The Ole Miss baseball team lost their third straight series as they fell in Friday and Saturday’s games against Mississippi State in Oxford. Ole Miss is now 1-9 in home SEC games, and their conference record has fallen to 6-12, second to last in the SEC.
For the second straight weekend, junior starting pitcher Dylan DeLucia propelled the Rebels to a win in game one of the series. DeLucia pitched a complete game and gave up just two runs off of five hits. He struck out eight batters and more impressively, didn’t walk a single Bulldog hitter.
Kevin Graham hit a three-run home run in the first inning to give the Rebels a lead that would hold, and the Rebels took game one by a score of 4-2.
Friday’s game couldn’t have started much better for Ole Miss, as they hit three home runs on the first four pitches they saw in the first inning. Unfortunately for the Rebels, they weren’t able to put the Bulldogs away and would lose hold of a 4-1 lead in the sixth inning and weren’t able to regain it, losing 10-7 to set up the rubber match on Saturday.
Once again, Ole Miss didn’t see much production offensively in a series-deciding game and despite Jacob Gonzalez’s two-run home run in the ninth to send the game into extra innings, they weren’t able to capture the comeback win and lost 7-6 in eleven innings.
Here are the takeaways from the weekend:
Just not good enough
The Rebels fought their guts out but once again came up short, as they lost another rubber match in heartbreaking fashion.
Ole Miss led 4-1 late in game two, was twelve outs away from a series win and had its two best relievers fresh to finish it out, but it just couldn’t get it done.
Jacob Gonzalez tied game three in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run blast, giving the Rebels a chance to walk the game off, but Ole Miss didn’t get another baserunner for the rest of the game. The Rebels put themselves in a position to not only win the series, but also sweep it, and they didn’t have what it took to finish it.
“We haven’t been good at times, but this wasn’t about effort. It wasn’t about energy. They played their hearts out this weekend and weren’t good enough,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said after the game.
That statement is pretty telling. It’s hard to swallow, but it’s the truth. They just aren’t good enough.
That’s pretty much it
Now 6-12 in the SEC after losing the series to a team whose RPI barely cracks the top 80, the Ole Miss baseball team is going to need a miracle finish to make the NCAA tournament.
With four series left in the season, the Rebels are second to last in the SEC and will now have to fight to even make the SEC tournament. The bottom two teams in the league get left out of Hoover.
What seemed like a promising season is nearly over, and it will most likely end Mike Bianco’s 22-year career as Ole Miss’s head coach. It’s a sad way to close out an era, but it is what it is. Ole Miss will have to finish the season 8-4 in conference play to earn an at-large bid and that has to include winning both series at Arkansas and LSU.
Ole Miss travels to Pearl, Mississippi, on Tuesday to play Mississippi State again for the Governor’s Cup. After that, they will travel to Arkansas next weekend in desperate need of a series win and will have to do so against a top 10 ranked Arkansas team.