. Ole Miss used one guy out of the bullpen and it wasn't Johnson or Mallitz. Southern Miss had to use four arms out of the bullpen. If Ole Miss can run up the pitch count on tomorrow’s starter and dip into the bullpen again, the Rebs have a real shot to be in Omaha by the end of the weekend.