In a seemingly up and down, cinderella type season, the Ole Miss Rebels took advantage of first game jitters and ended up with a one game advantage after Saturday night. The Ole Miss Rebels could win the Men’s College World Series Championship with a victory today. Before we get to that, a look at some interesting storylines from Game One.
Tim Elko Magic
The Tim Elko Magic continues. This guy is electric. He seems to be in the right place at the right time for his team every single year even if he has to do amazing feats on one less ACL than everyone else (see: last year).
In this game, Elko started off the Ole Miss Rebels’ onslaught with a simple first inning single which he eventually came around to score on. Elko is the undisputed captain of this team and he showed it last night. Being a captain does not mean always coming through performance wise. Obviously it means navigating different personalities and working through the storming, norming, forming phases of building a team. However, being a captain does mean coming through in the biggest moments. Elko never disappoints when those moments appear for him.
The 6’4” first basemen came back for Oxford, Mississippi for a fifth season even though he could have taken his chances on a professional career. His overall statistics have suffered a bit but he has shown more power this year than in years past. Elko deserves a national championship and so do the Rebels.
Lights Out Ole Miss Bullpen
Over the course of the College World Series, the Rebels have had a stellar bullpen. Their bullpen consists of guys who are lights out, who can do the dirty work, who will throw multiple innings and who will do whatever is asked of them. Last night in Game One of the College World Series was no different. The Rebels starter went a stellar five innings only surrendering two runs to a very dangerous Oklahoma Sooners offense.
The bullpen knew they needed to deliver four innings and they did just that. Despite a two run blemish on pitch Josh Mallitz’ line, the Rebels came out on top with the crucial Game One win. In every College World Series, an above average bullpen is a must unless your team can deliver three or four aces. Giving up two runs is not a huge deal given the lead the Rebels maintained and the type of offense Oklahoma has shown all year.
In other words, you just need a bullpen that does it’s job and the Rebels keep it simple by focusing on just that. They were a key part to victory in Game One of the College World Series and will need to be an integral part of Game Two of the College World Series.
Oklahoma Sooner Bullpen Failure
As mentioned above, a teams bullpen must be able to shut down opposing offenses in the College World Series. Failure to do so is a recipe for disaster and Game One proved this theory. The Sooners were unable to stop the Ole Miss Rebels’ offense throughout the entirety of the game. From the Sooners ace Jake Bennett to other parts of the bullpen, the Sooners pitching staff had a rough day.
The lefty starter surrendered four runs on seven hits and lasted an impressive 6 1/3 innings. Once he handed the ball off, the wheels fell off. In 2 2/3 innings, the Oklahoma Sooners bullpen surrendered six runs on only three hits and only struck out two Rebel batters. Not enough.
First off, bad defense is going to sink any ship attempting to win a College World Series. Bad defense is evident in a line that shows six runs on only three hits. Second, only striking out two batters in about three innings is too much bat on barrel for a team to possibly survive.
Either way, both teams have another chance today. Ole Miss has a chance to win a College World Series Championship and the Oklahoma Sooners have an opportunity to give themselves a shot at winning the entire thing.