All these years

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 14, 2014

It’s the dream of every player involved with collegiate baseball to play in the College World Series.

Picayune’s Braxton Lee is currently living that dream.

Lee and his Ole Miss Rebels are one of just eight teams left standing as the 2014 College World Series begins today.

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Ole Miss takes on number three national seed Virginia Sunday night at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN 2.The Rebels are back in the event for the first time in 42 years.

“I knew as soon as everyone got here this fall that this team was special.,” Lee, who bates lead-off and plays leftfield, said. “It’s like we are all on an all time high just being the first team to win a super regional in however many years it has been. It’s an amazing feeling.”

The Rebels were on the verge of being the first team in history to play in five Super Regionals and yet never make it to the College World Series. But after dropping the opening game to host Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend, the Rebels rallied to take games two and three in the best of three series.

One of those four teams over the past decade or so that kept Ole Miss out of the ultimate event in collegiate baseball by knocking them off in the Super Regional was Virginia.

“Nothing we’ve done in the past in regards to Ole Miss factors in at all to Sunday night,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said.

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco will start Chris Ellis (10-2, 2.45) Sunday night, despite a bitof a rough outing in the only loss over the weekend to the Ragin’ Cajuns.

“He’s been our ace all year long.” Bianco added. “It doesn’t make sense to change the rotation at this point.”

O’Connor said Nathan Kirby will start on Sunday.

Virginia also lost its first game in the Super Regional against Maryland last weekend, before rebounding to knock off the Terps in games two and three including an 11-2 win Monday.

Monday night’s 13-hit rout culminated a weekend comeback for Virginia. The win boosted Virginia’s record to 3-1 in deciding games of Super Regionals.

The Ole Miss bullpen has been solid in the postseason. Scott Weathersby and Josh Laxer came up huge for the Rebels in the supers. Aaron Greenwood and Preston Tarkington also have sub 2.00 ERAs in their 39 combined appearances.

Christian Trent (9-0, 2.21) is expected to start game two on Tuesday for Ole Miss.

Not only are the Cavs the top-ranked seed remaining, they have three first-round draft picks in Nick Howard (19th overall), Derek Fisher (37th) and Mike Papi (38th).