Ole Miss to host Oxford Regional in NCAA Tournament

Published 7:45 pm Sunday, May 27, 2018

HOOVER, Ala. — Postseason baseball’s return to Oxford is official.

For the first time since 2016 and the seventh time in program history, Ole Miss will host an NCAA regional. The 16 regional host sites for the 64-team tournament were announced Sunday night.

Ole Miss, fresh off its SEC tournament championship win over LSU earlier in the day, will find out Monday who will join them in the four-team regional. The rest of the NCAA Tournament field along with regional pairings for super regionals will be announced during a selection show at 11 a.m. on ESPNU.

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That’s also when the Rebels will find out if they’ve done enough to earn a top 8 national seed, which would allow the Rebels to host a super regional should they win their regional. The double-elimination regional will start Friday and run through Sunday.

Entering Sunday’s SEC Tournament championship game tied for the most wins in the country and a top-10 RPI, Ole Miss was a lock for a top 16 seed. The Rebels beat LSU for their third-ever conference tournament title and picked up three more top-25 RPI wins along the way to give them 12 for the season along with their 21st SEC win.

Only once since 2002 has an SEC team had at least 20 league wins counting the conference tournament and not been a national seed. Ole Miss, which has won 11 of its last 15 games, is at No. 5 in the latest RPI rankings.

Kessinger, Keenan day to day

Shortstop Grae Kessinger left Sunday’s game in the second inning after tweaking a hamstring he injured earlier in the season. It happened when he tried to sprint back to first on Ryan Olenek’s flyout to center that ended in a double play in the first.

An Ole Miss spokesperson said during the game that the injury was “very minor” and that Kessinger was taken out of the game as a precaution. Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said afterward that Kessinger’s status is day to day.

Freshman Anthony Servideo replaced him and went 1-for-5 with a single.

“He wanted to stay in there, but we just can’t risk that,” Bianco said.

Third baseman Tyler Keenan missed his fourth straight game with an injured wrist. Bianco said Keenan will undergo an MRI on Monday.

“He’s felt a little better, but he wasn’t able to hit today,” said Bianco, who added that Keenan could’ve possibly been a defensive substitution late before Kessinger’s injury.

Kessinger’s first-inning single raised his average to .304. Keenan is hitting .314 on the season.