Hosting Again

A year ago today all Ole Miss knew was that it wasn't hosting a baseball regional for a fifth straight year. Today a new hosting streak has begun.

A year ago tomorrow, the Rebels found out they'd be traveling to Miami for an NCAA Regional. Tomorrow they'll find out who will be coming to the Oxford Regional this weekend and if they are a national seed.

Being one of the eight national seeds means the Rebels will host a Super Regional the following weekend, provided they win the Regional this week.

In 2005 Ole Miss was the fifth national seed and hosted Texas in a Super Regional. The following year the Rebels were not a national seed but were paired with the Lincoln Regional. When Miami won that Regional instead of national seed Nebraska, the Hurricanes came to Oxford for the Super Regional.

The Rebels are considered by most to be a bubble national seed, if there is such a thing. It appears if they do slip in, it will be as the seven and most likely the eight. But there is an advantage by playing at home for two straight weekends, even though Ole Miss didn't get past Texas or Miami to advance to the College World Series.

After winning the Oxford Regional two years ago, Ole Miss headed west to Arizona State for a Super Regional and couldn't advance.

The competitive bid Ole Miss put in to host this year was right at a quarter of a million dollars. Money talks. The Rebels weren't going to be denied in baseball like they were in men's tennis.

But leading the nation in men's tennis attendance should have weighed some in Ole Miss' favor since the NCAA does charge fans to attend Regionals. But it obviously didn't.

"When you look at the big picture, we are certainly competitive on a national scale," Lynnette Johnson, Senior Associate AD, said of this year's bid for baseball. "We are competitive with our facility which is one of the best in the nation. We are competitive with our team which is ranked among the top 10 nationally. We are also competitive with our fan base as we have had more than 200,000 fans in attendance this season.

"When you factor in all of those things along with a very competitive financial package, we feel our bid was very competitive when it comes to hosting a regional site this season."

The financial bid placed by Ole Miss is almost $100,000 more than the bid placed in 2007, the last time the program hosted a baseball regional. But the stadium also has twice as many chairback seats as two years ago.

The total field of 64 as well as the unveiling of the national top 8 seeds will be announced at 11:30 a.m. on Monday on ESPN.

The complete list of 16 hosts sites announced today are:

• Atlanta/Georgia Tech

• Austin, Texas/Texas

• Baton Rouge, La./LSU

• Chapel Hill, N.C./UNC

• Clemson, S.C./Clemson

• Fort Worth, Texas/TCU

• Fullerton, Calif./Cal State Fullerton

• Gainesville, Fla./Florida

• Greenville, N.C./East Carolina

• Houston/Rice

• Irvine, Calif./UC-Irvine

• Louisville, Ky./Louisville

• Norman, Okla./Oklahoma

• Oxford, Miss./Ole Miss

• Tallahassee, Fla./Florida State

• Tempe, Ariz./Arizona State

Ole Miss is currently 40-17 overall and finished the regular season 20-10 and in a first-place tie with LSU for the Southeastern Conference crown.

Highlights of the Rebel season were three sweeps, including two on the road. Ole Miss defeated Kentucky three straight days in Oxford the first weekend in April, and in May won three games at Auburn and three more at Arkansas.

The Rebels were also 20-5 in non-conference games during the regular season.

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