From combined reports
It took extra innings and enduring a nearly two-hour rain delay, but an RBI triple in the 10th inning from Sikes Orvis propelled No. 12 Ole Miss (44-18) to a 3-2 win over No. 14 Washington (41-17-1) and into an NCAA Super Regional.
It marks the fifth time in its last nine NCAA Tournament appearances that Ole Miss has advanced to a Super Regional and the seventh time in the last nine NCAA Tournament appearances that the Rebels have played in an NCAA Regional Championship.
The Rebels will now travel to face Louisiana-Lafayette for the right to go to the College World Series.
Scott Weathersby (2-1) picked up the win in relief, working 5.1 scoreless innings with two hits, two walks and tying a career high with six strikeouts. Weathersby entered the game in the fifth to relieve starter Sam Smith, who allowed two unearned runs in 4.2 innings of work in the start.
“First of all, congratulations to Washington on a tremendous year and a tremendous weekend here,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We feel fortunate, but I’m very proud of these guys that played so hard all year long. We have won all different types of games and we had to do that this week. Sam (Smith) was terrific. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch a few balls early and put him in a hole and gave up a couple of unearned runs, but he got us deep enough.
“With Scott (Weathersby), you don’t see it much that a guy that comes in and squelches a rally that they had going, then sits for about an hour and a half and comes back and finishes the game,” Bianco said. “It was not just a huge hit by Sikes today, but a tremendous tournament. I’m very proud of this team.”
Freshman Colby Bortles got the Rebels on the board in the second inning, hitting a solo shot over the wall in left field to put Ole Miss on top 1-0.
After falling behind 2-1, Ole Miss evened the game in the sixth with a leadoff double from Will Allen and a one-out double from Bortles brought him home to knot the game at two. Washington then picked Bortles off second as the Huskies’ pitcher made a move home and then turned to second with the throw for the out. Washington then got a strikeout to end the inning, but the Rebels had evened things up.
Mississippi State fought valiantly before seeing its baseball season end Monday night in the championship game of the Lafayette Regional.
MSU spotted Louisiana-Lafayette the game’s first four runs before watching a rally fall short, 5-3 before a standing-room only crowd at Tigue Moore Field. ULL, the nation’s top-ranked team and No. 6 national seed, won four straight games to win a regional championship for the first time since 2000. ULL also beat MSU 14-8 Sunday night.
ULL built the early 4-0 lead with three runs in the third inning and another score in the fourth inning. Again, walks and wild pitches plagued the Bulldogs.
“We were down 4-0 early and the kids showed a lot of composure in fighting back,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “We had a tough time keeping the game in front of us in the third inning. Lafayette is a very good club. You have to beat them the way we did in the second half of that game.
“We walked seven during the course of the game. That was the whole ballgame. We have to play clean games to win championships. That is how we are built. Baseball is a game of inches and it certainly was there in the third inning.”
The Bulldogs began their rally in the fourth inning. C.T. Bradford and Brett Pirtle started the inning with back-to-back singles. After a line out, a sacrifice fly by Wes Rea scored the Maroon and White’s first run.
In the seventh inning, MSU finally chased ULL starter Ryan Wilson. Wilson (6-0) pitched 6.2 innings, allowing four hits and three runs (all earned), with two strikeouts and four walks. Matt Plitt finished the contest to earn his fifth save.
After back-to-back outs to start the seventh inning, Matthew Britton reached as a hit batsman. Seth Heck then drew a walk. In relief, Plitt was touched for back-to-back RBI-singles by Bradford and Pirtle. However, the Bulldogs stranded two in that at-bat and also an inning later.
“We battled back,” MSU senior outfielder C.T. Bradford said. “I wouldn’t want to be out there with any other group of guys. It’s been that way through 60 games for us. We have had our ups and downs. We just kept battling. That is why I liked this team so much.”
MSU finished with six hits, including a three-hit night for Pirtle. Pirtle finished the tournament with 11 base hits. Bradford also had multiple hits.
“Brett will go down as one of the best second basemen to ever play at Mississippi State,” Cohen said. “I think he is the best defensive second baseman in the country. I hate this for our seniors. The goal for this group was to win four postseason tournaments in four years and we came within inches of doing that.”