Select Page

On Top of the World! Ole Miss Defeats Oklahoma, Earns First Ever Baseball National Championship

On Top of the World! Ole Miss Defeats Oklahoma, Earns First Ever Baseball National Championship

OMAHA – There were nearly 26,000 fans in attendance at Charles Schwab Stadium Sunday afternoon and more than 20,000 of them were Ole Miss fans. Hunter Elliott was on the mound in the biggest game in Ole Miss history as Oklahoma tried to force the final series to a deciding third game.

In the end, Ole Miss got the clutch hits, the pitching came through, and the Rebels earned their first ever baseball national championship with a 4-2 win over the Sooners.

SOME SMOOTH DEFENSE EARLY

The Sooners led off the game with a John Spikerman single off of Rebels’ hurler Hunter Elliott. Elliott bounced right back with a strikeout of Peyton Graham, and then got Blake Robertson to ground into a double play with some help from some silky smooth glove work from Peyton Chatagnier and Jacob Gonzalez.

LIGHTS OUT PITCHING EARLY

Neither hurler gave an inch early. Through four complete innings, Ole Miss had managed just two hits while the Sooners had just one. Elliott had racked up five strikeouts and just one walk, while Oklahoma starter Cade Horton had struck out seven Rebels with one hit batter.

Peyton Chatagnier yet again showed off his electric defense in the top of the fifth while helping Elliott retire the Sooners in order.

A HUGE BREAK FOR THE REBELS

In the top of the sixth, things started to get out of hand for Ole Miss. Jackson Nicklaus was hit by a pitch to start off the frame, followed by a sacrifice bunt from Diego Muniz that advanced him to second with one out.

Elliott then got Kendall Pettis to strike out, but the ball got away and the throw down to first was high and Pettis would be safe at first, and Nicklaus would advance to third base.

That’s when the real craziness started.

John Spikerman would lay down what appeared to be a perfect squeeze bunt to score Nicklaus, and the throw down to Elko at first was wild, allowing Spikerman to be safe.

But Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco came out to challenge the play for runner interference down the first base line. The challenge would prove successful, which would render Spikerman out at first and force the Sooner baserunners to go back to first and third, nullifying the run scored.

Elliott would then get Peyton Graham to pop out and escape with the game still scoreless.

REBELS TAKE ADVANTAGE

Immediately following the crazy top half of the sixth, Gonzalez wasted no time in taking advantage of it for Ole Miss.

The one-out blast gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead, but that would be all they would get in the frame.

SOONERS ANSWER

After Ole Miss stole the momentum away in the sixth, the Sooners didn’t waste any time getting it back. Elliott recorded the first two outs of the frame, but Jimmy Crooks then ripped a two-out double down the right field line.

Wallace Clark then walked, followed by a Jackson Nicklaus RBI double to tie the game at one and advance Clark to third.

The Rebels would then bring in Mason Nichols to replace Elliott, and the Sooners would pinch hit for Muniz with Sebastian Orduno. Orduno was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Mike Bianco challenged the play and it appeared that Orduno leaned into the pitch, but the umpires ruled him safe.

Nichols would then walk Kendall Pettis to give the Sooners a 2-1 lead. That would be the end of the road for Nichols, who would be replaced by John Gaddis.

Gaddis would then strike out John Spikerman to escape the jam and keep the deficit at just one run.

REBELS RESPOND

After the Sooners took the lead and the momentum in the seventh, Ole Miss would come up in the eighth still trailing 2-1 after a scoreless seventh.

That’s when things got crazy.

After getting runners on the corners with one out, Jacob Gonzalez would deliver his second huge hit of the game to tie the game up at two.

The base hit would move Justin Bench to third. Bench would then score on a wild pitch to Tim Elko, putting Ole Miss back on top 3-2.

TJ McCants would score on another wild pitch later in the frame to give Ole Miss a 4-2 lead headed into the ninth inning, needing just three outs to secure a title.

JOB FINISHED

Brandon Johnson entered the game to shut the door and deliver Ole Miss its first ever baseball national championship. And shut the door he did.

Johnson struck out the side, and Ole Miss was officially the 2022 college baseball national champion.

Coach Mike Bianco talked about what a special group this particular team has been.

It’s hard to put into words to be honest. This team, what a neat job I have to be around these guys. Just great kids, great representatives of our university, they play this game at a very high level, they’re just good guys. We’ve had great leadership and just to watch them do this, I’ve shared this with them several times now: Life’s tough. There’s bad things that happen to everybody. These guys worked really hard and I think they’ve showed a lot of people that you can fall down, you can stumble and you can fail but that doesn’t mean you’re a failure. You continue to work hard, you continue to push, you continue to believe, you can accomplish anything. That’s not some poster, or some tweet to motivate you. We’ve all heard that. These guys have lived that this season. They really have. They’ve fallen down and not a lot of people believed they were any good anymore, a lot of people may have been disappointed in them, and I get that. It’s sports and that’s part of it. But they didn’t let that affect them. They continued to believe in one another, they continued to push, and I think that’s why you had 20,000 plus fans show up here because this was a special group. During the trophy presentation, I think this stadium holds 25,000 and it still looked packed, that’s how many fans we had here. So this group of young men I think people have fallen in love with them. Their story and where they’ve come from, they’ve had a lot of people rooting for them… I’m just very fortunate to have been a part of it.

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco

Ole Miss has reached the pinnacle of the college baseball world in a year where just a few short weeks ago, they weren’t even supposed to be in the tournament. But they never stopped believing.

And for Tim Elko, Kevin Graham, Justin Bench and the rest of the amazing seniors on this team, they couldn’t have dreamed of a more storybook ending.

Ladies and gentleman, your Ole Miss Rebels are the 2022 National Champions.

 

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.

Leave a Reply

Recruiting Updates

Visit The Rebel Walk Forum

GRIDIRON GALLERY

Get RW Updates

Rebel Walk on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: