DeLucia Shuts Out Arkansas, Sends Rebels to 1st CWS Finals | Sports News

By Eric Olson, sports writer for the Associated Press

Omaha, neb. (AP) — Dylan DeLucia did really well at the first College World series game from Mississippi.

He had a great Wednesday in the biggest game, so far, in the show’s 129-year history.

DeLucia split a four-stroke in his first close with the Ole Miss, and Kevin Graham’s scoring double in the fourth inning, the Rebels advanced to the CWS Finals for the first time with a 2-0 win over Arkansas on Thursday.

The Rebels (40-23), the last team selected for a big show in the NCAA Championship, bounced back from a 3-2 loss to the Razorbacks on Wednesday night. They will face Oklahoma in the top three series starting on Saturday.

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DeLucia (8-2) outmaneuvered Conor Noland in a match from an aces and turned on his second straight start to CWS dominant.

“Just a legendary performance,” said Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco.

DeLucia was even better than he did against Auburn in last Saturday’s Omaha Rebel opener, showing more control of the fastball as the game went on and the slider working effectively on both sides of the board throughout.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen better shooting performance in the clutch match,” said captain Tim Elko.

DeLucia hit Chris Lanzelli to end the match that lasted 2 hours and 6 minutes. The little right-hander raised his fist, threw his glove and hugged catcher Hayden Dunhurst after scoring his first singles close since Kevin Abel of Oregon beat Arkansas 5-0 in the 2018 national title playoff.

It was a fun, fun ride,” DeLucia said. “Coach B says enjoy the ride. That’s what I’ve been doing, taking every chance I get. This team has played really well in the last two weeks and we’ve run it so far.”

The loss ended the Razorbacks’ seventh CWS appearance since 2004 under Dave Van Horn.

“I told them after the match how proud I was of them,” he said. “I was finding it hard to talk, but I told them I wouldn’t cry. I won’t cry when you finish your season in Omaha.”

DeLucia allowed four strokes and one run with 10 strokes and didn’t walk in Rebels’ 5-1 win over Auburn. He worked out a four-day break against the Razorbacks (46-21), hit seven and didn’t walk a 113-pitch outing.

In Round 16 2/3 CWS, he allowed one run, eight hits, zero walk and 17 hits.

Noland (8-6) was just as good as DeLucia on Thursday, giving up seven strokes and notching seven times in eight rounds.

“I think both shooters, they gave it their all,” Van Horn said.

The rebels broke the goalless tie in the fourth game. Justin Bench singled out Robert Moore’s second goal, hit the ground running and went home when Graham doubled down the right line.

The other round for the Ole Miss came seventh when Calvin Harris fired into the right court after Tim Elko and Graham led base strokes. Harris was trying to expand his shot to double, and Noland got the jump game in the first half to keep it a two-stage game.

DeLucia’s most trouble came in the seventh. He retired 18 of 19 hitters before Moore, who got an extra chance when Dunhurst dropped a wrong tip on what would have been a three hit, cut a slow cylinder into second for an on-court hit. Galen Battles arrived next when Jacob Gonzalez was mistaken for a hitter.

Second base officer Peyton Chatanier knocked out the Rebels from the first turn, went far to his left to pick up a globe for Brady Slavins and knocked him out at first.

Bianco said he had no desire to dump DeLucia and contact Brandon Johnson.

“There was no reason to make a move, I didn’t think,” Bianco said. “He was very good. He didn’t look like he was taxing himself. He wasn’t running the charges. He was completely in control.”

This was the sixth time that the Southeast Conference’s competitors had met this season. Arkansas won two of three at home in the regular season. Ole Miss won two out of three at Omaha.

“A lot of people have a goal to be here,” Bianco said. “One of the challenges we talked about is not coming here but winning. It’s not like going to a bowl where years later people know you went to a bowl and no one remembers if you won or lost. You are supposed to win and move forward.”

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