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Ole Miss outlasts Washington to win Oxford Regional


From Special Reports



OXFORD -- It took extra innings and a nearly two-hour rain delay, but the No. 12 and top-seeded Ole Miss baseball team is going back to the NCAA tournament Super Regionals. 


An RBI triple in the 10th inning by Sikes Orvis helped Ole Miss edge No. 14 and second-seeded Washington 3-2 in the championship game of the Oxford Regional at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field. 


The victory propelled Ole Miss (44-18) to its fifth super regional appearance in its last nine NCAA tournament appearances. It also was the seventh time in the last nine NCAA tournament trips Ole Miss has played in an NCAA Regional Championship. 


Ole Miss will travel to face Louisiana-Lafayette for the right to go to the College World Series. ULL eliminated Mississippi State 5-3 on Monday night. 


Scott Weathersby (2-1) picked up the win in relief, working 5 1/3 scoreless innings with two hits, two walks and tying a career high with six strikeouts. Weathersby entered the game in the fifth to relieve starter Sam Smith, who allowed two unearned runs in 4 2/3 innings. 


Alex Nesbitt (0-1) took the loss, allowing the one run on one hit and two walks. He struck out two. Nesbitt left the game in the 10th with the go-ahead run on base that was surrendered in the next at bat by right-hander Trevor Dunlap. 


"Congratulations to Washington on a tremendous year and a tremendous weekend here," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "We feel fortunate, but I'm very proud of these guys that played so hard all year long. We have won all different types of games and we had to do that this week. Sam (Smith) was terrific. Unfortunately, we didn't catch a few balls early and put him in a hole and gave up a couple of unearned runs, but he got us deep enough.  


"With Scott (Weathersby), you don't see it much that a guy that comes in and squelches a rally that they had going, then sits for about an hour and a half and comes back and finishes the game. It was not just a huge hit by Sikes today, but a tremendous tournament. I'm very proud of this team." 


Freshman Colby Bortles got the Rebels on the board in the second with a solo home run to left field. 


Washington (41-17-1) tied the game in the third. A leadoff double and a fielding error on a sacrifice bunt attempt put men on the corners. A wild pitch moved Erik Forgione from first to second and put two men in scoring position before the Rebels used two shallow fly balls to right field to keep the runners in check. A walk to Brian Wolfe loaded the bases for Branden Berry, who singled to right to bring a run home, but the Rebels got the ball in quickly to cut off the second run and ended the inning with a rundown to keep the game tied. 


Washington rallied in the fifth, using a throwing error on a ground ball to shortstop and a single deep at short to put two men on with one out. A bunt single loaded the bases for Wolfe, whose sacrifice fly gave Washington the lead and forced Ole Miss to turn to Weathersby. 


Ole Miss evened the game in the sixth with a leadoff double by Will Allen and a one-out double from Bortles brought him home to knot the game at two. Washington then picked Bortles off second base and recorded a strikeout to end the inning. 


The Rebels looked to get something started in the seventh with a leadoff single by Preston Overbey and a passed ball that put him at second, but rain delayed the game for nearly two hours. When the teams returned, Washington got out of the inning to keep the game tied at two. 


The teams remained tied until the 10th, when Allen walked with two outs. Dunlap came on for Nesbitt, who had taken the mound in the resumed game, and gave up a triple by Orvis that went down the first-base line and ricocheted off the wall in right field to win the game.



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