Ole Miss

Ole Miss enters SEC Tournament with hosting hopes alive

COURTESY JOSHUA McCOY/OLE MISS 
 Ole Miss shortstop Errol Robinson is hitting .273 for the Rebels as they prepare to open the SEC Tournament on Tuesday in Hoover, Ala., against Georgia. Ole Miss took two of three in Athens, Ga., in early May.
COURTESY JOSHUA McCOY/OLE MISS Ole Miss shortstop Errol Robinson is hitting .273 for the Rebels as they prepare to open the SEC Tournament on Tuesday in Hoover, Ala., against Georgia. Ole Miss took two of three in Athens, Ga., in early May.

HOOVER, Ala. -- Something in the air grabbed Errol Robinson's attention when leaving College Station, Texas Saturday afternoon.

Then-No. 7 Ole Miss had just used pitching and defense to knock off No. 2 Texas A&M. The win allowed Ole Miss to avoid being swept out of Blue Bell Park, but more importantly, it kept alive some lofty postseason goals.

"I smell an Oxford Regional. Y'all smell what the boys are cookin' up?" wrote Robinson, the Rebels' junior shortstop, on Twitter minutes after the 3-2 win.

Ole Miss (40-16, 18-12 SEC) was projected fifth in the SEC Western Division in the coaches' preseason poll.

The Rebels finished fourth in the West and will be the No. 7 seed Tuesday against 10 seed Georgia (27-29, 11-19) in the SEC tournament. First pitch is approximately 1 p.m. Tuesday's loser is eliminated, while the winner advances to the double-elimination portion of the tournament.

Ole Miss carries a No. 6 RPI ranking into postseason, its resume strengthened by series wins over RPI No. 1 Louisville and No. 9 LSU.

Those are the numbers that make Robinson confident in not only a home regional but a national seed as well.

"Going into the weekend the national seed was always the goal," Robinson said. "Coming off two hard losses Thursday and Friday was tough for us, but bouncing back, getting the Saturday win and getting the 40th win of the season makes us a really good contender absolutely for hosting a regional but also for being a national seed."

Regional host sites will be announced Sunday. National seeds and the remainder of the 64-team field will be announced the following day.

The regular season resume is strong, but a successful SEC tournament could strengthen the national seed argument.

Ole Miss was 0-1 in Hoover last year and has not won more than one SEC tournament game since 2010.

Ole Miss is seeking to host a regional for the seventh time, all under coach Mike Bianco.

The Rebels' 40 regular season wins ties a school record set previously in 2005, 2009 and 2014.

The Rebels are hoping their strong RPI will off-set their No. 7 finish in the overall standings. LSU has the same NCAA tournament goals and finished a game ahead of Ole Miss, but the Rebels took the series head-to-head.

Bianco thinks his team has done enough to host a regional.

"I'd like to think so. When you look at years past and how the committee selects teams our resume is about as good as it's ever been. I'm just proud of our guys. We'll find out what the committee says, but I certainly think our guys are deserving."

About UGA

Ole Miss took two of three games from Georgia in early May. After winning 6-4 and 7-3, UGA avoided the sweep with a 13-2 win.

Georgia will send RHP Heath Holder (4-4, 3.34 ERA) against RHP Brady Bramlett (7-3, 3.19).

Holder earned the win against Ole Miss on May 8, allowing one run in seven innings while striking out seven. He had a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Bramlett struggled against the Dawgs, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks in four innings.

  Comments