Laxer, bullpen come through in clutch for Rebels

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Ole Miss pitcher Josh Laxter begins to celebrate after the Rebels earned the school's first College World Series trip since 1972. Laxer pitched a scoreless ninth inning to close out the win.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Ole Miss pitcher Josh Laxter begins to celebrate after the Rebels earned the school’s first College World Series trip since 1972. Laxer pitched a scoreless ninth inning to close out the win.

By John Davis

Oxford Citizen

LAFAYETTE, La. – Ole Miss is headed to the College World Series for the first time since 1972 due in large part to the way the bullpen came through in crunch time Monday night in Game 3 of the Lafayette Super Regional.

Scott Weathersby, the hero of last week’s Game 3 win in the Oxford Regional, and Josh Laxer made big pitches when they needed them in the 10-4 win over the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Laxer, a native of Madison, earned his sixth save of the year by limiting one of the nation’s top offenses to just two hits and one run in 31⁄3 innings of work.

He said it took a little time to get settled in, but once he did, he was dominant in the eighth and ninth especially.

Catcher Will Allen and coach Mike Bianco both said his stuff was electric following the game.

“Honestly being out there in a close, it’s something I’ve been prepared for all year. With the run support I got at the end of my outing, I couldn’t have asked for more,” Laxer said. “With the team that they have, it helped with my confidence out there. At that point, Coach B just preached to me about filling up the strike zone with that kind of lead and that’s what I did. To get that last out, it’s every college baseball player’s dream. I can’t put it into words what it feels like right now.”

Bianco said Weathersby, who earned his second win in as many weeks, was ailing some, thus forcing him to go to Laxer a little earlier than expected. Bianco said it was neat for Laxer to close the game considering he struggled to find a real role on the team until this season as a reliever.

“That’s one of the neat things about being a coach. You get to be around great kids like that. Guys that so are so appereciative, guys that are selfless, that’s what makes doing this so special and so rewarding,” Bianco said. “He said he didn’t really have his best stuff to you tonight, but I thought he was just exceptional. I was proud of him.”

john.davis@journalinc.com