Rebs get win, hope for turnaround in fortunes

That the Rebels were able to hang on Sunday was big for a lot of reasons. At or near the top has to be the "don't ever get swept" phrase we hear. Coaches always say how hard it is on a team to lose that much ground in three days' time.

The season still lives for Ole Miss and would have even if UT had pulled another one out in game three. Fortunately we won't have to find out how damaging another tough loss might have been. The Rebels have to be feeling a little better about things now as they have a couple of days off for finals. Well, except maybe for those finals.

As has been pointed out, the Rebels rarely win the series the first weekend in May. One season doesn't usually spill over into another because of things like player attrition and this year some coaching staff changes.

The veteran Rebel players would probably even have a hard time recalling that they were swept this particular weekend last year at Kentucky. So asking them to guess when the last time Ole Miss won a series the first weekend in May would be just that – a guess.

The answer is two years before Mike Bianco's first season here, when Ole Miss beat Alabama two of three in Oxford in 1999.

Since then some Rebel teams have finished weak and others have finished strong. Even sweeps like last year at UK and in Bianco's first year in 2001 at Tennessee didn't ruin those seasons. The Rebs played in the NCAA Tournament at Tulane in '01, and last year, of course, hosted a second straight Super Regional.

The Rebels of this season have seen a little too much of the Friday-Saturday scenario in Knoxville but not enough of the Sunday outcome.

Too many times this season the situation that UT took advantage of after all the Ole Miss ninth-inning walks Friday has been played out in that way or other ways – like the two late-inning losses to a pretty good Vandy team in weekend one, the Friday night loss at LSU, the Friday night loss to Alabama in Oxford, the 17-inning loss to State here.

Too many times this season the Rebels were poised to win or go ahead only to come up short as they did Saturday when another hit just might have been enough to win it.

In a conference race to the finish, you normally only need a couple of those to flip and you're in fine shape. That would be the case for Ole Miss this time around; a couple of those losses become wins and it's 15-9 instead of 13-11.

Baseball tends to even out, and if you're a good team, which the Rebels are, that should mean more of the craziness of the Friday night Georgia game are in order. You remember that one. That's when it appeared the Bulldogs would win the game but bungled a couple of routine popups and made some extra-inning miscues to allow Ole Miss to win 9-8 in 13.

Maybe Sunday's nail-biter in Knoxville turned things. We'll probably know a lot more in a week if it did.

Here from the SEC office are the current Road to Hoover standings:

SEC TOURNAMENT SEEDINGS AS OF 5/07/07

1. VANDERBILT

2. ARKANSAS

3. MISSISSIPPI STATE

4. OLE MISS (2-1 vs. South Carolina)

5. SOUTH CAROLINA (1-2 vs. Ole Miss)

6. FLORIDA

7. LSU

8. ALABAMA

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9. TENNESSEE

10. KENTUCKY

11. GEORGIA

12. AUBURN

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Latest SEC Standings - (As of May 7)

EASTERN DIVISION

SEC Pct. Overall Pct.

Vanderbilt 17-7 .708 41-9 .820

South Carolina 13-11 .542 35-14 .714

Florida 12-12 .500 25-24 .510

Tennessee 10-12 .455 27-20 .574

Kentucky 10-13-1 .438 31-15-1 .670

Georgia 8-16 .333 19-30 .388

WESTERN DIVISION

SEC Pct. Overall Pct.

Arkansas 16-8 .667 36-14 .720

Miss. State 13-9 .591 31-12 .721

Ole Miss 13-11 .542 32-18 .640

LSU 11-12-1 .479 28-21-1 .570

Alabama 11-13 .458 27-22 .551

Auburn 7-17 .292 28-22 .560 .

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