Former Corpus Christi Calallen standout John Gaddis emerged as the winning pitcher in relief Sunday afternoon as the Ole Miss Rebels beat the Oklahoma Sooners 4-2 to win their first national title in baseball.
In the College World Series game played in Omaha, Neb., in front of a crowd announced at 25,972, Gaddis entered the game in the seventh and put a stop to a rally.
With the bases loaded and OU leading 2-1, Ole Miss replaced Mason Nichols with Gaddis to pitch to John Spikerman. Gaddis, a lefthander and a transfer from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, promptly struck out Spikerman to end the threat.
In the eighth, Gaddis issued a one-out walk but then got tough, retiring Tanner Tredaway on a fly ball and striking out Jimmy Crooks. In the bottom half, Ole Miss took the lead when the Rebels’ offense produced three runs.
With one out, TJ McCants singled up the middle. At that point, OU replaced starter Cade Horton with Trevin Michael.
Justin Bench greeted Michael by hitting a single to right field, moving McCants to third. From there, Jacob Gonzalez singled through the right side of the infield to score McCants, making it 2-2. Subsequently, the Rebels took the lead on a wild pitch, scoring Bench and moving Gonzalez to second.
Elko grounded out, advancing Gonzalez to third. But on yet another wild pitch, Gonzalez raced home for a 4-2 advantage.
In the ninth, Brandon Johnson closed the door on the Sooners. Johnson struck out three straight batters to start the Ole Miss celebration.
On Saturday, the Rebels got the jump on the Sooners in the CWS title round with a 10-3 victory. Their performance Sunday allowed the remarkable Rebels (42-23) to sweep the Sooners (45-24) in two straight games in the best-of-3 CWS title round.
Ole Miss entered the season ranked No. 5 nationally by D1Baseball. But by late April and early May, the Rebels were sputtering, at one point falling to 7-14 in the Southeastern Conference, which was tied for last.
Even after a surge to the end of the regular season, they barely made the 64-team NCAA tournament field. The Rebels were the last of the teams to receive an at-large bid. All that notwithstanding, Ole Miss went 10-1 in the tournament, including 6-1 in the CWS.
Ole Miss 42-23
In one season with Ole Miss, John Michael Gaddis finished with a 4-2 record and a save. He had a 4.20 earned run average. He struck out 49 and walked 19 in 49 and 1/3 innings. At the CWS, Gaddis pitched in two games. He gave up two home runs and took the loss in a 3-2 setback against Arkansas. Against OU in the title game, Gaddis worked 1 and 1/3 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out two.