One step closer

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 4, 2014

At least one team from the Southeastern Conference has played in the College World Series for 21 consecutive baseball seasons.

Ole Miss and Picayune’s Braxton Lee are two wins away from continuing that tradition.

The Rebels moved through their own regional unbeaten over the past few days, winning the tourney by beating Washington 3-2 Monday afternoon. Ole Miss will now travel to Louisiana-Lafayette this weekend for the best-of-three Super Regional.

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The survivor of the series between the Rebels and host Ragin’ Cajuns will move on to the College World Series.

“It’s amazing to win a regional championship my first year here and especially to win in a sweep with three straight wins,” Lee, a junior leftfielder who also bats leadoff for the Rebels, said. “I can’t believe I have been given the opportunity to play with such an awesome group of guys.”

Sikes Orvis hit a run-scoring triple in the top of the 10th inning to provide the winning run against the Huskies on Monday.

Washington (41-17-1) threw five pitchers in the game. Alex Nesbitt (0-1) took the loss.

Ole Miss scored first when freshman Colby Bortles hit a solo homer in the second. Washington responded with a run on Branden Berry’s single in the third and then pulled ahead 2-1 on Brian Wolfe’s sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Bortles doubled home a run in the sixth to tie the game 2-2. Scott Weathersby earned the win for Ole Miss. Lee had two hits in the win, as well as a key diving catch to halt a Huskie rally. He also had two hits and scored a pair of runs in a 12-2 win over Jacksonville State to open play in the tourney on Saturday. He also stole his 30th base of the season.

Ole Miss followed that with a 2-1 win over Washington on Sunday before beating the Huskies again by a run on Monday.

The stage was set for an historic match-up between Ole Miss and Mississippi State in this weekend’s Super Regional round. But Louisiana-Lafayette beat the Bulldogs two straight games to take the title in that regional.

Ryan Wilson and Matt Plitt combined on a six-hitter and Louisiana-Lafayette beat Mississippi State 5-3 on Monday night to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals for the first time since its last and only College World Series appearance in 2000.

The Ragin Cajuns scored four runs in the third inning to take a lead they would never relinquish.

Mississippi State (39-24) got to within a run with RBI singles by C.T. Bradford and Brett Pirtle to make it 4-3 in the seventh.

ULL (57-8) added an insurance run in the ninth on Blake Trahan’s RBI single.

“We were down 4-0 early and the kids showed a lot of composure in fighting back,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “We had a tough time keeping the game in front of us in the third inning. Lafayette is a very good club. You have to beat them the way we did in the second half of that game. We walked seven during the course of the game. That was the whole ballgame. We have to play clean games to win championships. That is how we are built. Baseball is a game of inches and it certainly was there in the third inning.”