By Emily Cochran
The Mississippi heat was no joke in Hattiesburg this weekend. There’s no doubt in my mind that water sales were at an all-time high for Pete Taylor Park. Nevertheless, I’d take all the sweat and tears all over again if it led us here. If you had told me after we got swept by Alabama that Ole Miss would make it to a regional, much less a super, well I would have said absolutely me too. I always believed it even when others didn’t.
A lot of people doubted this team after the way the month of March went. It was madness, and not in a good way. April makes me cringe too. Ole Miss went from number 1 to unranked in a matter of weeks. Yet here we are. Crazy right? I hate to say, “I told you so,” but “hey, I told you so.”
Once you enter into post-season play, none of that matters, just look at Tennessee.
Saturday was a fun one when the Rebs blew things wide open in the sixth scoring seven runs and before we knew it, it was 10-0. Dylan DeLucia set the tone early and Jack Dougherty closed the door to secure the W and take game 1. Nothing like the first shutout of the season taking place in super regional play. As Ole Miss fans like myself know all too well, it’s not over until it’s over and you can never get too comfortable. You let yourself feel like a kid in a candy store for a moment but there’s still work to be done. Don’t blink. Don’t breathe. Nobody make any sudden movements.
If you thought Saturday was hot, Sunday was brutal. Some say it was 135 degrees on the turf. Standing along the fence right in front of first base, I was careful not to lean against the metal barricades. I made the mistake the day before and felt like I touched a hot stove. Maybe I’m being dramatic but you get the point. It was a typical southern Mississippi summer day.
Left-handed pitcher Hunter Elliott seemed unfazed by the heat. He poured gas right on the fire with his performance, racking up 10 strikeouts. The Rebel bats also turned up the thermostat and brought in five runs, one of them an absolute laser from TJ McCants. The ball hasn’t landed yet but should make landfall soon. Captain Tim Elko caught an infield fly ball for the final out and I couldn’t have written that up any better myself.
After many ups and downs for this program, all the almosts and all the not quites, the Rebs are going to Omaha. It’s a dream come true for those of us who have been through the thick of it with these guys. This is a team that snuck in the back door of the NCAA tournament and has kept pushing forward. They are relentless. We all say, don’t let the Rebs get hot.
Well, y’all did let them and here we are. Ready to take that fire into the College World Series. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. See y’all in Omaha.