Oxford, MS-It took extra innings and enduring a nearly two-hour rain delay, but an RBI triple in the 10th inning from Sikes Orvis propelled No. 12 Ole Miss (44-18) to a 3-2 win over No. 14 Washington (41-17-1) and into an NCAA Super Regional.
It marks the fifth time in its last nine NCAA Tournament appearances that Ole Miss has advanced to a Super Regional and the seventh time in the last nine NCAA Tournament appearances that the Rebels have played in an NCAA Regional Championship.
The Rebels will now travel to face Louisiana-Lafayette for the right to go to the College World Series.
Scott Weathersby (2-1) picked up the win in relief, working 5.1 scoreless innings with two hits, two walks and tying a career high with six strikeouts. Weathersby entered the game in the fifth to relieve starter Sam Smith, who allowed two unearned runs in 4.2 innings of work in the start.
Alex Nesbitt (0-1) took the loss for the Huskies, allowing the one run on one hit with a pair of walks and two strikeouts. Nesbitt left the game in the 10th with the go-ahead run on base that was surrendered in the next at bat by right-hander Trevor Dunlap as Ole Miss grabbed the lead for good.
First of all, congratulations to Washington on a tremendous year and a tremendous weekend here,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We feel fortunate, but I’m very proud of these guys that played so hard all year long. We have won all different types of games and we had to do that this week. Sam (Smith) was terrific. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch a few balls early and put him in a hole and gave up a couple of unearned runs, but he got us deep enough.
“With Scott (Weathersby), you don’t see it much that a guy that comes in and squelches a rally that they had going, then sits for about an hour and a half and comes back and finishes the game,” Bianco said. “It was not just a huge hit by Sikes today, but a tremendous tournament. I’m very proud of this team.”
Freshman Colby Bortles got the Rebels on the board in the second inning, hitting a solo shot over the wall in left field to put Ole Miss on top 1-0.
Washington got on the board in the third, using a leadoff double and a fielding error on a sac bunt attempt to put men at the corners. A wild pitch moved Erik Forgione from first to second and put two men in scoring position before the Rebels would get a pair of shallow fly balls to right to put two outs on the board and keep the runners in check.
A walk put Brian Wolfe on to load the bases and bring Branden Berry to the plate. Berry singled to right to bring a run home, but the Rebels got the ball in quickly to cut off the second run and ended the inning with a rundown to keep the game knotted 1-1 after three complete.
Washington mounted another rally in the fifth inning, using a throwing error on a ground ball to short and a single deep at short to put two men on with one out. A bunt single then loaded the bases for the Huskies. Wolfe then drove a sac fly to left field to score a run and put Washington on top 2-1 as the Rebels turned to right-hander Scott Weathersby out of the bullpen.
Ole Miss evened the game in the sixth with a leadoff double from Will Allen and a one-out double from Bortles brought him home to knot the game at two. Washington then picked Bortles off second as the Huskies’ pitcher made a move home and then turned to second with the throw for the out. Washington then got a strikeout to end the inning, but the Rebels had evened things up.
The Rebels looked to get something started in the seventh with a leadoff single from Preston Overbey and a passed ball that put him at second. The weather had other plans as rain began and sent the game into nearly a two-hour rain delay. When the teams came back out to resume play, Washington got out of the inning to keep the game tied at two.
The teams played scoreless ball through the ninth and sent things into extra innings when Ole Miss made a move to go back in front.
A two-out walk of Allen put a man on base for the Rebels as Washington turned to its bullpen for right-hander Trevor Dunlap in relief of Nesbitt who had taken the mound in the resumed game. Sikes Orvis then laced a triple down the first base line that ricocheted off the wall in right to score Allen and put Ole Miss on top 3-2.
Weathersby then held the Huskies in check in the home half to snag the win and propel Ole Miss into an NCAA Super Regional.