By Parrish Alford
LAFAYETTE, La. – While Louisiana-Lafayette had the big-offense reputation, it was Ole Miss that got the big hits at the big moments on Monday night.
With home runs and huge doubles and a little timely defense thrown in, the Rebels are going to Omaha.
Austin Anderson and Sikes Orvis hit home runs, and pinch-hitter Holt Perdzock had a bases-clearing double in the ninth as Ole Miss defeated No. 6 national seed Louisiana-Lafayette 10-4 at Moore Field to win the Lafayette Super Regional.
The Rebels (46-19) are in the College World Series for the first time since 1972. There had been four previous attempts under Mike Bianco, ending in super regional defeats in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009. In three of those Ole Miss won the super regional opener at home only to lose the next two games.
After an uninspiring performance in the opener here left Bianco talking about mistakes and missed opportunities, the Rebels won 5-2 on Sunday to force a winner-take-all for Omaha Game 3.
“I’m so proud of our guys. The road to Omaha is bumpy and windy. To be honest with you, I didn’t think it would take this long, but when you go you have to have a special group. This group is all of that,” Bianco said.
The Ragin Cajuns (58-10) lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. They’ve won 101 games the last two seasons.
“Ole Miss pitched really well and kept us from having big innings,” ULL coach Tony Robichaux said.
Ole Miss starter Sam Smith lasted just 32⁄3 innings but left with a 3-3 tie.
The Rebels got solid relief work from Scott Weathersby in the middle innings, and Josh Laxer, who was a little shaky in the seventh but rock solid in the eighth and ninth innings when he faced only one batter over the minimum.
The Cajuns used eight pitchers in the game, a strategy that had them in position for a comeback, down just 5-4 after seven innings.
Ole Miss, however, scored five runs in its last two at-bats, highlighted by Perdzock’s hit in the ninth.
The Rebels scored their 10 runs on nine hits and won in spite of four errors.
“They kept throwing big arms at us, and we couldn’t get the big hits,” ULL third baseman Ryan Leonards said.
Ole Miss responded to a 1-0 deficit with three runs in the fourth, all three scoring on home runs.
Auston Bousfield opened with a double and scored when Anderson got all of a Cody Boutte breaking ball and drove it over the wall in right-center.
Boutte retired Will Allen but not Orvis, who slammed a solo shot to almost the same spot to make it 3-1.
The Cajuns tied it with a ground ball and a base hit in the fourth. Weathersby replaced Sam Smith and retired two-hole hitter Jace Conrad on a pop-up to get out of the inning.
The Rebels soon moved back in front.
Lee reached base to open the fifth when hit by a pitch and eventually scored on a passed ball.
In the sixth Lee reached with a one-out walk and scored when Bousfield doubled past the bag at third.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling. Being here for four years, knowing the history and having our ups and downs, we wanted this year to be special and leave a legacy,” Ole Miss catcher Will Allen said. “You have to credit the coaching staff for making sure we’re a tough group being ready to go out and play every day. All year we’ve fought through adversity.”