One year later, Ole Miss got their redemption in the Oxford Regional
Published 11:14 am Monday, June 3, 2019
OXFORD – Tennessee Tech? Let’s just say the Ole Miss baseball team will no longer be fielding questions about Tennessee Tech anymore.
One year after the embarrassing blowup in the 2018 Oxford Regional, losing back-to-back games at home to Tennessee Tech, the Rebels were simply unstoppable in the 2019 Oxford Regional. If those guys in the Rebel dugout didn’t use those games one year ago as motivation, it sure didn’t show.
“I remember sitting at this table last year after we lost to Tennessee Tech, same spot. Not really a good feeling – a really dark feeling,” said junior Thomas Dillard. “It’s a little bit of redemption now afterwards, but going into it we didn’t really use it that much. It was last season and a completely different team. But for the guys like me and Cooper (Johnson) and some other guys that played last year and saw how it felt, we didn’t want to feel that way again. So after the regional, it’s definitely a good feeling looking back on that.”
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Mike Bianco fielded questions about the 2018 series all week. According to the Rebels No. 5, those sorts of games from the past have never motivated him. However, if that sort of motivation were to aide his team, it’s something he could absolutely get behind. Cole Zabowski said before the regional that last year kept them hungry for this year. Dillard said before the weekend that it sort of drives some of the older players – not wanting to see this year end the same as the last.
When all was said and done, with the final game wrapping up past midnight on Monday morning, the 2019 Oxford Regional ended in just about every way Ole Miss fans could have dreamed of. The Rebels needed just three games to advance, winning each of them in decisive fashion. Records were broke along the way, like the team scoring 41 runs in the regional – an Ole Miss all-time high, and the team looked as dominant as they have been all year.
For every single member of this Ole Miss roster, this will be their first trip to the Super Regionals. For some seniors and those juniors that will leave after being drafted, it was the last time they got to walk off of Swayze Field victorious. And it couldn’t come in a better way.
“We’re proud. I’m happy. Everybody deserves this, even the new guys. But the guys that were here last year deserve today,” said head coach Mike Bianco. “They deserve to finish their last games at Swayze Field like this.”
Now this iteration of the Rebels get a chance to do what no Ole Miss team has done since 2014, play in an NCAA Super Regional. Coincidentally, that 2014 season was also the last time the Rebels made it all the way to Omaha.