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Ole Miss advance to CWS Final

In the decisive third meeting of the Ole Miss Rebels and the Arkansas Razorbacks in Omaha, the Rebels came out on top 2-0 in a spectacular pitching duel.

Photo by Bella Wood /Ole Miss Athletics
Bella WoodOle Miss Athletics

Coming off of the most dramatic game of the College World Series in Game 12, both the Ole Miss Rebels and Arkansas Razorbacks had the unenviable job of trying to repeat that performance in Game 13′s elimination situation. In the end, it was not the bats, but a superb pitching duel that was staged for the crowd, with the Arkansas baseball season coming to an end.

Ole Miss, the last team admitted to the NCAA tournament, has gone 8-1 since, and are now heading to the final series against Oklahoma for the national championship.

Taking the mound on short rest, Dylan DeLucia put on a masterclass complete-game, no-hit performance, throwing 113 pitches, allowing only four hits and striking out seven.

For the Hogs, Connor Noland went eight innings, giving up only two runs on seven hits. Neither team walked a batter. This was one of the best-pitched games played in the College World Series by both teams.

But now the challenge for the Rebels is to take this hard-fought grind, and stick it to the Sooners, a feat perhaps easier said than done. Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco knows how important the next step is, saying, “One of the challenges we talked about is to not just come here, but to win. This isn’t a bowl where years from now people know if you went to a bowl, but they don’t know if you won or lost. You went to the Gator Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, whatever. This is a tournament where it’s like basketball, you’re supposed to win and move on.”

In a contest that lasted only two hours and six minutes, and with both pitchers throwing majority strikes, the order of the day was ground balls and strikeouts. Very few hits got through the infield, on either side. Twice, Ole Miss managed a leadoff single and those became the only runs of this fast-paced game. Justin Bench managed to score on a two-out double by Kevin Graham in the fourth and Tim Elko scored on a single by Calvin Harris in the seventh.

Coach Bianco was firm in where the focus should be, though. “We got a couple of huge hits by Kevin and Calvin Harris, the timely hit that we talk about so much. But the story of the day was Dylan. It was just a legendary performance.”

The Razorbacks had few chances in the game and never had a leadoff batter reach base, giving the Rebels the definitive victory in this matchup by a score of 2-0. The Rebs will now advance to the final series, a best-of-three series for the national championship against the Oklahoma Sooners.

The Sooners have had a run almost as magical as the Ole Miss tournament, after a strong end to their season, they blasted through the Big 12 tournament before upsetting Florida at the Gainesville regional. They followed this up by toppling national number-four Virginia Tech in the super regional and sending both Texas A&M and a Cinderella-season Notre Dame team home in Omaha.

Ole Miss will be looking to bring the trophy back to Mississippi for the second year in a row after in-state rivals Mississippi State won it in 2021. For their part, Oklahoma will be looking to become the first school ever to hold both the Men’s and the Women’s College World Series trophies in the same year.

All of the action for the 2022 college baseball season boils down to this. First game of the championship finals is on Saturday, with the first pitch at 7 p.m. ET. Game 2 will then start at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday and Game 3, should it become necessary, will be on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

Oklahoma will be the nominal home team for Game 1, Ole Miss will be the home team for Game 2, and Game 3 will decide the home team by a coin toss.


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