LAFAYETTE, Louisiana (AP) — Mississippi’s long wait is over.
Pinch-hitter Holt Perdzock’s double in the ninth inning sparked a four-run rally and the Rebels ended a 42-year College World Series drought by punching their ticket to Omaha with a 10-4 win over Louisiana-Lafayette in the deciding game of the Lafayette Super Regional on Monday night.
“The road to Omaha is bumpy and windy,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “When you go, you have to have a special group. This group is certainly all of that.”
Bianco acknowledged that his team was fortunate to win against Ragin’ Cajuns, who had 10 hits to nine for the Rebels.
“When you look at the box score, they outhit us and we had four errors,” Bianco said.” You don’t usually win those games. It was one of those nights where we made the most of our opportunities.”
Scott Weathersby (3-1) pitched two scoreless innings for Mississippi (46-19) and Josh Laxer picked up his sixth save, allowing only an unearned run in 3 1-3 innings.
“I’ve been prepared to come out there in a close game,” Laxer said. “Coach B just preaches about filling up the strike zone. That’s what I did.”
And that’s why the Rebels are going to the CWS for the first time since 1972. They play Virginia on Sunday in the first game.
The turning point Monday night came when ULL’s Seth Harrison doubled down the line with runners at first and second and two out in the seventh inning. Tyler Girouard scored from second, but Caleb Adams was thrown out at the plate, leaving Ole Miss up 5-4.
Ole Miss catcher Will Allen had been in a similar situation Sunday, when he dropped the ball and allowed the run to score. Allen said he had a little more time to make the play Monday.
“That was a huge momentum swing for us,” Allen said. “We pumped up about that because we preserved the lead and Josh Laxer was shutdown from then.”
Laxer said getting the last out was a dream come true.
“Every college baseball player’s dream is to get that last out to go to Omaha,” Laxer said. “It’s really hard to put into words right now, but it is awesome.”
A throwing error on Perdzock’s two-run double allowed another run to score and J.B. Woodman’s sacrifice fly scored Perdzock to complete the Rebels’ rally in the ninth.
Austin Anderson and Sikes Orvis homered in the Rebels’ three-run fourth.
ULL (58-10) lost back-to-back games for the first time all season. Ragin’ Cajuns starter Cody Boutte (9-1) went four innings, giving up four runs on five hits. ULL pitchers issued eight walks and hit three batters.
“Ole Miss is a good baseball team,” ULL coach Tony Robichaux said. “Sometimes you can overpitch good hitters, but you can’t have that many walks and hit batters when you face a good baseball team.”
Bianco will be making his first trip to the College World Series after 14 years at Ole Miss.
“I didn’t think it would take this long,” he said. “I want these kids to enjoy this. A lot has been said about me, but this is their moment. That is one of the great things about being a coach is being able to share this moment with kids like this.”