DeLucia shuts out Arkansas, sends Rebels to 1st CWS finals

Jun 23, 2022, 3:39 AM | Updated: 4:43 pm
Mississippi staring pitcher Dylan DeLucia (44) throws a pitch in the first inning against Arkansas ...

Mississippi staring pitcher Dylan DeLucia (44) throws a pitch in the first inning against Arkansas during an NCAA College World Series baseball game Thursday, June 23, 2022, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/John Peterson)

(AP Photo/John Peterson)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Dylan DeLucia was really good in Mississippi’s first College World Series game.

He was great Wednesday in the biggest game, so far, in the program’s 129-year history.

DeLucia scattered four hits in his first shutout for Ole Miss, Kevin Graham’s run-scoring double in the fourth held up and the Rebels advanced to the CWS finals for the first time with a 2-0 victory over Arkansas on Thursday.

The Rebels (40-23), the last team picked for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament, bounced back from a 3-2 loss to the Razorbacks on Wednesday night. They’ll face Oklahoma in a best-of-three series that starts Saturday.

DeLucia (8-2) outdueled Connor Noland in a matchup of aces and turned in his second straight dominant CWS start.

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

DeLucia was even better than he was against Auburn in the Rebels’ Omaha opener last Saturday, showing greater command of his fastball as the game went on and effectively working his slider to both sides of the plate throughout.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen a better pitching performance in a clutch game,” team captain Tim Elko said.

DeLucia struck out Chris Lanzilli to end the 2-hour, 6-minute game. The junior right-hander pumped his fist, flung his glove and embraced catcher Hayden Dunhurst after recording the first individual shutout since Oregon State’s Kevin Abel blanked Arkansas 5-0 in the 2018 national title-clinching game.

“It’s been interesting, a 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 so well the last couple weeks and we’ve turned it on so far.”

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

“I told them after the game how proud I was of them,” he said. “I had a little trouble talking, but I told them that I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry when you finish your season in Omaha.”

DeLucia allowed four hits and one run with 10 strikeouts and no walks in the Rebels’ 5-1 win over Auburn. Working on four days’ rest against the Razorbacks (46-21), he struck out seven and walked none in a 113-pitch outing.

In 16 2/3 CWS innings, he has allowed one run, eight hits and zero walks and struck out 17.

Noland (8-6) was nearly as good as DeLucia on Thursday, giving up seven hits and striking out seven in eight innings.

“I think both pitchers, they gave it everything they had,” Van Horn said.

The Rebels broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning. Justin Bench singled past second baseman Robert Moore, moved up on a groundout and came home when Graham doubled down the right-field line.

Ole Miss’ other run came in the seventh when Calvin Harris singled into right field after Tim Elko and Graham led off with base hits. Harris was out trying to stretch his hit into a double, and Noland got an inning-ending flyout to keep it a two-run game.

The most trouble DeLucia encountered came in the seventh. He retired 18 of 19 batters before Moore, who got an extra chance when Dunhurst dropped a foul tip on what would have been strike three, chopped a slow roller to second for an infield hit. Jalen Battles then reached when shortstop Jacob Gonzalez misplayed a grounder.

Second baseman Peyton Chatagnier got the Rebels out of the inning, going far to his left to pick up Brady Slavens’ ground ball and throwing him out at first.

Bianco said he never had an urge to take out DeLucia and call on closer Brandon Johnson.

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

This was the sixth time the Southeastern Conference West rivals met this season. Arkansas won two of three at home in the regular season. Ole Miss won two of three in Omaha.

“A lot of people have the goal to be here,” Bianco said. “One of the challenges we talked about was just not to come here but to win. This isn’t like going to a bowl where years later people know you went to a bowl and nobody remembers if you won or lost. You’re supposed to win and move on.”

___

More AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Sky take No. 2 seed in playoffs after cruising past Mercury

PHOENIX (AP) — Azura Stevens scored 17 points and Chicago wrapped up the regular season with an 82-67 victory over Phoenix on Sunday. Chicago (26-10), the defending WNBA champion, had an opportunity to take the No. 1 playoff seed had Las Vegas (also 26-10) lost its regular-season finale earlier on Sunday. However, the Aces defeated […]
17 hours ago
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Jesper Horsted is tackled by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Parry Nickers...
Associated Press

Raiders move to 2-0 in preseason with 26-20 win over Vikings

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nick Mullens completed 7 of 9 passes for 94 yards and one touchdown, and the Las Vegas Raiders beat the Minnesota Vikings 26-20 on Sunday in a preseason game. The Raiders moved to 2-0 after a 27-11 win over Jacksonville last week in the Hall of Fame Game. Jarrett Stidham, who […]
17 hours ago
Will Zalatoris celebrates after defeating Sepp Straka, of Austria, in a playoff in the final round ...
Associated Press

Will Zalatoris gets 1st PGA Tour win in playoff at Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Will Zalatoris had the most money and the best world ranking of anyone without a PGA Tour victory. He changed that Sunday by winning the FedEx St. Jude Championship without making birdie in a three-hole playoff. Heartache in two previous playoff losses this year — one in a major — turned […]
17 hours ago
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tucker Davidson throws to a Minnesota Twins batter during the f...
Associated Press

Davidson earns 1st Angels win, beats slumping Twins 4-2

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels played three miserable months without getting on the type of roll they’ve hit over the past week. The surge is probably too late to save the Halos’ season, but any chance to shine means the world to Tucker Davidson and the other Angels playing for their futures. […]
17 hours ago
Kevin Harvick (4) crosses the finish line to win a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Richmond Raceway,...
Associated Press

Harvick wins again; NASCAR playoff picture remains muddled

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Kevin Harvick may be stamping himself as the man to beat in NASCAR. The 2014 series champion took the lead from Joey Logano with 66 laps to go and held off Christopher Bell at Richmond Raceway on Sunday for his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series victory. Harvick, who ended a 65-race […]
17 hours ago
Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker follows the flight of his RBI-double off Colorado Rockies st...
Associated Press

Walker 4 hits, 4 RBIs, powers Diamondbacks past Rockies 7-4

DENVER (AP) — Christian Walker had four hits, including a 460-foot homer, and drove in four runs, leading rookie Tommy Henry and the Arizona Diamondbacks over the Colorado Rockies 7-4 on Sunday. Walker hit two doubles along with his 27th home run. “I think if anything else, I can tone down my effort level because […]
17 hours ago
DeLucia shuts out Arkansas, sends Rebels to 1st CWS finals