Last Look

OMAHA, Neb. - Mike Bianco said deciding who to pitch Saturday was something he and his staff immediately talked about Friday night after they arrived back at the team's headquarters.

"We met as a staff as soon as we got back to the hotel and we talked about the situation," he said. "(Jeremy) Massie could probably have gone back out there. But I thought he probably wasn't the best match for them. And then the decision was do we go with the bullpen the rest of the way. And then when I look at it as an elimination game, Chris (Ellis) was scheduled to pitch anyway (on Saturday) had we won on Friday. He was going to start today.

"So we thought our best plan was to bring Scott (Weathersby) into the game with runners on and try to do his magic like he usually does and gets us out of a jam. That let Chris go out there with a clean slate."

Bianco said obviously Ellis had pitched better than he did in what turned out to be the final game of the season.

"It wasn't Chris's best day. But at the end of the day, you've got to go with your ace when your back's against the wall. He competed. He didn't have his best stuff. But he competed."

Ellis, who walked three and had no strikeouts allowing three runs on four hits, said it was fairly easy to pinpoint what led to most of the damage.

"It just comes down to not walking people. I thought that's what hurt me, walking guys that got into scoring position."

In the fourth inning, Ellis gave up three runs. A reporter asked him what happened at that point.

"I wish I knew the answer to that question," he said.

Quoting O'Connor

Brian O'Connor, the Cavalier head coach, said his team beat an Ole Miss team that belonged in Omaha.

"I'd like to congratulate Ole Miss on a terrific season," he said. "Outstanding players and very well coached. We're just very fortunate."

O'Connor's team resembled Ole Miss in several ways. One of those was its demeanor, such as when it had the bases loaded or when the Rebels had the bases loaded.

"I just go back to this team and the calmness and poise it has shown in situations," O'Connor said. "That makes you very comfortable as a coach."

Who's On First?

Ole Miss likely faces the 2015 season with several familiar players missing. Gone will be seniors Will Allen and Austin Anderson, who served as team co-captains this year, Preston Overbey, Jeremy Massie, Aaron Greenwood, and John Gatlin, who were all on the postseason roster.

Then there are juniors who likely won't return, namely Auston Bousfield, Chris Ellis, Braxton Lee, Josh Laxer, and Hawtin Buchanan. All were drafted.

Christian Trent was also drafted, but the consensus is he will return.

That's quite a list of accomplished players who have helped Ole Miss finish as strong as it has in decades, and maybe ever. Bianco said it was the best team in school history.

The 1956 team finished in the same spot, which obviously was in another era of baseball when many football and some basketball players would also play baseball.

Now with the sport so singular in nature, baseball players focus mainly year ‘round on their sport, just like players in all sports do.

There hasn't been an Ole Miss baseball team to finish this highly in 58 years. No Ole Miss team had been to Omaha in 42 years.

The 2005 Rebel team also won 48 games and was a talented group that fell to eventual national champion Texas in the Super Regional in Oxford.

This team tied that one in the win column but got all the way to the Final Four of college baseball, actually officially finishing in a tie for third, as the 1956 team did.

So looking at those who leave now, either through graduation or on to the pros, there will be some important and talented players to replace. With some 19 players signed, even with high school graduates pitcher Foster Griffin and shortstop Ti'Quan Forbes already signed to pro contracts after being drafted, there are some options coming in this fall and talented newcomers to go along with a strong group of returnees.

More to come on that later. For now, it's still time to salute the accomplishments of the 2014 Rebels for a special season, which ended just a couple of wins short of the national championship series here at the College World Series.


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