The Ole Miss Rebels are college baseball national champions for the first time in program history.
After holding a 7-14 conference record at the beginning of May, no one could have guessed that this Ole Miss team was about to go from the last team in to the last team standing in the NCAA Tournament.
Baseball is a game full of numbers, and plenty of numbers, good and bad, tell the story of the Rebels' 2022 season. Let's look at the five numbers that best illustrate Ole Miss' 2022 national championship run.
1. .293 Batting Average
A .293 batting average was held by Ole Miss center fielder/third baseman Justin Bench against the Murray State Racers on Tuesday, April 12. That was also the lowest batting average recorded by Bench during the entire 2022 season. Bench finished his career at Ole Miss as possibly the most consistent player to ever wear the red and blue. Even when the team was struggling, Bench continued to play at a high level at the plate and on the field. Bench's consistency throughout 2022 is a big reason why the Rebels are sitting atop the college baseball world.
2. 24 Home Runs
No player in Ole Miss baseball history has ever hit more than 22 home runs in a single season. Ole Miss first baseman Tim Elko can make that claim though, as he is now the Rebels' single-season home run king after mashing 24 home runs in 2022. The Captain broke the record in game three of the Coral Gables Regional when he hit three home runs versus the Arizona Wildcats, securing a Super Regional for Ole Miss and bringing the Rebels one step closer to the College World Series.
3. 160 runs
This is the number of runs Ole Miss scored in its last 22 games of 2022. The Rebels outscored their opponents 160-74 in their last 22 matchups, winning 18 of those games. The Rebs got really hot at the start of May and they did not cool down throughout the entire NCAA Tournament, winning 10 out of 11 games in the postseason.
4. Three Shutouts
The Ole Miss pitching staff was lights-out during the 2022 postseason. The Rebels pitched three shutout games during the NCAA Tournament thanks to performances by College World Series MVP Dylan DeLucia and southpaw freshman Hunter Elliott.
5. Two Home Runs
Ole Miss centerfielder TJ McCants hit two home runs during the Rebels' 2022 postseason run. McCants only had 19 plate appearances during the NCAA Tournament, but he made the most of those opportunities. During game two of the Hattiesburg Super Regional, McCants put the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on ice with a solo home run in the eighth inning, sending Ole Miss to Omaha, Neb., for the first time since 2014.
His second home run of the postseason is one Ole Miss fans will remember for a long time. In the top of the eighth during game one of the College World Series Finals, McCants smashed a two-score home run that ignited the Rebel dugout. Ole Miss would beat the Oklahoma Sooners 10-3 in game one of the finals before securing a national title the next day.
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