Final Four

OMAHA, Neb. – And then there were four. The Ole Miss flag beyond right field at TD Ameritrade Park, along with Virginia, Vanderbilt, and Texas, will stay at the top of its pole.

TCU's is now at half staff, along with Louisville, UC-Irvine, and Texas Tech. The Horned Frogs are headed home.

"Final Four of college baseball," said Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork in the hallway leading to the press conference after Ole Miss won 6-4 Thursday night.

Indeed the surprising Rebels do move on. Now they face Virginia, a team they lost to 2-1 Sunday night.

But since then, there's been a dramatic 2-1 win against Texas Tech to eliminate the Red Raiders. And now they've sent TCU packing.

Maybe what this team is doing isn't so surprising after all. Think about it. They've basically been who they are now all season.

They've won 48 games, tying the school record set in 2005, which is basically an irrelevant number now that there are more games to play. The goal now is to win as many as possible; make that win tomorrow night against the Cavaliers.

One game at a time.

"It was a great baseball game," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco, leading the Rebels on a run like the program hasn't had in more than 40 years. "We're fortunate we got some timely hits, and that's what this comes down to."

This ballpark, so non-conducive to offense, especially of the long-ball variety, was different Thursday night. The flags in center field, with winds blowing in 25-35 miles per hour the other days, were basically still on this night. There was a calmness that hadn't been there, and the players noticed.

"Finally out there in BP, and we were hitting," said Sikes Orvis, still smiling about the Rebels' win and his 3-for-5 night with a double and 3 RBI. "The ball was carrying a little bit, so we all got wide eyed. Then the game got going and it stayed the same, and we were like alright we can swing it tonight."

Will Allen was also 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI. J.B. Woodman and Errol Robinson also had doubles. Ole Miss had 11 hits; TCU only 5.

The big, bad, tough as nails ballpark finally gave up some hits and runs to the Rebels.

"Once this offense gets going, man, we're really good," Orvis said. "So once we got the ice broken, we came out and started swinging the bat, all of us one through nine getting the job done."

"Sikes was the first person to come up to me and say, ‘Look at the flags.' And I definitely took a look," said Allen, who DH'ed in this game as Austin Knight caught due to a shoulder injury for Allen. "There is no an easy out. We're a really tough lineup to face, I believe. And luckily we scored some runs tonight."

They also made some terrific defensive plays, flawless on so many occasions, and there was effective relief pitching. After starter Sam Smith didn't make it through four innings, Josh Laxer, Wyatt Short, and Aaron Greenwood took the Rebels home in fabulous fashion.

"I want to congratulate Ole Miss," said TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle, a close personal friend of Bianco's and a coach, due to playing the Rebels so often since 2008, quite familiar with the UM program. "They have a great ballclub. It just wasn't meant to be for us."

So what is meant to be for Ole Miss? A team that wasn't picked by anybody to do anything this season is now a Final Four team.

Next up Virginia. That's all that matters now.

Rest assured this team, to a man, believes it can win it all. After eliminating TCU, they are one step closer.

And now there are four.

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