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OLEMAHA! Ole Miss Sweeps Southern in Hattiesburg Super Regional, Punches Ticket to College World Series

OLEMAHA! Ole Miss Sweeps Southern in Hattiesburg Super Regional, Punches Ticket to College World Series

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Hunter Elliott toned out the chants and the distractions and turned in the best performance of his young career as Ole Miss defeated Southern Miss, 5-0, and punched their first ticket to Omaha since 2014.

Click here for box score.

PITCHERS’ DUEL

For the second consecutive game, both teams would get runners into scoring position early but fail to score. For the Rebels, they would get the first two aboard in the bottom of the first, but a double play would end the threat.

Then, the Eagles would get a two-out single by Will McGillis, who would then reach third on a throwing error from Elliott. Gabe Montenegro would then scorch a line drive to first, but a fantastic play by Tim Elko saved the run.

The Rebels would again get the first two on to start the home half of the second inning, but three straight strikeouts by Tanner Hall would end the threat.

Elliott would keep pace, however, by striking out the side in the Golden Eagle third to keep the game scoreless.

Both hurlers continued to have no trouble through the first four innings. Both Elliott and Hall had five strikeouts through four, with the Rebels managing only three hits and the Eagles just one in that span.

Elliott would pick up his sixth strikeout in the top of the fifth inning as he worked another 1-2-3 frame, helped out by a fantastic defensive play by Peyton Chatagnier.

REBS BREAK THROUGH

In the home half of the fifth, Calvin Harris would get a leadoff single followed by a Justin Bench double. Jacob Gonzalez would then hit a high chopper on the infield that scored Harris, and Gonzo would be safe at first.

And the Rebs wouldn’t be done just yet. A passed ball would score Justin Bench to make it 2-0, followed by a Kevin Graham RBI single that would make it 3-0.

THE HUNTER

Ole Miss freshman phenom pitcher Elliott has grown up a lot over the last few weeks of the season, and he continued that maturation process on the biggest stage of his young career so far.

Through six innings, he had allowed just one hit, no runs, and had struck out eight Golden Eagles to keep the Rebels in front. He had retired 13 consecutive batters faced and had thrown just 67 pitches to do it.

KEEPING THE PRESSURE ON

After Hayden Dunhurst led off the sixth with an infield single,  Hall would get Chatagnier on a groundout and the Ferriss Trophy winner’s day would be done. He would give way to Dalton Rogers out of the bullpen with a runner in scoring position and one out.

After getting pinch hitter Ben Van Cleve to strike out, Rogers saw Bench rope an RBI single into left center to make it 4-0 Rebels, before a Gonzalez fly out would end the frame.

THE LEGEND OF ELLIOTT

By the time the top of the seventh inning was complete, Elliott had cemented his legacy in Ole Miss lore. The freshman didn’t look like a freshman. Through seven complete innings pitched, he had allowed just one hit, no runs, no walks, and had struck out ten Eagles on just 87 pitches.

On the biggest stage, Elliott didn’t let the moment get to him. He just went out and pitched the best game of his career. He would give way to Josh Mallitz in the eighth inning with two Golden Eagles on base and one out.

The Rebel faithful in attendance would respond with a standing ovation for Elliott on his way off the field.

After the game, Hunter talked about what his mindset was coming into such a high pressure game.

My big thing going into today was try to avoid as many three-ball counts as I can. I went back and looked and I think I had three three-ball counts. My biggest mindset today was fill up the zone and attack with my best stuff and stay out of three-ball counts.”

Hunter Elliott

#OLEMAHA

Josh Mallitz would stay on the field through the remainder of the contest, including getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth to keep Southern Miss off the board.

TJ McCants, getting his first at-bat of the weekend in the same inning, would add some insurance.

Mallitz would cruise through the top of the ninth, and the Rebels would complete the two-game sweep in Hattiesburg and punch their first ticket to Omaha since 2014.

Justin Bench, one of the biggest senior leaders on the team, talked about what it means to finally break through.

I’m speechless right now. Just so proud of this team. When we were 7-14 and it looked like we were out of it, we just stuck together. Team leadership came together and we just kept winning, that was the year, and I’m just proud of this team.

Justin Bench

The Rebels will face either Auburn or Oregon State in their initial College World Series matchup. Date and time will be announced later, so be sure and stay tuned to The Rebel Walk for all the details.

Tim tried to warn everyone!

OLEmaha, here they come!

(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)

Austin Eldridge
Austin Eldridge

Austin has more than ten years in sports media, including sports talk radio, play-by-play broadcasting and journalism. He has followed Ole Miss athletics for his entire life and has covered the Rebels and the rest of the SEC while working in the Memphis media market. Outside of sports media, Austin is a musician and outdoorsman. Before a serious accident forced him to be medically discharged, he was a multi-media journalist with the Mississippi National Guard.

About The Author

Austin Eldridge

Austin has more than ten years in sports media, including sports talk radio, play-by-play broadcasting and journalism. He has followed Ole Miss athletics for his entire life and has covered the Rebels and the rest of the SEC while working in the Memphis media market. Outside of sports media, Austin is a musician and outdoorsman. Before a serious accident forced him to be medically discharged, he was a multi-media journalist with the Mississippi National Guard.

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