So, the Ole Miss Rebels who started the year picked to finish 6th in their conference divison, walked out of the regular season as SEC West Divisional Champions, and now will host a regional in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Is it an argument to say the biggest surprise in college baseball of the year?
Yesterday, the NCAA Baseball Committee elected all 64 NCAA teams into the playing field of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The committee also introduced to the nation the eight National Seed teams, and the sixteen teams that will host a NCAA Regional. Ole Miss drew the short straw in landing a National Seed. What it came down to was LSU’s strong performance and winning the SEC Tournament that eliminated us out of the coversation.
In our previous article, we covered that Ole Miss landed a regional spot, as this was announced Sunday night. The teams that would fill into the Oxford Regional was not announced until Monday afternoon. In this article we are going to cover the teams that will be play in our regional. Plus, we will cover the Lafayette Regional, that is the opposite of our regional. The winners of the two regionals will square off in the Super-Regional, and their is something interesting to cover on the other side of the fence.
The Oxford Regional Teams (in order of seeds)
1. OLE MISS REBELS (41-18, 19-11), NR: 10, RPI: 13
This year, the Rebels have led the SEC in batting average (.303), third in the conference in scoring (359), and fourth in home runs (36). The Rebels also finished 2nd in the SEC in both on-base percentage (.370) and slugging percentage (.417). The team had three players ranked in the top five of the SEC in hits this season. Auston Bousfield led the conference with 87 hits, Will Allen was ranked 2nd with 83 hits, and Austin Anderson finished tied for fifth with 76 hits.
This season on the mound, the Rebel weekend trio of Chris Ellis, Christian Trent, and Sam Smith held together a 2.69 ERA. Ellis led with a 2.17 ERA in a total of 95.1 innings of work, Trent followed with a 2.44 ERA, and Smith held a 3.58 ERA.
2. WASHINGTON (39-15-1, 21-9), NR: 13, RPI: 24, PAC-12
The Washington Huskies have to be one of the toughest teams coming into the Oxford Regional. The Huskies finished second in PAC-12 Conference and were behind Oregon State, who went on to earn the No. 1 National Seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies have an average national ranking of No. 13, but are ranked as high as No. 8 in some polls.
As a team, Washington is batting .281 with a .383 slugging percentage and a .367 on-base percentage. Outfielder Brian Wolfe leads the team in batting average with a .361 clip. He has hit 10 doubles, 35 RBIs, and five home runs. So, who do you think needs to be watched out for offensively with this team?
For the pitching staff, watch out for Junior right-hander Tyler Davis. He leads the Washington pitching staff with a 10-2 record, 1.75 ERA, in 97.2 innings. OUCH!
The lone time the Rebels have ever faced the Huskies was in 2004. This came in the Rebels first ever NCAA Regional host, and lost by a 7-2 final score.
3. GEORGIA TECH (36-25, 14-16), NR: N/A, RPI: 32, ACC
Georgia Tech would have to be the 2nd toughest potential opponent for the Rebels in the tournament. The Rebels are 2-3 all-time against Georgia Tech. The thing is, these two team haven’t met in baseball since Eisenhower was in office.
Georgia Tech captivated their 2014 season with a win over Maryland in the ACC Championship game, by a final score of 9-4 after a 6 run rally to win their 2nd ACC title in the past three years. It was the ninth title in school history.
Tech is holding in a .279 batting average as a team, .378 slugging percentage, and a .352 on-base percentage. The pitching staff held together a 3.26 team ERA this season.
4. JACKSONVILLE STATE (36-25, 18-12), NR: N/A, RPI: 92, Ohio Valley
Don’t let that RPI rank fool you, Jacksonville State is one of those teams that can surprise you. The likelihood of them advancing past the Oxford Regional is slim-to-none, but are in there enough to make you feel uncomfortable. They’re the first opponent of the Ole Miss Rebels in the Oxford Regional Tournament. Ever since the news broke of Jacksonville State entering the Oxford Regional, for some reason we have been reminded of the Houston Nutt years by their fans.
Ole Miss is 3-0 all-time against Jacksonville State, when the Rebels swept the Gamecocks in a three game series to open the 2002 season. The Gamecocks won their conference championship this year, and became the first team in the Ohio Valley Conference history to win six straight elimination games in the tournament after losing the tournament opener.
Jacksonville State has a .294 team batting average, with a .424 slugging percentage, and a .372 on-base percentage. The Gamecocks pitching staff has held a team ERA of 4.56.
Oxford Regional Schedule
Friday, May 30th
Game 1 – 3 p.m. CST – No. 3 Georgia Tech vs No. 2 Washington (ESPN3)
Game 2 – 7 p.m. CST – No. 4 Jacksonville State vs No. 1 Ole Miss (ESPN3)
Saturday, May 31st
Game 3 – 1 p.m. CST – Game 1 loser vs Game 2 loser
Game 4 – 5 p.m. CST – Game 1 winner vs Game 2 winner
Sunday, June 1st
Game 5 – 1 p.m. CST – Game 4 loser vs Game 3 winner
Game 6 – 5 p.m. CST – Game 4 winner vs Game 5 winner
Monday, June 2nd
Game 7 – 7 p.m. CST – Game 6 winner vs Game 6 loser (if necessary)
If you are wanting to get tickets to the Oxford Regional, you can find out more information here.
NOTE: Ole Miss Baseball season ticket holders will get first grabs. If you’re a season ticket holder and sumbit your order by Wednesday, you can even claim your same seats.
The Lafayette Regional Teams (in order of seeds)
1. Louisiana – Lafayette (No. 6 NS)
2. Mississippi State
3. San Diego State
4. Jackson State
We are not going to get all in depth with each team in this regional. We simply wanted to show you who the Rebels could get matched with if they advance to the Super-Regional. Look who the number two seed team is in the Lafayette Regional.
Mississippi State fans are walking around thinking this is a cupcake walk-through to the Super-Regional. I think you really need to focus hard on Louisiana-Lafayette first, they are not the No. 6 National Seed for nothing.
Now, the talk going around is the possibility of Ole Miss and Mississippi State squaring off in the Super-Regional. This of course can only happen if both teams pass their regionals. If this does happen, then the two teams will face off in a best-of-three series in Oxford. We then decided that if that day comes: