2022 Super Regional Predictions

Photo courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics

SM2 Sports Director Austin Lindsey: Southern Miss in 3

If you’ve watched an adored Southern Miss over the years, you couldn’t ask for a better story than a Super Regional from the rivals upstate-Ole Miss. 

The energy will be as electric as the LSU battles in the Hattiesburg Regional last week, but only the stakes are higher with a trip to Omaha on the line and bragging rights as the best in the state on the diamond.

The Ole Miss Rebels’ season has been one of highs and lows. Many would agree they have no part of even making the Tournament, but here they are catching fire at the right time. 

Last week, Ole Miss impressively eliminated Arizona 22-6 to match with Southern Miss. The Rebels crushed the Coral Gables Regional by sweeping their three matchups with two wins against Arizona for a combined score of 29-10 and a 2-1 victory versus Miami. 

In the regional, Ole Miss avenged its departure from last year’s Super Regional at the hands of the Wildcats of Arizona and now stands on the other side of the fence as the Golden Eagles itch to grasp redemption.

The Golden Eagles have not forgotten its 12-9 loss in the Oxford regional last season, as countless players have brought up how it still lingers.

It seems cliche, but the Golden Eagles have wanted this moment all season and are ready to defend Pete Taylor Park. 

The Golden Eagles have made it to this point on its dominant pitching, and the Rebels have yet to face the Golden Eagles’ three-star lineup on the mound in Tanner Hall, Hurston Waldrep and Hunter Riggins. 

Ole Miss hasn’t seen this talented of a bullpen since facing the Vols of Tennessee, who swept the Rebels in March.

I believe the series goes to three games in the second instant classic series of the month for the Golden Eagles, whose bullpen just shut down the second-best ball-hitting club in the SEC. 

Game One: Southern Miss loses with Hurston Waldrep starting on the mound for Southern Miss as Waldrep is 0-2 in the postseason, not starting on the third day as he regularly was for the season.

I see this continuing against a red-hot batting club in the postseason though I think he pitches fairly well in a close game.

Game Two: Tanner Hall delivers as Southern Miss settles down in the Super with its back against the wall. The Golden Eagles found ways to win in a similar situation last week and will get it done here too.

Game Three: Hunter Riggins will be too much for the Rebels to handle as he is a guy who can pitch well deep into a match, navigating innings by keeping his pitch count low. 

Riggins did this against a tremendous ball-hitting club in Kennesaw State in an elimination match to give his team a shot at winning. Riggins pitched for nine innings allowing one earned run on three runs and seven hits for six strikeouts. 

There is no doubt this goes to a game three because what would be a matchup of this magnitude without it. There will be huge adjustments between games one and two as both are learning each other’s pitching staff. 

I only give the slight edge to Southern Miss due to its ability to find a way to win in its last three matchups in a nail-biting regional and the home-field advantage.

A study done in 2018 by the NCAA showed that teams that hosted the Super Regional have a 66% chance to advance to the College World Series. 

Koby Moore: Southern Miss in 3

After a hard-fought regional in Hattiesburg that included three matchups with LSU, Southern Miss came out as winners and has moved on to their first Super Regional since 2009. This will be their first time hosting it after the Miami Hurricanes lost in the Coral Gables regional. 

Southern Miss has the advantage in this series with their pitching. In both of their games against Ole Miss during the season, none of their starting pitchers who we will see this weekend pitched against Ole Miss. That should be an advantage because their bullpen pitched those games with solid performances, especially from Chandler Best. 

If Southern Miss wants to win this series and head to Omaha, pitching will be a key, especially their closing pitching. 

The game against LSU they lost came when the Golden Eagles had two outs and could not close out the Tigers.

Also, hitting and scoring early will be crucial for the Golden Eagles.It worked out for them in the Hattiesburg regional, and they’re going to have to do it again, not only from guys like Christopher Sargent and Danny Lynch but the rest of their lineup.

Ole Miss’ bullpen had a strong performance in the Coral Gables regional with 12.1 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 23 K’s, and 3 BBs, so this will be more of a challenge for the Golden Eagles. 

The Golden Eagles’ pitching will also have to watch out for Tim Elko and Peyton Chatagnier. They posted strong outings in the Coral Gables, especially Elko’s three home runs in the deciding game against Arizona.

My prediction for this regional is that it will be another three-game series for Southern Miss, but the Golden Eagles will be the winner of this Super Regional. 

It simply won’t be an easy path to Omaha. Ole Miss will take the first game, and then the Golden Eagles will have to fight back to take the series- a spot in which they showed they are confident. 

Both Southern Miss and Ole Miss are 1-1 in their season, and this one’ rubber series’ is for all the marbles and a trip to Omaha.

Dima Mixon: Southern Miss in 2

Southern Miss has responded well under pressure this season; this weekend, the pressure is at an all-time high. 

Southern Miss hosting Ole Miss for a spot in Omaha couldn’t be any juicier.

Ole Miss is coming off a 3-0 showing in Miami’s Coral Gables regional. The game everyone keeps pointing to is the 22-6 victory over Arizona in the regional final. 

I think this has made the lineup seem better than it is. Sure, Southern Miss will have to deal with Tim Elko, Jacob Gonzalez and Peyton Chatagnier, but they have already dealt with those lineups before this season with their bullpen.

If you look at the numbers, Southern Miss leads Ole Miss in batting average, believe it or not- Ole Miss BA: .278, Southern Miss BA: .281. 

This is something to note, especially since Southern Miss has a heavy pitch advantage. 

Ole Miss hasn’t seen anything like Hurston Waldrep, Tanner Hall and Hunter Riggins, not to mention the bullpen will be at full strength. Southern Miss pitchers at full force are when they are the most dangerous. 

I think whoever wins the first game will win the series on Sunday. I think on Saturday, Waldrep and the pitching staff will be too much for Ole Miss to handle. Christopher Sargent and Danny Lynch keep doing what they have been doing, and Southern Miss takes game one. This means Southern Miss will go to Omaha after a win on Sunday.

Jackson Howell: Southern Miss in 3

Southern Miss and Ole Miss met twice in the regular season – once in Pearl and once in Hattiesburg – and both won a game apiece. They were both midweek contests, so neither team got a legitimate look at the other’s starting pitching except for Derek Diamond. Diamond started the game for the Rebels in Pearl with a below-average performance.

Diamond has been the Sunday starter for the Rebels since April, but he has struggled mightily in his last three starts with 13 earned runs over his last 11.1 innings pitched. This is likely why Ole Miss has decided against announcing a Game 3 starter. Dylan DeLucia (5-2, 4.68 ERA) will take Game 1 and Hunter Elliot (3-3, 3.17 ERA) will take Game 2. Elliot was just named a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball.

Southern Miss has announced its pitching rotation for the weekend, and they are the usual suspects in a different order. Hurston Waldrep (6-1, 2.96 ERA) – typically the Sunday starter – will start Game 1, followed by typical Friday starter Tanner Hall (9-2, 2.60 ERA) and typical Saturday starter Hunter Riggins (8-4, 2.59 ERA) taking Game 3. Waldrep has been the Game 2 starter throughout the postseason, and he will pitch Saturday since Hall pitched in two different games in the Hattiesburg Regional.

Although Southern Miss certainly has the pitching advantage, Ole Miss has been led by their pitching so far in the postseason. They gave up four runs to Arizona in Game 1 of the Coral Gables Regional and won a pitchers’ duel 2-1 over host Miami. Pitching did not matter in the Coral Gables final as the Rebels scored 22 runs. 

The main offensive weapon for the Rebels is Tim Elko, who batted a ridiculous .788 average with three home runs and seven RBIs. The Golden Eagles were able to neutralize Elko in their first two meetings as Elko went a combined 1-8 with five strikeouts. Other offensive leaders include Justin Bench (.311 average and 68 hits) and Peyton Chatagnier who has a .254 average on the season but batted .583 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in the Coral Gables Regional.

Experience weighs heavily in favor of Ole Miss as this marks their third-straight Super Regional appearance. This is only the second time in school history Southern Miss has made it this far. The Golden Eagles advanced to its only College World Series appearance the last time they were in a Super Regional. Will history repeat itself?

PREDICTION

Game 1: I believe wholeheartedly that this series will make it to a Game 3. Southern Miss has been better on the season, but it is impossible to discount Ole Miss’performance in the Regionals. The Rebels will likely win Game 1 going against Waldrep who has delivered solid performances his last two outings but has not lasted long into the game. This will give the Rebels an opportunity to strike, and I believe they will take Game 1 in the later innings.

Game 2: Hall gets the ball for Game 2 and I believe he will shut down the Rebels’ offense. He was given an extra day of rest after pitching two games in the Hattiesburg Regional, so he will be ready to go here. Hall shows up in big moments, and this time will be no different.

Game 3: It all comes down to Game 3. Riggins has been phenomenal this postseason as he pitched a shutout against FAU and pitched a complete game against Kennesaw State. He is as reliable as they come for a 3rd pitcher. Ole Miss does not have many options that can match Riggins, so I believe the Golden Eagles will take Game 3 and advance to its second-ever College World Series in Omaha. 

It will be a great atmosphere at Pete Taylor Park starting today at 3 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPNU.