06/26 18:22 CDT Mississippi wins first CWS title, sweeping Oklahoma
Mississippi wins first CWS title, sweeping Oklahoma
By ERIC OLSON
AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) --- The last team to get into the NCAA baseball tournament was
the last team standing.
Mississippi scored twice on wild pitches in a three-run eighth inning and the
Rebels won their first national baseball title, sweeping Oklahoma in the
College World Series finals with a 4-2 victory Sunday.
The Rebels (42-23) became the eighth national champion since 2009 to come out
of the Southeastern Conference and third straight, and the trophy will stay in
the Magnolia State for another year. Mississippi State won last year.
"There is so much to be said for how much we overcame this year, how much we
had to fight through, how much we had to pick each other up and never let
ourselves get down," team captain Tim Elko said. "The story of our season is
going to be told for year and years to come."
Ole Miss benefited from a runner-interference call that took a run away from
Oklahoma (45-24) in the sixth inning. The Rebels also overcame a spectacular
pitching performance by Cade Horton, who set a CWS finals record with 13
Brandon Johnson struck out the side in a 1-2-3 ninth inning, with catcher
Hayden Dunhurst running to the mound to embrace and then tackle Johnson after
Sebastian Orduno swung and missed on the final pitch.
The national title is the first for an Ole Miss men's team and the second for
the school. The women's golf team won the NCAA championship in 2021.
It was an improbable journey for the Rebels and 22nd-year coach Mike Bianco,
who was under fire when his team sat at 22-17 overall and 7-14 in SEC play on
Ole Miss beat out North Carolina State for the final at-large bid and had to go
on the road for regionals and super regionals. The Rebels finished the season
on a 20-6 run, including 10-1 in the national tournament.
Their only loss at the CWS was 3-2 to Arkansas on Wednesday. The next day,
Dylan DeLucia pitched a four-hit shutout to beat the Razorbacks and send the
Rebels to the finals. DeLucia was named CWS Most Outstanding Player after
allowing one earned run, striking out 17 and walking none in 16 2/3 innings.
Ole Miss, which won the CWS finals opener 10-3, was down 2-1 going into the
eighth inning Sunday. Trevin Michael relieved Horton with one out, and Jacob
Gonzalez singled through the right side to drive in the tying run.
"Kind of knew we were going to start the scoring in the eighth or ninth," said
Gonzalez, 3 for 23 in the CWS before singling twice and homering Sunday.
"That's how we are. We're going to put the pressure on. We're not going to
strike out and sit down. Luckily, I got a hit and I finally got to help the
team out this week."
Michael (4-2) melted down after that, uncorking wild pitches that brought in
Justin Bench for the go-ahead run and another to bring in Gonzalez.
Hunter Elliott scattered three hits while allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings.
Mason Nichols and John Gaddis (4-2) got the game to Johnson in the ninth.
Horton allowed four hits and walked none during a sterling 107-pitch
"We made it here, and we accomplished a lot this year," said Horton, a
projected first-round pick next month in the Major League Baseball draft. "But
we'll be back. I know that because this team laid the foundation for the future
of Oklahoma baseball."
Oklahoma appeared to have taken a 1-0 lead in the sixth but had the run taken
down when John Spikerman, who put down a squeeze bunt, was called for runner's
interference for impeding Elko at first base as he tried to catch Elliott's
Jackson Nicklaus had been hit by Elliott leading off the inning and was on
third after a sacrifice and wild pitch. He came home on Spikerman's bunt, but
Bianco asked for a video review when Spikerman was called safe at first.
Spikerman knocked off Elko's glove as he ran through first, with the ball
ending up in foul territory. The call was overturned, with Spikerman ruled to
have been inside the base line as he ran through the bag, requiring Nicklaus to
return to third base.
More AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports and