By John Davis
OXFORD – There was no bigger moment to come through with a clutch hit for Sikes Orvis.
After struggling at the plate against Washington’s pitching, the Ole Miss first baseman collected a rare triple in the top of the 10th inning.
His lined shot down the right field line not only broke a 2-2 tie with No. 2 seed Washington, it cemented the Most Valuable Player award for Orvis.
“It was a huge hit by Sikes, but also just a tremendous tournament,” said Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco, moments after the Rebels’ 3-2 put them in their first super regional since 2009.
Orvis finished with six RBIs in the three games, with five coming in a 12-2 win over Jacksonville State in the opener. Prior to his clutch triple, the second of his career, Orvis said hitting coach Cliff Godwin said to expect a fastball from Trevor Dunlap.
“I wasn’t going to drive something, I was looking to get the game going. He threw something over the plate and it kind of rolled over and it squeaked down the line,” Orvis said. “It couldn’t have been a better time for my first triple of the year. Something has to happen for me to get a triple. It’s crunch time. It’s win or go home, so, everybody is out here locked in. This is when all of our hard work, we get to show it off.”
Perhaps lost in Orvis’ big hit was the play of Colby Bortles, who went 2-for-5 with a solo home run and two RBIs. It was the first playing time of the regional for the freshman.
“(ESPN) asked me in the end-game interview why (start) Colby Bortles and those that follow us know how well he’s swung the last couple of weeks,” Bianco said. “I don’t know what his batting average is from that Arkansas State game in that last week, but it’s got to be over .500. Knowing how well he’s swung it, I decided to go with him today with them throwing a left hander. He’s just getting a lot of great swings off.”