Minden Press-Herald

Thursday
Oct 02nd

Ole Miss eliminates UL-Lafayette

rajincajunLAFAYETTE (AP) — Ole Miss took a page from Louisiana-Lafayette's playbook Monday night.

More precisely, the Rebels ripped that page out and threw it back into the faces of the country's No. 1 team.

The Rebels also ripped away the College World Series berth that the Ragin' Cajuns so desperately wanted to cap a stellar season, and they ended two generations of frustration.

Instead of the nation's top-ranked team and the club with the country's best record making the journey to Omaha, Nebraska, it's an unlikely Ole Miss team headed to college baseball's mecca for the first time in more than four decades.

Just like the Cajuns had done so many times on the way to a school-record 58 victories, the Rebels used the long ball early, stretched their advantage with manufactured insurance runs in the middle innings and got strong relief pitching down the stretch.

Ole Miss likely didn't need any more, but the Rebels sent their fan sections at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field into choruses of "Hotty Toddy" with four tack-on runs in the ninth on the way to a 10-4 win in the winner-take-all final game of theLafayette super regional.

The Rebels (46-19), coming back from a Saturday Game 1 loss with two straight wins on the Cajuns' home turf, punched their ticket to the College World Series for the first time since 1972. Ole Miss will face No. 3 seed Virginia, an 11-2 winner over Maryland on Monday night, at 7 p.m. Sunday at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in the opening round.

"To come here, for us to play and win two games here was a huge feat," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "As we noted (Sunday) night, the road to Omaha is bumpy and windy. I didn't think it would take this long, but when you go, you have to have a special group. And this group is that."

The Cajuns (58-10) are left to ponder what might have been.

UL-Lafayette, the nation's top power-hitting team, out-hit the Rebels 10-9 but left runners on base in every inning but the ninth. Instead of a host team that ranked second nationally in home runs, it was Ole Miss that had two homers in a two-minute span that negated an early Cajuns lead.

Twice in the game, Ole Miss scored single runs without the benefit of a hit. In fact, other than the fourth inning when Austin Anderson and Sikes Orvis both homered to provide three runs, the Rebels had only two other hits the rest of the game until the ninth-inning surge. But they made them count, thanks to yeoman relief work from Scott Weathersby and Josh Laxer.

That pair limited UL-Lafayette to one unearned run in the final five innings after the Cajuns had rallied back to tie the score at 3 with a pair of fourth-inning runs. Weathersby (3-1) came on after Ryan Leonards' RBI double scored the tying run and didn't allow a run in the next two innings.

 

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