Ole Miss routs OU, 10-3, moves to within one victory of a CWS title

The hard-hitting Ole Miss Rebels slugged four home runs Saturday night to rout the Oklahoma Sooners 10-3 in the first game of a best-of-3 for the College World Series baseball title. The Rebels also blasted out two doubles in a 16-hit attack.

In a pivotal top of the eighth inning, Oklahoma was in the field, and the Sooners had just benefited from an umpire’s decision that went to replay. Ole Miss’ Peyton Chatagnier attempted to take third base on the front end of a double steal. Initially, he was called safe. But after review, the call was reversed.

OU fans were delighted. With two out and an Ole Miss runner at second, the Sooners had a chance to escape trouble. But that’s when real trouble arrived in the form of three straight home runs by the Rebels. First, it was TJ McCants slugging a two-run blast to right. Next, it was Calvin Harris, with a solo shot. Finally, Justin Bench hit another solo homer.

All of a sudden, it was 8-2, and Ole Miss was on its way. The Rebels can wrap up the national title with a victory on Sunday. If necessary, a third and deciding game to determine the national champion in NCAA Division I baseball would be played on Monday.

Ole Miss got off to a fast start, scoring two runs in the first, one in the second and one in the third. A solo homer by Tim Elko lifted the Rebels into a 4-0 lead in the top of the third inning.

In retaliation, Oklahoma scored twice in the bottom of the sixth against Ole Miss starter Jake Dougherty.

Jackson Nicklaus led off with a single and Sebastian Orduno followed with a sharp single to right. Next man up, Kendall Pettis, dropped a bunt that was fielded by third baseman Garrett Wood, whose throw to first base was wild and late. Ole Miss had the play backed up but a throw home was late, and Nicklaus scored the first run for the Sooners.

When Dougherty walked John Spikerman, that was it for Dougherty. He was lifted for Mason Nichols, who put out the fire. The freshman struck out a pair of OU hitters and then walked one, forcing in a run to make it 4-2. From there, he got Jimmy Crooks on a come backer, and the Rebels escaped what could have been a very big inning for the Sooners.

Records

Ole Miss 41-23
Oklahoma 45-23

Notable

The CWS is being played at Omaha, Nebraska. Oklahoma won its bracket by beating Texas A&M, 13-8, before downing Notre Dame, 6-2. Advancing to the semifinals, the Sooners beat the Aggies again, 5-1, to make the finals. Ole Miss, in winning its bracket, beat Auburn, 5-1. Then it knocked off Arkansas, 13-5. In the semifinals, Arkansas edged Ole Miss, 3-2. But the Rebels rebounded to beat the Razorbacks, 2-0, to make the finals.

The coaches

Mike Bianco is the Ole Miss coach. Bianco has been at Ole Miss since 2000. This is his second trip to the CWS after making it in 2014. Skip Johnson is the coach at OU. Johnson’s first year in Norman was 2018. This is his first trip to the CWS as a head coach. Johnson was pitching coach under the late Augie Garrido at Texas for 10 seasons.

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