Role Reversal

The home team players watched with stunned acceptance. It was quite the reversal from a year ago tonight.

Now Virginia knows how the Ole Miss Rebels felt. Last year the Cavaliers made their only trip ever to Omaha for the College World Series by winning in Oxford. The picture of the Virginia players piled up and celebrating on Swayze Field is on the wall in the hall of fame room at the UVa stadium.

Now Oklahoma has the opportunity to hang one at its home park after beating the Cavaliers in game three 11-0. I didn't see any way any team would beat Virginia that badly. They appeared to be as good as any team in the field this season.

"What it says about college baseball is that there are a lot of teams that can really compete for the national championship," UVa head coach Brian O'Connor said Monday night after his team's season ended with 51 wins. "Even though you might be ranked No. 1 at times during the year like we were and Texas was, it doesn't mean that you're going to make it to Omaha. The teams that make it to Omaha are the teams that play hot right at the end of the year and that have some breaks go their way."

Sunny Golloway takes his first team to Omaha as head coach. Golloway was a finalist for the Ole Miss head coaching job when Pat Harrison got it 14 years ago. Golloway was the head coach at Oral Roberts but had been an assistant on an Oklahoma team that won the CWS in 1994.

"Our pitching has done it for us," Golloway said Monday night of the 2010 version of Sooner baseball. "What pitching and defense does for teams this time of year heading into the College World Series is that it allows hitters to do some great things."

What Ole Miss didn't have this season was enough of either – pitching or hitting. Defensively the Rebels were as good as usual. But depth on the pitching staff and hitting that was consistently inconsistent didn't allow Ole Miss to be among the last 16 teams standing.

After what Virginia did to Ole Miss last week (and then what St. John's did to the Rebels the next day), and then watching Oklahoma annihilate the Cavaliers, it's obvious the Rebels weren't up to their standards of the past few years.

But that was pretty clear the entire last month of the season, not just in Charlottesville.

One Rebel pitcher who returns next season continues to garner postseason accolades.

Redshirt freshman Brett Huber stepped into the closer role after Jake Morgan was out for the season and David Goforth was moved to a starting role. And he was the brightest spot among UM relievers all year.

Huber was a bright spot for Rebs in 2010

Huber was named a first-team Freshman All-America selection by the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association (NCBWA) on Monday. It's the second selection to a Freshman All-America team for Huber. Last week he received Freshman All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball.

Huber also picked up All-SEC honors from the league's coaches when he was named a second-team All-SEC selection and was named to the All-Freshman team.

Huber had 12 saves and a 2-0 record this season. Eleven of his 12 saves came against Southeastern Conference teams as he finished second on the single-season saves list behind Stephen Head (13 in 2003). His lone save against a non-conference foe came at Arkansas State in the last non-conference contest of the regular season.

Huber posted a 3.54 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 19 walks while holding batters to a .216 batting average against in 48.1 innings of work. He made a team-high 30 appearances, the most relief appearances in a single season by a Rebel pitcher and tied for the most total appearances in a single-season with Cooper Campbell from the 1999 season.

Huber will be a leader of the Rebel pitching staff in 2011. Obviously Ole Miss is hoping other pitchers will step up if the Rebels are to play well into June next season.

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