Monday, August 8, 2022

Column: The Road to a National Title

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor
adam.brown@hottytoddy.com

The 2022 Ole Miss baseball season ended with the first-ever national championship for the program after the Rebels decisively defeated Oklahoma in consecutive games in the series final.

This season, the Rebels had a historic run through the NCAA Tournament as they reached Omaha for the first time since the 2014 season.

On Memorial Day as the Field of 64 was released around lunch for the Road to Omaha, the Rebels hoped for one more chance to take the diamond.

At the beginning of May, Ole Miss finished a three-game series with the Arkansas Razorbacks and a 7-14 mark in conference action. The Rebels would need to close out with a strong performance to make the SEC Tournament.

And they did.

The Rebels went on a run, winning 8-of-10 games to close out the regular season. Ole Miss swept Missouri, LSU and took a midweek game from Southern Miss. In the final weekend, coach Mike Bianco’s club took a game from the SEC West Champs Texas A&M. 

In the SEC Tournament, the Rebels lost to the Vanderbilt Commodores 2-1, making it a long week until the selection show.

Ole Miss was the last team in the field and had a new outlook on the season. The Rebels stormed through the Coral Gables Regional remaining undefeated by beating Arizona and host school Miami. The Rebels then traveled to Hattiesburg and beat in-state rival Southern Miss to remain undefeated in tournament play.

Then on Sunday in Omaha, the Rebels followed up their Saturday 10-3 domination of Oklahoma with a 4-2 win and Coach Mike Bianco claimed his first National Championship as a head coach in his 25 years as a skipper. He has been at Ole Miss for 22 years.

Looking back at this postseason, the dominating offense matched with pitching by Dylan DeLucia and Hunter Elliott helped lead the team.

In Omaha, the Rebels only lost one game in a chance to force a winner-take-all to take against Oklahoma in the finals. After Arkansas pulled out a 3-2 victory, the next day Dylan DeLucia delivered a legendary performance on the mound with complete-game that propelled Ole Miss into a 2-0 victory.

During the NCAA Tournament, Ole Miss outscored opponents 82-25 through 11 games and the 2022 season came to a close for a team that finished on a hot streak.

And as National Champions.


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