07 Jun

something special

We don’t get to see this very often, two Mississippi schools squaring off in the postseason. Two days in a row is a lot to handle. Ole Miss and Southern Miss play today for the Oxford Regional championship. The noon game will be televised on ESPN2. Somebody’s season ends today at Swayze Field. Four years ago, in Hattiesburg in 2017, USM and Mississippi State squared off in a regional title game. USM fans cringe at the memory: State won 8-6, its second straight win that day over the Golden Eagles, who saw one of their best-ever seasons end in heartbreak. USM can deliver a similar blow today to the Rebels, the No. 12 national seed and once the nation’s top-ranked team. Facing elimination on Sunday night, the Eagles bucked up for a 10-7 win that had a lot of everything over 3 hours and 35 minutes: 20 hits, seven walks, three HBPs, three home runs, 17 strikeouts, two errors. Both teams got heroic pitching performances. UM’s Tyler Myers quelled the first-inning uprising that saw the Eagles turn a 4-0 deficit into a 7-4 lead. Myers went five innings, yielding two runs. Chandler Best came out of the bullpen to do damage control for USM in the wild first two innings, and Tanner Hall owned the day with five scoreless frames to finish off the Rebels. Before Sunday’s game, the last regional meeting between the two schools came in 2007, when Lance Lynn threw a two-hitter in UM’s 4-0 first-round win in Oxford. Lynn won’t be walking through that bullpen gate today. It’ll be interesting to see who does; the pitching staffs for both teams are stretched thin. But somebody will step up. Somebody will have to, and they’ll earn a place in Magnolia State lore. P.S. Props to Mississippi juco products Jase Dalton and Tyler Samaniego, who combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief in South Alabama’s win over Miami in the Gainesville Regional. The Jaguars are facing South Florida for the regional title. In the Ruston Regional, Kyle Crigger, an Itawamba CC alum, worked the last 4 1/3 innings in Louisiana Tech’s win over Alabama in an elimination game. The Bulldogs then lost to North Carolina State.