Rebel offfense got the most in championship game shootout. Ole Miss broke the school's NCAA Tournament runs record with 21. Alex Kliman and Justin Henry each had four hits for Ole Miss and Zach Miller and Zack Cozart both had four.
Sam Houston State continued the offensive mometum with its gutty victory in the first game of the day, but the Bearkats (40-24) ran out of pitching.
SHSU actually led 9-8 in the middle of the fourth, but Ole Miss put together a nine-run fourth in which everyone in the Rebel lineup scored and Ole Miss ran away.
OM pitcher Craig Rodriguez (2-2) allowed a run on two hits over 3.1 innings to stymie the Bearkat mometum and allow Ole Miss to run away with it.
Ole Miss junior shortstop Zack Cozart just got a standing ovation from the Oxford-University Stadium crowd as he came to the plate in the seventh inning.
The crowd was acknowledging that it might be Cozart's last at bat at Oxford-University Stadium. Cozart walked, drawing a few boos.
Rebels lead 21-9 after seven. They've already set the school record for runs in an NCAA Tournament game and the fans are beginning to head for the exits.
Ole Miss answered with a nine-run fourth inning in which everyone in the Ole Miss lineup scored.
Rebels now lead 16-8 after 4.5 innings.
Ole Miss had six hits in the inning and SHSU had three errors.
OM left-hander Craig Rodriguez just went 1-2-3 in the fifth and it seemed even more amazing in comparison to the rest of the game.
I tell you what these Bearkats can hit.
After scoring 11 runs over the final five innings of today's earlier game, they've put up eight through four innings in the nightcap to lead the Rebels 8-7 after 3.5 innings.
The Bearkats erased a 7-3 deficit with a five-run fourth inning. Bobby Verbick hit a three-run home run and Austin Boggs and Nick Zaleski each doubled in the inning.
Craig Rodriguez has replaced Scott Bittle on the mound for Ole Miss and got a striekout to strand a runner at second.
Sam Houston starter Jon Lindenberger retired the first two hitters and then couldn't get any of the next seven.
OleMiss now leads 6-3 with two outs and a runner on second in the first. Stephen Price in to pitch for the third consecuitve game. Price threw 1.2 innings earlier today and 2.2 innings yesterday.
Price was greeted by Jordan Henry who singled to center field but Alex Kliman was thrown out by Sam Houston center fielder Keith Stein.
There was a bit of a collision at the plate, drawing boos from the large crowd. Price greeted SHSU catcher Heath Pugh with a chest bump after the play and I'm sure words were exchanged.
Ole Miss' Lance Lynn and several other Rebels gave Sam Houston's dugout a stare-down from the Rebel dugout.
All seats here appear full with people standing in the concourse. Both crowds in the outfield look large and there appear to be more people along the hill on the third base line than during Ole Miss' first two games.
Rebels lead 6-3.Top 2nd.
The championship game has started and Sam Houston State is still hot. The Bearkats have now scored in six consecutive innings (counting the first game) and now lead 3-0 after the top of the first.
Ole Miss is in white pinstripes. Sam Houston changed to orange tops.
The Rebels are starting sophomore right-hander Scott Bittle (2-5, 2.35) the former closer agianst right-hnader Jon Lindenberger (2-1, 6.02).
Southern Miss third baseman Chris Matesich entered the day with a .136 batting average. That's 11 hits on 81 at bats.
He now has his first career four-hit game. The fourth hit was a two-out solo home run 391 feet to straight away center field. It was his third career home run and first since 2005.
Southern Miss leads 11-10 in the bottom of the 11th. Freshman right-hander JR Ballinger now pitching for Southern Miss.
For the second consecuitve inning, Sam Houston got a game-tying hit with two outs. This time Aaron Cook (who entered a a pinch runner in the ninth) fisted a single into right. Cook scored the tying run in the ninth and drove in the tying run in the 10th.
The writers are getting angry. Namers are being witheld to protect the innocent but one of them slammed his laptop screen after his seventh lead was ruined. The frustration of tight games on deadline. My deadline will come before too long too.
The Rebel fans have begun to cheer on the four-seed Bearkats, but I suspect they just want the game to end too.
Southern Miss has scored a run to retake the lead, but Sam Houston State has scored in each of the last three innings.They've scored eight runs over that span.
Tyler Conn back out for USM.
10-9 Golden Eagles. Bottom 10.
Sam Houston State answered with two runs in the ninth and we're tied at nine after nine.
Karl Krailo and Austin Boggs led off the inning with singles and Nick Zaleski got down a sacrifice bunt with two strikes. One run scored on a ground out and the other scored on Heath Pugh's two-out single up the middle.
Sam Houston fans were dancing in the stands as the runs scored. They also mimicked Ole Miss fans with a "Throw it in the dirt" chant that the Rebel fans joined them on.
Be interesting to see what happens with the pitching. Sam Houston State closer Luke Prihoda is in for his fifth inning of the weekend.
Southner Miss has already had to use both of its closers. Patrick Ezell threw one inning (his lone work of the weekend) and Tyler Conn has thrown an inning today after working three innings yesterday.
Golden Eagles have a runner on second with one out in the 10th.
Southern Miss pinch hitter Keith Winstead just hit a two-run double off national saves leader Luke Prihoda (six wins, 17 saves entering the game) to put Southern Miss on top 9-7 going into the last of the ninth.
Last out of the top of the ninth was interesting. USM CF Bo Davis collided with SHSU first baseman Nick Zaleski and pushed Zaleski to the ground. Davis got a lecture from first-base umpite Dave Buck,but remained in the game.
Bearkats now have a runner on first with no outs and Southern Miss is replacing Patrick Ezell with left-hander Tyler Conn.
7-7 here through eight innings.
Southern Miss preserved the tie by ending the eighth with a stike-em-out, throw-em-out double play as Keith Stein was thrown out trying to steal second.
Sam Houston closer Luke Prihoda just entered the game. He threw three innings yesterday but said after the game he's thrown effectively the day after going three innings before.
Southern Miss' Luke Adkins is on first with no outs.
After six silent innings, it looks like the Sam Houston offense has come to life.
Sam Houston just added another run in the eighth to cut it to 7-6 and has the tying run on third with one out. Patrick Ezell pitching for USM.
Hold your horses.
The Bearkats put together a four-run seventh to cut it to 7-5.
Karl Krailo, hit a two-run double, Austin Boggs added an RBI single, and Nick Zaleski had a sac fly.
Southern Miss brought in closer Patrick Ezell.
Sam Houston star closer and national saves leader Luke Prihoda is now warming in the bullpen.
7-5 Southern Miss through seven.
Southern Miss now leads 7-1 entering the bottom of the seventh after Chris Matesich's two-run single.
The hit was the third of the day for Matesich, who entered the game hitting .136. He's raised his average to .165.
The last time Matesich, a third baseman, had a two-hit game was in the 2005 Oxford Regional against Oklahoma. He also had four three-hit games in 2005.
Looks like it'll be an all Magnolia title game with Ole Miss waiting in the wings.
Sam Houston has taken back some momentum after Southern Miss appeared to be cruising.
After escaping their bases-loaded jam withouth allowed a Golden Eagle run in the top of the fourth, the Bearkats broke through for their first run in the bottom of the frame. Karl Krailo doubled and scored on a sac fly.
Southern Miss just answered with a run, however, since I began typing.
4-1 USM top five. Golden Eagles have a runner on second with one out.
Southern Miss loaded the bases with one out in the fourth when Sam Houston reliever Tim Gray replaced Matt Fry on the mound and got Brian Dozier to hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
Golden Eagles still lead 3-0 after 3.5. Crowd is sparse but not terrible. A good number of Southern Miss fans in gol shirts down the first base line and a handful of Sam Houston fans in orange up the third-base line.
Again scores of empty canvas chairs line the outfield terrace in anticipation of tonight's game.
Southern Miss leads Sam Houston State 3-0 after an inning and a half in the first game of the day. The winner will take on Ole Miss tonight at 5.
Luke Adkins led off the second with a double, Jordan King walked and Eddie Burger smacked an RBI double.
The Bearkats nearly escaped the jam stranding runners on second and third when Bo Davis hit a ball to deep center fielder and SHS center fielder Keith Stein ran backwards to track the ball hit over his head. Stein nearly had it, but failed to make the Willie Mays catch, and Davis ended up with a two-run triple.
Golden Eagles in gold tops with white pants, black caps and black numbers.
Bearkats in white tops and pants with orange numbers and white caps.
Ole Miss' Jordan Henry was 4-for-5 with two runs and Justin Henry and Logan Power each had two hits.
Michael Ewing and Luke Adkins had Southern Miss' two hits.
Ole Miss sophomore right-hander Lance Lynn (8-4) threw 146 pitches in a complete game two-hit shutout. He walked five and fanned seven.
Southern Miss starter Barry Bowden (7-4) allowed four runs (two earned) on eight hits in six innings.
See quotes below.
Southern Miss got runners on first and second with one out in the sixth when James Ewing ripped a line drive towards third. Rebel third baseman Cody Overbeck caught it and fired to first in time for the inning-ending double play.
4-0 Ole Miss through six.
Southern Miss just got a hit and it drew a loud applause from the Rebel crowd.
That's because the applause was in recognition of the no-hitter Ole Miss' Lance Lynn had flirted with through 5.1 innings. The single was by USM's Michael Ewing who now stands at first with one out in the sixth.
Between the mist, the packed crowd and the airhorn that some fan has there is an interesting atmosphere to the game here.
Ole Miss added a run in the sixth to go ahead 4-0 going into the bottom half of the inning. Rebel right fielder Jordan Henry is now 3-for-4 and has also reached base on an error.
Ole Miss starter Lance Lynn has walked five, fanned six and that's about it.
Both pitchers have high pitch counts.Lynn has thrown 92 through five innings. Southern Miss' Barry Bowden is at 117 pitches through six.
Ole Miss' Lance Lynn has settled and hasn't allowed any walks over the last two innings. He's been blowing fastballs past the Golden Eagle hitters and has five strikeouts against four walks through four.
The four walks are the only base runners he's allowed.
Ole Miss leadoff hitter Jordan Henry has scored a pair of runs and driven in another (his first RBI since early May).
3-0 Rebels. Top 5.
Ole Miss junior right-hander Lance Lynn has not allowed a run through two innings, but he has surrendered plenty of walks. Lynn has walked four. In the second inning, he walked the bases loaded but got out of it.
Ole Miss meanwhile got a first-inning run on singles by Jordan Henry, Justin Henry and Cody Overbeck.
1-0 Rebels after two.
Great crowd here. About all the seats are filled including a couple of sections of fans in gold and black up the first base line. People are lining the wall along the concourse, outfields are full and people are sitting on the hill along the third-base line too.
Southern Miss' Barry Bowden is on the hill. Ole Miss' Jordan Henry is in the box and we're ready to go.
Ole Miss is in blue tops, white pants and numbers and navy caps.
USM is in white tops and pants with black caps and numbers.
Lineups were announced and we were about 10 minutes away from starting Game 4 when the rain picked back up and chased teams back to their dugouts. The sun is shining, but the rain is still falling so we'll see how long this lasts
"We had some defensive miscues and allowed some runs, which is uncharacteristic of our team. We've played so well defensivelythis seasoan, it's disappointing, but that's part of the game. We battled and competed hard, but we had trouble getting some runners across and getting that timely hit. We just didn't come with our best game today."
Sam Houston State coach Mark Johnson
"Anytime you can win in regional play, you take your hat off. It might not have been as pretty as we would have liked, but I thought we did some things well. Certainly Jesse Marshall didn't have all his stuff.
They started to get one run here, two runs there, so we didn't feel like we had to bring Luke (Prihoda) in to save him. We went ahead and put Stephen Price in. He was probably the hero of the day and took the shine away from Luke a little bit because Luke always gets to be the hero of the day."
First pitch for Ole Miss and Southern Miss is scheduled for 5:05 CST, but it is raining right now.
No tarp on the field, so we'll see what happens.
It's mostly a strong drizzle right now. Fans are either jammed in the covered tunnels or crammed into the top rows under the roof. Grounds crew is out on the field ranking and keeping water from pooling on the infield.
The four seed advances to tomorrow, while the Trojans fall and don't prove much about why they got in off the buble.
After Troy got two on with no outs in the ninth, Ian Craze failed to get a bunt down and popped out to second.
Luke Prihoda then struck out Edgar Ramirez and got two strikes on Clint Robinson before Robinson hit an RBI single to send a runner to third and cut it to a one-run game.
That sent Troy star closer and cleanup hitter Josh Dew to the plate.
Dew grounded out to the pitcher. One unassissted.
Dew now pitching for Troy.
Here it is. Prihoda vs. Dew for the right to avoid elimination.
Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year vs. Southland Pitcher of the Year.
5-3 SHS Bottom 7. Bearkats have a runner on first with no outs.
Prihoda actually faced Dew last inning when Dew came to the plate. Prihoda induced a 3-2 groundout.
Sam Houston State junior right-hander closer Luke Prihoda, the nation's saves leader, just entered the game.
Expect Troy's Josh Dew to make an appearance soon.
Here we go.
5-3 Sam Houston State. One out runner on first for Troy. Top 7.
How often do you see a diving catch by a catcher save a run?
Well can't say for sure whether it saved a run, but Troy catcher Josh Blackwell just made a big catch with a runner on third and two outs. SHS leadoff hitter Clint Mann hit a foul ball and Blackwell sprinted and slid to make the catch.
5-3 Sam Houston State through six. Still no appearance from the great closers.
Sam Houston State took its first lead of this regional thanks to two more errors by Troy. 5-3 Bearkats 4.5 innings.
The Trojans have made three errors today and eight through 13 innings in the regional.
With Troy closer Josh Dew, the nation's leader in strikeouts per nine innings, standing on first base, the Trojans might need to put him in since they're not doing so well with balls put in play.
Troy shortstop Charlie Calamia just got hit first hit of the year against a left-handed pitcher. It was a single against SHS's Jesse Marshall to put runners on first and second with an out.
Marshall got a strikeout and a bases-loading walk and then reliever Stephen Price got a strikeout to end the threat.
Price is likely the first of many relievers today.
The game is tied at 3 going into the bottom of the fourth and the tie game could make for some interesting late innings. Two of the best closers in the country, Troy's Josh Dew (the national leader in Ks per nine innings) and Sam Houston's Luke Prohoda (national leader in saves, second in ERA) are both fresh. It could make for a great duel.
Sam Houston just used three infield hits to shortstop to put together a three-run inning and tie the game at 3 after three.
Bobby Verbick also had a two-run double down the third baseline that drew a brief argument from Troy coach Bobby Pierce about whether it was fair.
Troy second baseman Edgar Ramirez just hit his 12th home run of the year and his first outside of Troy, Ala.
One thing that Sam Houston State starter Jesse Marshall will have to watch is the fact that he's already walked two in the first inning.
1-0 Troy after a half inning.
Small crowd this morning. Funny seeing all the empty canvas chairs set up in the outfield for tonight's game.
Didn't see what happened, maybe a team meeting or something, but Sam Houston State got caught up in an odd configuration as the National Anthem was being sung.
About 12 or 13 guys were lined up in front of the third base dugout as you'd expect. Then about 12 or 13 others were clumped together in a cluster in left field.
Anyways, we're about ready to go with Game three here in Oxford. Sam Houston State in white with orange numbers and white caps. Troy is wearing red tops with white numbers, pants and caps.
Ole Miss defeats Sam Houston 14-5.
Zach Miller went 2-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs to lead Ole Miss, which had 12 hits. Jordan Henry, Cody Overbeck, Zack Cozart and Alex Kliman also had two hits each. Overbeck drove in four, and he and Logan Power each hit home runs.
Keith Stein and Nick Zaleski were each 2-for-4 for the Bearkats.
OM junior right hander Will Kline (7-2) allowed five runs (three earned) on nine hits in six innings to earn the win. He walked five and fanned four. Justin Cryer allowed one hit and one walk in three scoreless innings to get his first career save.
SHS starter Jacob Howard (11-6) allowed eight runs (three earned) on seven hits in five innings.
The Bearkats were really hurt by three errors, two by third baseman Austin Boggs and one by shortstop Jeremy Holzbach.
SHS did not need to use closer Luke Prihoda, the national saves leader, and will have him available Saturday.
See game two quotes below.
Ole Miss freshman second baseman Zach Miller has come up big since Sam Houston tied the game at 4.
Miller led off the fifth with a triple and scored the go-ahead run. He then hit a two-run single with the bases loaded in the sixth to put the Rebels ahaed 8-4.
Sam Houston got one back in the seventh before OM reliever Justin Cryer got a strikeout with the bases loaded.
Cody Overbeck just hit a solo home run in the seventh bringing the crowd to its feet.
9-5 Rebels. Bottom 7.
Sam Houston threatened in the sixth when two Will Kline walks (he has four in the game) put runners on first and second with one out.
Kline then struck out Karl Krailo on an outside fastball. He got two strikes on Austin Boggs, bringing the crowd to its feet, before getting Boggs to ground out to third baseman Cody Overbeck to end the inning.
Zach Miller led off the fifth with a triple and scored on a Justin Henry ground out. 5-4 Rebels through five.That run was even bigger with national saves leader Luke Prihoda lurking in the Bearkat dugout.
Dragging the field and playing Sweet Caroline. And a section of Ole Miss fans on the third base line is performing its traditional dance to the song. I'm not yet enough of a word smith to describe the dance. One day.
There was a threat of rain, but it is still dry.
Three run inning by Sam Houston State and its 4-3 Ole Miss after three innings.
The Bearkats had just one hit in their three-run third.
Two walks sandwiched around a Clint Mann single loaded the bases with no outs, and OM third baseman Cody Overbeck made a two-base and two-run error when he bobbled a Bobby Verbick ground ball.
The third run scored on a ground out by Austin Boggs.
Word is rain is on the way and could be here in about 10 minutes. Crowd is tense.
Ole Miss puts up four first inning runs to take a 4-0 lead after one.
Big crowd. Almost all the seats are full and both outfield seating areas are overflowing.
Good sized Sam Houston contingent wearing orange along the third base line.
A lot of Ole Miss fans are fanning themsevles with blue "Ole Miss" fans. One industrial fan is using a flattened pop corn box as a fan.
A bat switch worked out for Southern Miss shorstop Brian Dozier in the seventh inning.
Facing a 2-2 count, Dozier called time, walked to the dugout and grabbed another bat. He then hit a 3-2 double, his second double and third extra base hit of the game.
It didn't result in a run however. Golden Eagles lead 14-1 in the bottom of the eighth.
USM starter Ryan Belanger went seven innings, allowing one run on eight hits with no walks and four Ks. Jonathan Johnston now pitching for Southern Miss.
Warm day in Oxford. Several Southern Miss fans are fanning themselves with fans shaped like the Golden Eagle mascot.
The Southern Miss fans get on their feet and let out a cheer as the Golden Eagles lead 14-1 through five innings.
Much of the damage has come from the top of the Golden Eagles' order, as the first four hitters have combined for 10 hits.
Bo Davis is 3-for-4 with three runs and four times on base.
Brian Dozier is 2-for-3 with a double and a home run and Jody Blount is 3-for-3 with three RBIs.
Michael Ewing is 2-for-4, while five-hole hitter Luke Adkins has a two-run home run. Eight of the nine Golden Eagles have at least one hit.
Meanwhile, Troy hasn't made much of a case for why it got in off the bubble. And somewhere the College of Charleston is groaning.
With its top hitter Trey Sutton out for the season after suffering a knee injury in the Conference-USA Tournament, the rest of the Golden Eagle lineup rose to the occasion in the first inning here.
The Golden Eagles put up four runs with the big blow coming on designated hitter Luke Adkins' two-run home run. Ironically, had Sutton played, he would have been DH and perhaps Adkins would have been on the bench.
It's the regional of the closer here in Oxford, or at least that is what the two lowest seeds in the regional are hoping it becomes. While the field here in Oxford doesn't feature a single team ranked in the latest Baseball America poll, it does feature two of the best closers in the country. No. 3 seed Troy features senior right-hander (and first baseman) Josh Dew whose 96 strikeouts in 63.1 innings is the best strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio in the nation.
Meanwhile No. 4 seed Sam Houston State's MVP is senior right-hander Luke Prihoda, who leads the nation with 17 saves and is second in America with a 1.21 ERA.
The interesting sidebar is Ole Miss sophomore right-handed closer Cody Satterwhite, who has already been selected to play for Team USA this summer. Satterwhite has great potential and looks dominant at times. He's also blown three saves over the last four weekends, including the seminfinals of last weekend's SEC Tournament against Vanderbilt.
Anyway, here is an extended look at all four teams.