Could 2022 be the year of the long shot? First it was the last horse entered into the Kentucky Derby and now the last invite to the NCAA Baseball Tournament. What do the Derby winner Rich Strike and the Ole Miss baseball team have in common? They are both standing alone in the winner’s circle at the end of the race.
The Rebels were the last team to make the field of 64 and claimed the baseball program’s first national championship on Sunday with a thrilling 4-2 win over Oklahoma. The Rebels were down 2-1 to Oklahoma going into the bottom of the eighth inning but rallied for three runs for the win. The Rebels’ win was their second in as many days over the Sooners as they closed out the best-of-three College World Series, 2-0.
Freshman Hunter Elliott limited the Sooners to only one hit through the opening six innings before being lifted with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. Relievers John Gaddis and Brandon Johnson held the Sooners hitless over the final 2.1 innings. Jacob Gonzalez was the hitting star with three hits, which included a home run.
Ole Miss (42-23) won 10 of 11 games during an incredible run through the postseason. The streak, which began with a 3-0 mark in Miami, was followed by a sweep in the Super Regionals in Hattiesburg and ended with a 5-1 mark in the CWS.
The pitching of Dylan DeLucia, Jack Dougherty, Mason Nichols, Josh Mallitz, Gaddis, Johnson and Elliott was brilliant in the tournament run. DeLucia was named the MVP of the CWS. He worked 16.2 innings with two wins against Auburn and Arkansas. Tim Elko, Justin Bench, Calvin Harris, Kevin Graham and Kemp Alderman joined DeLucia on the all-tournament team. The attendance was over 25,000 as the Ole Miss fans turned Charles Schwab into Swayze Field.
The championship was the first for Ole Miss’s long-time head coach Mike Bianco, who is in his 22nd year.
For the second consecutive year, the national championship trophy stays in Mississippi.
Five-star quarterback Arch Manning has committed to play football at the University of Texas. Arch is considered the No. 1 overall prospect in next year’s signing class, by 247 Sports. Manning had his choices of Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Clemson and Ole Miss. Manning checks in at 6 feet 4 inches and 215 pounds with a frame that has room to fill out. Arch also played basketball at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans.
Arch attended the 26th Manning Passing Academy this past weekend at Nichols State University. A dozen SEC quarterbacks attended as counselors, including Mississippi State’s Will Rogers, Ole Miss’s Luke Altmyer, Texas A&M’s Max Johnson, LSU’s Myles Brennan, Alabama’s Bryce Young, Arkansas’ K.J. Jefferson, Kentucky’s Will Levis, Georgia’s Stetson Bennett, South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, Vanderbilt’s Mike Wright and Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker. Only Auburn and Missouri did not have a quarterback at the camp. The camp brings out the best college quarterbacks to serve as camp coaches for over 1,200 high school players from across the country.
Odds and Ends
Former Southern Mississippi quarterback Nick Mullens is slated to be the No. 2 quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders, behind Derek Carr. Mullens quarterbacked the Golden Eagles from 2013-2016 before signing with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017. He spent four seasons in a 49ers uniform before heading to Cleveland in 2021. He signed with Raiders in April of this year.
The city of D’Iberville is expected to be the new home of the $410 million Sports Illustrated Resorts. The first-ever SI resort will probably be given the name Blue Water Beach. It will be built on the former site of the Gulf Coast Galleria Shopping Center and is projected to be open by late 2024.
Dale has been writing sports in Mississippi since 1973. Listen to Dale’s Brouhaha Sports Show with Marshall Wood each Tuesday at 6 p.m. on WABO FM 105.5 in the Waynesboro area. To listen to the broadcast on your computer or smart phone anywhere in the world, go to Google Chrome; go to wabo105.com and click listen live.