By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Ole Miss has reached an NCAA super regional four times under Mike Bianco, but the Rebels have never taken that next step in an NCAA tournament while playing on the road.
Last year they were tantalizingly close, knocking off No. 1 seed Texas A&M before a rowdy Aggies crowd, arms inter-locked and swaying at the new Blue Bell Park.
Right-hander Mike Mayers, then a sophomore, went 6 1/3 innings with just four hits and struck out a career-high nine in a 6-3 Ole Miss win. The Rebels had defeated TCU the previous day.
Ole Miss, though, was unable to close with one more win against TCU and punch its ticket for a super regional at UCLA.
Bianco says postseason experience is an important component that his 2013 team will take with it to Raleigh, N.C., this week.
It’s not the experience of beating a No. 1 seed on the road – a feat the Rebels will likely have to duplicate to have a chance to reach a super regional for the first time since 2009 – just the experience of being in the tournament at all.
“When you looked around the field (Brett) Huber, (Tanner) Mathis, (Alex) Yarbrough and (Matt) Snyder were the only guys we had who had ever been. Wow,” Bianco said. “We had been to postseason nine or 10 years in a row. I never thought it would be like that by missing one year.”
been there before
Bianco is in his 13th season at Ole Miss. The Rebels have missed the NCAA tournament in only the 2002 and 2011 seasons during that span.
Huber, a fifth-year senior and the school’s career saves leader is a big part of a veteran make-up that was missing on the 2012 roster.
“We have a lot of older guys on the team, a lot of experience, a lot of guys who were in the regional last year. We have an experienced lineup and bullpen. The starting pitching, they’re experienced as well,” he said.
Huber held the Aggies scoreless for two innings after Mayers to get the game to R.J. Hively.
Depending on whether freshman Christian Helsel starts at second base the Ole Miss lineup could include seven position players with NCAA tournament experience.
The exception will be All-SEC catcher Stuart Turner.
“We’ll have 20-something players that have been in postseason,” Bianco said. “I think that’s a big deal, knowing what it’s all about, knowing that you can compete and knowing you were that close to moving on. I think they’ll feel more comfortable and more confident going into this regional.”
No. 1 Seed: North Carolina St. Wolfpack (44-14)
Conference: Atlantic Coast
Coach: Elliott Avent (868-609, 26 seasons)
RPI Rank: 7
Last 10 Games: 7-3
NCAA appearances (last appearance): 25 (2012)
Quality wins: Clemson, Virginia Tech (three times), Georgia Tech (three times), North Carolina, Florida State
Offensive stats: .280, 115 doubles, 100 stolen bases
Pitching stats: 3.24 ERA, 527 strikeouts, Opp BA .218
LHP Carlos Rodon, 8-2, 3.48, 101 innings, 151 strikeouts
OF Trea Turner, .376, 6 HR, 40 RBIs, 24 stolen bases
OF Bryan Adametz, .320, 13 doubles, 31 RBIs
No. 2 Seed: Ole Miss Rebels (37-22)
Coach: Mike Bianco (608-371-1, 16 seasons)
RPI Rank: 20
Last 10 Games: 4-6
NCAA appearances (last appearance): 22 (2012)
Quality wins: Arkansas, Texas A&M, Florida, Alabama (three times), Mississippi State (twice), LSU
Offensive stats: .276, 88 doubles, 23 home runs
Pitching stats: 3.11 ERA, .244 Opp BA
C Stuart Turner, .381, 15 doubles, 50 RBIs
3B Andrew Mistone, .316, 12 doubles, 34 RBIs
RHP Bobby Wahl, 9-0, 1.99 ERA
No. 3 Seed: William & Mary Tribe (37-22)
Conference: Colonial Athletic Association
Coach: Jamie Pinzino (37-22, first season)
RPI Rank: 44
Last 10 Games: 6-4
NCAA appearances (last appearance): 3 (2001)
Quality wins: Clemson, Rutgers (twice), Towson, NC Wilmington
Offensive stats: .296, 17 HR, 47 SB
Pitching stats: 4.16 ERA, .279 Opp BA
RHP John Farrell, 11-2, 2.80, 109.1 IP, 13 BB, 86 SO
INF Michael Katz, .365, 22 doubles, 47 RBIs
INF Ryan Lindemuth, .363, 47 RBIs
No. 4 Seed: Binghamton Bearcats (30-23)
Conference: America East
Coach: Tim Sinicki (461-466-6, 21st season)
RPI Rank: 171
Last 10 Games: 6-4
NCAA appearances (last appearance): 1 (2009)
Quality wins: 0-1 against RPI top 100
Offensive stats: .266, 79 doubles, 205 walks
Pitching stats: 3.67 ERA, .259 Opp BA
OF Jake Thomas, .382, 5 HR, 36 RBIs
INF Daniel Nevares, .314, 19 doubles, 34 RBIs
RHP Jake Lambert, 7-2, 2.95, 94.2 IP, 16 BB, 76 SO
Compiled by Parrish Alford