Rebel Rematch: Ole Miss Prepares for Regional Matchup With Arizona
CORAL GABLES, Fl. – Last year, Ole Miss began game three of its Super Regional in Tucson, Arizona with high hopes. The Rebels were looking for their first trip to Omaha, the mecca of college baseball, since 2014.
Standing in their way were the Arizona Wildcats, playing on their home field with a record crowd on hand. Ole Miss trailed by only two runs after its half of the fourth inning, but the Wildcats would plate seven runs in the bottom half of the fourth and run away to Omaha by a final score of 16-3.
Now, just one year later, the Rebels are out for revenge.
The Wildcats team that Ole Miss will face this time around will look a little different than the 2021 juggernaut. Jay Johnson, last year’s head coach, left Arizona to take the job at LSU. He was followed to the bayou by Jacob Berry. Berry contributed in large part to eliminating the Rebels last year with solid at bats and multiple home runs.
— Arizona Baseball (@ArizonaBaseball) June 12, 2021
In game three, he was the driving force, going 2-4 with an RBI double, two-run home run, a walk and a sacrifice fly for a total of four RBI’s on the night.
Despite the loss of Berry, the Wildcats return catcher Daniel Susac, who was selected to the Pac-12 All-Conference team this season. He leads the Pac-12 in hits with 94, which is tied for fifth in all of Division I. His average is .367 and he’s got 12 home runs and 61 RBI’s to go along with those 94 hits.
REVENGE IS BEST SERVED IN CORAL GABLES
Even though the Wildcats look a little different this season, that hasn’t changed the fact that the Rebels are excited at a chance for a rematch.
Despite the obvious opportunity at revenge, the players are more content focusing on the game at hand and not last year’s results. Tim Elko was asked about the chance to play Arizona again this season:
“They’re a good baseball team. They have a good program there. They’re a good team but so are we. It’s going to be a good matchup and we’re excited to play tomorrow. We’re just excited to get in and keep playing.“
Tim Elko on playing Arizona again in postseason
ON THE MOUND
Dylan DeLucia will get the nod as the starter on Friday, and Rebels’ head coach Mike Bianco couldn’t say enough about what he has meant to this team.
“To Dylan’s credit, when he got inserted some five, six, seven weeks ago, there was no doubt he was going to go after that. There’s a lot of reasons why we got here, but I don’t know if there’s a bigger one than Dylan. He’s been a difference maker this season.“
Coach Bianco on Dylan DeLucia
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) April 30, 2022
The Rebels entered selection Monday with absolutely no clue if they would make the NCAA Tournament. Their early exit from the SEC Tournament, combined with multiple stolen bids from other leagues, contributed to an edge-of-their-seat wait for the bracket announcements.
Their excitement was evident once their name was called.
All we needed was a chance… pic.twitter.com/KQ2c4zW6a2
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) May 30, 2022
Tim Elko talked about the carryover from that excitement.
“There’s been a lot of energy and excitement, and I think we’re going to use that to our advantage in the coming weeks.“
As for the games, the schedule for the regional has been slightly altered due to weather. The first game between host Miami and the No. 4 seed Canisius will take place at 9:00 a.m. CT, with Ole Miss and Arizona slated to take place approximately 55 minutes after the conclusion of game one. The television plans for the updated schedule have yet to be decided.
Stay tuned to The Rebel Walk for updates!
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.