OMAHA, Nebraska — Sometimes it’s just your night. Sometimes that night just happens to happen on the biggest stage your sport has to offer… say the opening stanza of the tri-college men’s World Series Finals.

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Saturday night was definitely Ole Miss night. Now the challenge is to bring that Mississippi magic back for one more game.

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“There is still work to be done, and we know it,” explained Tim Elko, mustachioed baseman, team captain, motivational speaker and, as of Saturday night, a member of the College World Series statistical elite. “But we’re also going to make sure to enjoy every moment of this night because it was special and always will be.”

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The Rebels beat Oklahoma 10–3 in a game that remained tight until the last innings and then suddenly turned into a rout. Now the team that was among the last four invited to the 64-team NCAA Baseball Tournament is one win away from being the last team standing.

“I’ve been doing this for a while and I’ve never heard or felt anything in a college baseball stadium like I did tonight,” said Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco, who has competed in the College World Series six times. over three decades as a catcher, assistant coach and head coach.

“We have an amazing atmosphere in [home stadium] Swayze Field, but today’s atmosphere was like a football match. I think half the Mississippi got together in Omaha today, and they did it hoping to see something special. The energy coming from these stands told me that they felt it was happening.”

This feeling washed over them as soon as they arrived in the city and all day on Saturday, and intensified when they arrived at the Charles Schwab field. As the gates opened and blue-powdered believers poured into the stadium, they were presented with a gift from the stadium’s title sponsor: a towel dyed in the company’s signature blue color to be waved. It was a coincidence. May be.

“No, man, it’s not a coincidence,” Tim Davis, a Memphis salesman, said as he began to twirl the towel over his head. “It’s destiny, son!”

As the game began, 25,813 spectators, overwhelmingly dressed in blue, braced themselves for Oklahoma’s powerful offense to kick in sooner than is often the case. Instead, it was Ole Miss who had two runs in the first inning and one each in the third and fourth. Everyone resigned themselves to the expectation of seeing Oklahoma’s gigantic paper advantage with Jake Bennett’s ace on the hill on a week’s rest. Instead, it was Ole Miss reliever Jack Dougherty, making his first start since March, who threw five pitches of perfect baseball and, paired with real freshman Mason Nichols and sophomore Josh Mallitz, not only won the game, but also helped push the reset button on the Rebel rotation. with postseason ace Hunter Elliott ready to go Sunday afternoon after five days off.

“I know one game at a time is a sports cliché,” Elko said. “But that’s how you do it.”

The fifth-year senior won 4 out of 5, marking the first four-hit MCWS final game since 2009. eighth, the first team to do so since LSU in 1998, and the only one to do so at Charles Schwab Field since it opened and the series began in 2011.

It was an impressive, unexpected, mind-boggling performance, highlighted by the de facto home crowd and highlighted by the fact that since the 2003 MCWS finals reverted to a best-of-three format, 11 of the 18 title-winning teams jumped to the start 1 -0.

But history doesn’t really matter to these Suners.

“I’m glad it happened…”

What to expect?

“We’re going to learn from our lesson,” Oklahoma first baseman Blake Robertson said, the sophomore blushing heavily as he answered post-game questions about the loss and his 1-of-4 performance.

“We’ve been doing this all season. Take care of Florida in Florida. [during the NCAA Gainesville Regional]. Went to them at Virginia Tech and took care of business. I really don’t think the home crowd is for [Ole Miss] does something. I think we really enjoy shutting the crowd down.”

Both of those victories in enemy territory came in knockout games, and when the Sooners have breakfast before Game 2 on Sunday, they’ll no doubt recall another apparently less depressing MCWS Finals statistic: Each of the last three national champions has rebounded. come back from losing game 1 to win it all.

Besides, who knows better how to avoid vans in the environment than the program that literally owns the van, Suner Schooner?

“That’s what’s great about baseball. You can play 4 out of 4, 5 out of 5, and the next day you can play 0 out of 4, 0 out of 5, and so you have to come back. and keep playing the game and learn from the lessons you learned,” said Oklahoma coach Skip Johnson, who has a lot of Omaha experience of his own after a decade as an assistant to Augie Garrido in Texas.

“We woke up this morning and had to win two games. [Sunday] morning and still need to win two games. It happens.”

Sometimes it’s really just your night. Now we see who will have only their day.