From being the last team selected into the tournament, to the last team standing, the Ole Miss Rebels are the 2022 College World Series Champions for the first time in school history.
Although the Rebels dominated in every stage of the playoffs, the road to Omaha was almost non-existent. Selection Monday fell on May 30th, and it was on this day, Ole Miss found out they were the last team selected in the field of 64 and would be going to the Coral Gables regional to face Miami, Arizona and Canisius. The Rebs made quick work of that, going 3-0 and moved on to the Super Regionals to face in-state rival Southern Mississippi. This matchup wasn’t much of a contest for the Rebs. They shutout Southern Mississippi in back-to-back games on the road for a ticket to Omaha. At this point, the last team in, Ole Miss Rebels, have gone 5-0 including marching into Southern Miss, not allowing a single run in the Supers, and are now one of eight teams going to Omaha.
The Rebs train didn't stop when they got to Omaha. They went on to win their first two games against Auburn and Arkansas and are now one win from the College World Series Finals. They would have to get through Arkansas one last time to move on to the Finals. Arkansas would have to beat them twice to move on since Ole Miss had yet to lose in this double elimination style bracket. The Razorbacks handed Ole Miss their first loss of the postseason in a very close 3-2 game, giving the world a winner-take-all game to advance to the Finals against Oklahoma.
Enter Dylan DeLucia. Dylan. DeLucia. This man single handedly took the ball and said “I’ll do it myself.” That he did. A complete game shutout to send the Rebels to the College World Series Finals. He pitched the best game of his entire life on the biggest stage when his team needed it most. The final line: 9IP 0R 4H & 7K. GOAT status stuff from DeLucia.
Game one of the College World Series Finals was a close game, and then the 8th inning happened. Ole Miss was leading 4-2 at the time when they came up to bat. That’s when McCants stepped up to the plate with Dunhurst on base, and put one in the right field bullpen. The place went absolutely bananas. Arguably the loudest the stadium was all weekend was after that home run. Little did he know that would be the first of three back-to-back-to-back home runs. Harris came up and hit a no doubter to the deepest part of the park, which isn't easy to do. To cap it all off, the next batter, Bench, steps up and hits a dinger to cap off three in a row. It was curtains at this point.
Game two. Millions across America woke up with the same question: Are we getting a dogpile in Omaha today? Time would tell. Oklahoma starter Cade Horton did everything possible to keep that from happening. He absolutely shoved, with a line of 7.1 IP 2R 13K & 0BB. Oklahoma carried a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the 8th and were 6 outs away from forcing a Game 3. After a pair of one-out hits, Gonzalez singled in the tying run and advanced the runner to third. A cross up between the pitcher and the catcher allowed a run to score and Ole Miss would lead 3-2. Elko would then ground out and advance Gonzalez to third with 2 outs. Believe it or not, a second wild pitch would allow Gonzalez to score and give Ole Miss a 2 run lead.
Brandon Johnson would have the top of the 9th. He could not have been more dominant or more electric even if he wanted to. He came in and struck out three in a row to give Ole Miss their first National Championship in baseball. Everything was perfect. The strikeout, the reaction, and of course, the dogpile. The dogpile was a work of art. Dunhurst took him right down and everyone dogpiled on top. There was no jumping around waiting for someone to go down. It was like they had done it a million times, but they hadn’t. This was their first ever dogpile in Omaha, and they made it a good one.
All in all, after starting 7-14 in conference play, to win the 2022 National Championship, this will go down as one of the most unlikely champions of all time. I’m sure if you asked any of the players, or coaching staff, they wouldn’t have had it any other way.
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