OMAHA, Neb. — Championship Shot. It’s so close. For example, like a tag/untag super slow motion HD replay on second base in a one pass game that needs to be watched for five minutes. Such closeness.

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Over the course of five and a half days, eleven games of the Men’s College World Series created the entire drama of the CoComelon Marathon. The average margin from victory was 6.5 runs. Teams played. The teams won. The teams lost. The teams have moved on. The teams went home. Everything is completed by the middle of the innings, game after game.

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But in Game 12 on Wednesday night, the de facto national semi-finals, Arkansas and Ole Miss made it 3-2 in a contest that was punctuated by a series of good shots, bad shots, web pearls, well-timed explosions in the gap. and the longest homer ever to take off from the Charles Schwab field. Then, just in the ninth inning, there were outs with loaded bases, the boys slammed into each other on a decisive short flyball, a grounder in the hole that looked like the end of the game but instead ran a running run followed by a potential winning line drive that instead became the game’s final line-out. And oh yes, they also had that great mid-game review in the second.

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“Well, you all said we needed more drama on this show, and here it is,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said after the loss. A win would take his team to the first final of the College World Series. “I know you and the baseball fans wanted a close win. But I think I’d rather have one more of those big wins!”

“Yeah, it was very close,” added Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn, speaking of the Ole Miss rally that scored late in ninth and ended with the bases loaded for four consecutive bats. “Too close for comfort.”

Finally, a close game. Now, the flagship schools of the two states that are so close to each other will once again find themselves in close contact with a Game 13 (4:00 pm ET, Sportzshala2 and Sportzshala App) elimination rematch in which they both are very close to facing Oklahoma in a best-of-three championship series this weekend.

Cliché: “So close you can taste it.” These two teams know this taste all too well.

Van Horn’s entire career, a Hall of Fame resume by any measure, was ultimately a story of intimacy, a long-term sequence of standing on the edge of a national title abyss only to have it slip away, sometimes literally. He became a folk hero in the show state, leading the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Omaha in the 2001-02 seasons before moving to Arkansas. It’s his seventh trip to the College World Series with the Razorbacks and their second-place finish in 2018, a game and title shot that vanished with a misplayed ball, a moment that has become to collegiate baseball what a crashed ski jumper has become. The wide world of ABC sports. Agony of defeat. Then last year, the Razorbacks were the No. 1 team in the nation and lost in the Super Regional at home to the upstart North Carolina State.

Ole Miss never had a shot like that. This is his sixth appearance in the Men’s College World Series and only his second since 1972. The Rebels came here this year with five MCWS wins. Is always. Until this week, they had not been 2-0 in a series since 1956. But in early spring 2022, they were #1 in the country and then disappeared. They had injuries. They lost weekend streak after weekend streak in cage game, i.e. SEC baseball, at one point falling to 7-14 in the conference. They went one and made it into the SEC tournament. However, they next lost the game on Wednesday night, posting a perfect 7-0 record in the playoffs before their rally fell short against Arkansas.

But wait, where is the intimacy in all this?

Wednesday night’s loss was Mississippi’s 13th game of the season decided by two or fewer runs. It was the 19th for Arkansas. As if that wasn’t close enough already (the season streak was 3-2 to Ole Miss), Arkansas is even close when it comes to the number of close games it has to close.

“During the year we had so many close games and so many knockout games. [four] just this month, with your back against the wall, it’s okay for us now,” Brady Slavens explained to Razorbacks DH, he set a record 436-foot homer dead center in the fifth inning. “No one will have to coach us or teach us how to prepare for the big, close game. We’ve been there and done it a lot.”

But they’ve never been here and never did, winning the national championship in the Men’s College World Series. None of the programs succeeded in 150 seasons of trying. So, isn’t there stress in being so, well, close?

Bianco said no. “Woe to us, right? Now we have another chance to win a game that will give us a chance to play for the national title. We all play this game and practice this game with the goal and the dream of such chances. Now it’s right here, right in front of us. Both teams.”

The coach in his 22nd season at Ole Miss chuckled, apparently realizing that he was directly leaning on the subject of the sportswriter.

Yes, it’s so close.