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No. 1 Rebels Dominate the State Farm Showdown

No. 1 Rebels Dominate the State Farm Showdown

After receiving high praise in the offseason, head coach Mike Bianco’s Diamond Rebels marched into Texas and absolutely dominated.

“Mike Bianco is past his prime”

“He’ll never make it back to Omaha.”

“His best teams are behind him.”

For years, Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco has heard gripes similar to those above from a fanbase that desperately wants a College World Series title. And for years, he’s been oh-so-close to delivering.

In 2014, his Rebels team led by Auston Bousefield and Sikes Orvis was on the cusp of a banner but fell short in Omaha. In 2018, Bianco’s squad won 48 games, tied for the most in a single season with him as coach. However, a hot-hitting Tennessee Tech team managed to come to the Oxford regional and stomp out the Rebs’ CWS hopes.

Since then, the questions have been there as many have wondered whether Bianco has another CWS trip left in him.

The short answer?

Absolutely.

Obviously, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, but if you watched any Ole Miss baseball this weekend, you’re probably feeling the same way I am.

With six of the nation’s Top-10 teams clashing in Arlington over the weekend, we were guaranteed to see some of the best arms and bats that the Rebels will most likely see all season.

If that really is the case, then BOY DO I FEEL GOOD ABOUT THIS TEAM.

Game 1 vs. No. 10 TCU

After winter weather delayed the start of the tournament, the Rebels kicked off the 2021 campaign with No. 10 TCU.

Ole Miss started off hot, scoring 4 runs in the 2nd, thanks to a 2-RBI double from Ben Van Cleve. Hayden Dunhurst followed suit with an RBI single to make it 3-0. Trey LaFleur grounded into a double play after that, but another run scored, making it 4-0.

Doug Nikhazy was on the mound against the Horned Frogs. After striking out 3 of the first 4 batters he faced, he would go on to walk 4 batters and give up 3 earned runs. From there, Jackson Kimbrell, Drew McDaniel, and Taylor Broadway slammed the door shut, giving up 0 ER in the final 7.1 IP and striking out 10.

Peyton Chatagnier added 3 more runs for the Rebels, with a 2-RBI double in the 7th and an RBI single in the 9th.

Final score, No. 6 Ole Miss 7, No. 10 TCU 3.

Rebels move to 1-0.

Game 2 vs #3 Texas Tech

After Doug Nikhazy’s struggles on the mound vs TCU, all eyes were on Gunnar Hoglund in game two, as he toed the rubber for the first time in 2021.

Man, oh man was he something special.

Despite giving up 3 ER in 5.1 IP, Hoglund struck out 11 Red Raiders.

I repeat, ELEVEN OF HIS SIXTEEN OUTS WERE STRIKEOUTS.

Tech hit a 2-run homer in the second, marking the ONLY TIME ALL WEEKEND that Ole Miss would trail. That wouldn’t last though, as the Rebels stormed back in the 3rd, piling on 5 runs, all with 2 outs.

Freshman SS Jacob Gonzalez started the action with a 2-run HR. Hayden Dunhurst would then knock in Tim Elko to make it 3-2. Van Cleve reached on an error, scoring Dunhurst, and then Hayden Leatherwood knocked home Dunhurst with an RBI single.

Tech cut the lead to 5-3 in the 6th with a Dylan Neuse homer, and then to 5-4 in the 9th. Thankfully though, Braden Forsyth came in and slammed the door, recording the final out.

Final score, No. 6 Ole Miss 5, No. 3 Texas Tech 4

Photo credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss

Rebels move to 2-0.

THE REBELS ARE THE #1 TEAM IN THE LAND

Following two wins over Top-10 teams to start the weekend, the Rebels landed atop the Baseball America Top 25 rankings for the first time since the poll began.

Determined to show the reason why they’re number one, Ole Miss went out swinging yesterday, behind a great day on the mound from Derek Diamond.

Peyton Chatangier stayed hot, starting the game with a leadoff double. He would go on to score on a sacrifice fly by Gonzalez.

1-0 Rebels, top 1st.

It stayed that way for a while, as Diamond and Texas’ Kolby Kubichek dueled for most of the game. The two starters combined for 15 K’s.

The Longhorns tied the game in the 5th, only for the Rebels to add 4 runs in the 6th and another 2 in the 9th.

Final score, No. 1 Ole Miss Rebels 8, No. 18 Texas Longhorns 1

Following the weekend’s success, Ole Miss was named the nation’s No. 1 team again, this time by D1 Baseball.

Takeaways from the Weekend

  1. Gunnar Hoglund and Derek Diamond seem to be in midseason form already
  2. Peyton Chatangier is going to be a problem for other teams (5-11, 4 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI)
  3. Bullpen is a strength. In 14 innings of relief, Rebel pitchers allowed just 9 hits, 1 ER, and had 20 K’s
  4. Jacob Gonzalez is REALLY REALLY good at baseball (4-11, HR, 3B, 3 R, 4 RBI, and 1 INCREDIBLE play at SS)

Moving Forward

From here, I’d expect the Rebels to keep rolling. Arkansas State comes to Swayze Field on Wednesday, followed by a weekend series with UCF in Oxford.

If all goes well and Ole Miss moves to 7-0, I’d guess that the consensus No. 1 team in college baseball will reside in Oxford, MS.

Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy this team and enjoy just how freaking good they are at baseball. If there’s anything we learned from last season, it’s that you never know when it could all be gone.

Ole Miss beats three Top-10 teams in three days, extends the winning streak to a record 19 games, and reaches a No. 1 ranking for the first time in program history.

MAN, IT FEELS GOOD TO BE AN OLE MISS REBEL!

Up Next

Rebels are back in action Wednesday at 4pm at Swayze Field vs Arkansas State.

(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)

About The Author

Jake Evans

Jake is a senior Integrated Marketing and Communications major at Ole Miss, from Nashville, TN. Along with RW, Jake hosts "The Flagship Football Show" podcast. He's also a huge fan of the Rebels, Titans, Predators, and Braves.

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