Every singly time the Rebels are an inch away from being officially out of hosting, they bring it back. Lose the first 2 against LSU? How about a mega comeback to avoid the sweep? Back that up with a sweep over South Carolina and then fall to Texas A&M and go back to the bubble. Season on the line (and Gunnar out for the year), how about a 10-run inning on Sunday to fuel a series win over #2 Vandy? If they can beat (or sweep) UGa this weekend, they can solidify that 16th hosting spot, but I honestly think they’ll lose and need a run in the SEC Tournament to have a chance. This rollercoaster is making a lot of Rebel fans nauseous.
Game 2 of the Vandy series featured Jack Leiter coming back from that 1-week hiatus. He was struggling for a few weeks before being skipped in the rotation and apparently the extra week of rest helped. The man tossed 6 innings of 2-hit ball and recorded the win.
For the Rebels, Derek Diamond went 4.1 innings from the starting role and allowed 6 runs. That early deficit was only compounded by a tough outing from Tyler Myers who allowed 4 runs in 1.2 innings. Johnson and Adcock allowed 3 more in 3 innings as the Commodores scored a run in every inning a reliever pitched.
As for the offense, nobody stood out. The Rebels scored 2 runs on 5 hits. They had more than their fair share of 0-fors and stuck out a whopping 17 times. Not a single extra base hit was produced by a Rebel bat in this game as they got blown out, 13-2. One positive, the chase for the “leave them loaded” record stayed alive. Ole Miss left 3 on in the 7th and then 2 on in both the 8th and 9th innings.
Sunday came and Drew McDaniel got his chance at the Dores. I’m sure most Rebel fans saw the loss of Gunnar Hoglund as a sign that this season was over, but McDaniel did just enough to ensure this wasn’t his last weekend at Swayze Field.
He pitched 3.2 innings and allowed 6 runs, but that is due to him going cold while the Rebs rattled off a massive 10 run inning in the 3rd. Austin Miller got roughed up and allowed a run without recording an out, but Jackson Kimbrel bridged the gap with 3.2 inning of relief allowing 2 to score while the offense continued to create a cushion.
Freshman Jack Dougherty bailed Kimbrel out of the 8th inning before it was time for Taylor Broadway to shut the door on the Vandy Boys by striking out the side in the 9th. Ole Miss gave up 10 runs in all, but the offense was electric enough to hang on for the win.
Jacob Gonzalez was voted the SEC Freshman of the Week following his 3-3 day with 4 RBI and 2 bombs. Cael Baker delivered the crucial 3rd inning 3-run bomb that put the Rebs up big early on, while Hayden Dunhurst added a pair of XBH which included a sweet homer of his own.
Freshman TJ McCants kept getting himself on base and scored 3 of the Ole Miss runs in this game. When veteran guys like Kevin Graham and Peyton Chatagnier are the only players held hitless, you know the offense is rolling. Ole Miss scored 13 runs on 12 hits. It was due in large part to the 4 homeruns and 7 total XBH. Vandy was throwing a beach ball at the DiamondRebs on Sunday and Ole Miss made them pay.
When it was all said and done, the student section was out of beer. So many home runs (and beer showers) ran the Rebel faithful dry. That is a problem Ole Miss loves to have. Hopefully, that is a problem they have come Regional Tournament time, which could (believe it of not) actually still be in Oxford.
Ole Miss lost Chatty and struggled the following weekend. After they started rolling again, Tim Elko tore his ACL, and they went on a bad stretch. Elko is now back, in a limited capacity, and his presence is felt by all the players and fans. Gunnar just tore his UCL last weekend. How did the Rebels respond? They took 2 out of 3 from the #2 team in the nation. This team just does not quit.
I know, I sound like a flip-flop. “they’re in” then “they’re out” then “they’re in” then “they’re out” and so on. In true Rebel fashion, this team won’t let us know if they’re hosting regionals until they get knocked out (or win) the SEC Tournament. It can be gut wrenching, but it’s Ole Miss to a T.
1 last midweek matchup will be played on Tuesday as UT-Martin comes to town. After that, Ole Miss will travel to Athens, GA for the final regular season weekend against Georgia. To anybody thinking about going to the games: go. A nice series against UGa (the other team that knocked off Vandy in conference play), will sure up the 5 or 6 seed in the SEC Tournament and bolster that hosting resume.