By: Jeff Roberson
For the seventh time dating back to 2004, the Ole Miss baseball Rebels are hosting a NCAA Regional at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field. That’s the good news.
The bad? The Rebels are not a national seed. Not a Top 8 seed. Not set to host a Super Regional, unless Miami - the No. 3 national seed at Coral Gables which matches the winner of the Oxford Regional - loses its own Regional and Ole Miss wins its own Regional. Then it could happen.
We saw a similar scenario in 2006 when Ole Miss hosted, then Nebraska - a national seed - hosted, but Miami won the Lincoln Regional and headed to Oxford for a Super.
The Rebels had almost done enough to get one of those coveted national seeds. But not quite. It appears LSU might have slipped in and gotten whatever spot the Rebels might have obtained with their run through the regular season and the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Two sets of Tigers are the No. 7 seed (Clemson) and the No. 8 seed (LSU).
Ole Miss beat LSU two of three games in Oxford this regular season.
The Rebels welcome Pac-12 champion Utah as the No. 4 seed and will play the Utes Friday at 7 p.m. Earlier in the day at 3 p.m., No. 2 seed Tulane will play No. 3 seed Boston College.
Seven SEC teams got in the field, and each of the seven will host one of the 16 NCAA Regionals this weekend. National seeds from the SEC, in addition to LSU, are Florida (No. 1), Texas A&M (No. 4), and Mississippi State (No. 6).
Louisville, which Ole Miss beat two of three games this regular season, is the No. 2 national seed. Texas Tech of the Big 12 is the No. 5 seed national seed.
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Quotable quotes from Monday’s press availability -
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco on apparently almost getting a national seed: “I think it’s really close. When you look at the last few, it’s hard. There are a lot of different factors. Some of the factors we we're good in, like RPI. But some other factors probably leaned in some other team’s favor. I thought the committee did a good job. All of us are proud the SEC got seven hosts. I think they tried to pick the best 16, not spread them out. They wanted to reward the teams that had the best seasons. Now you can’t be disappointed. You get ready for Friday.”
Bianco on Henri Lartigue, who left the game against Texas A&M early Saturday: “Yesterday he passed the concussion test. They have a protocol they go through that works them back into practice. Gradually a little more, a little more. I think his first time for baseball is probably Wednesday. So it looks like he will be fine.”
Bianco on the Oxford Regional field: “Wow. To host a Regional and be the No. 1 seed and play the Pac-12 champion (Utah) right out of the gate. Regardless of RPI or record, they’re really good. You don’t win that league by chance. Tulane won its conference. So you have two conference champions coming in here and Boston College of the ACC. So I’m sure like a lot of teams that are hosting, we feel our Regional is really, really strong.”
J.B. Woodman on hosting: “You want to play in front of your home crowd. It’s one of the best places to play in college baseball. We’re excited to play in a Regional here and hopefully put on a good show.”
Woodman on if he knows any of the players on any of the teams, or anything about those teams: “I’ve played with one kid from Boston College and a couple of kids from Tulane in summer ball. I know they’re all good teams.”
Brady Bramlett on if they thought they were a national seed: “The discussions were between us and LSU. Both teams had incredible resumes' to present to the committee. It’s nothing to worry about now. All we can do is control the first game of the Regional and take it one pitch at a time, which has been our mantra the entire season.”
Errol Robinson on playing at home: “It’s huge. We’re always at an advantage when we’re playing in front of our fans in Oxford. We’re really ready to go get it.”
Will Golsan on the Rebels’ offense recently: “We’re just seeing the ball really well right now. We need to keep the quality at-bats going and stringing good at-bats together.”