By Adam Brown
A great baseball season for the Ole Miss Rebels came to a close in the championship game of the Tucson Super Regional with a 16-3 loss to the Arizona Wildcats on Sunday night.
“A lot of high expectations going into (the game),” head coach Mike Bianco said. “This team won 45 games and (was) one game from getting to the College World Series. We were the 12th national seed, and this team had a terrific year.”
Ole Miss (45-22) could not stop the offensive outburst by the Wildcats with all of their runs coming on 20 hits.
The Rebels senior closer Taylor Broadway got the start on the mound.
“Our best bullet was Taylor,” Bianco said. “We just decided to go with our best bullet. Today, Arizona was just so good offensively. It wasn’t Taylor’s fault; he was the guy that we wanted out there. One of those days they would have beat anyone in the country.”
Arizona’s offense jumped on the Ole Miss pitchers starting in the third with a home run off the bat of Jacob Berry.
“Tonight they hit everything,” Bianco said. “We played a really good Arizona team.”
Ole Miss scored a run in the third inning. Catcher Hayden Dunhurst set the table with a knock through the right side followed by a double by Hayden Leatherwood. Dunhurst knotted the game up on a sacrifice fly by Cael Baker.
In the fourth, Arizona scored seven runs that opened the game up against the Rebels pitchers.
Arizona’s bottom of the order was a challenge for the Rebel pitchers to retire as they accounted for 9 of the 20 hits.
“The bottom of the lineup (for Arizona) was so good,” Bianco said. “(Kobe) Kato got three or four hits. (Ryan) Holgate got four hits tonight with a homer. The bottom of the lineup did a lot of damage.”
Broadway (4-3) finished the night having worked 3.0 innings and surrendered six runs on eight hits with two strikeouts.
Ole Miss called on Jack Dougherty (0.1), Brandon Johnson (1.2), Jackson Kimbrell (1.1) and Drew McDaniel (1.2) after Broadway against Arizona.
The Rebels could not get anything going against the Wildcats hurlers Dawson Netz and TJ Nicholas until the eighth. Ole Miss’s shortstop, Jacob Gonzalez, smashed a solo bomb to right field.
Gonzalez’s home run was the fourth hit of the game for the Rebels.
In the ninth, Ole Miss’s team captain, Tim Elko, delivered the final hit of the season, a double. Elko got pinched run by John Rhys Plumlee to get a curtain call by his teammates and fans for his accomplishments on the season.
“It hurts losing this close to Omaha,” Bianco said. “When these kids look back, I think they are going to be really proud of what they all accomplished.”