Apparently, finishing the Tech game didn’t mean enough for Ole Miss

The SEC slogan of “it just means more” apparently has taken on new meaning for the Ole Miss baseball program.

It didn’t mean enough to find a way to finish a game that Louisiana Tech was winning 5-4 in the top of the seventh inning before it was called after a weather delay and the score reverted back to the previous inning. And wouldn’t you know it? Ole Miss was winning 4-3 after the sixth. So yes, Tech lost a game in which it scored more runs than the Rebels.

It didn’t mean enough to start the game early enough to get far ahead of the predicted bad weather. Something about how it would be unfair to the Ole Miss ticket holders to move the start time up more than an hour.

It didn’t mean enough to bring out the tarp when the delay started, so as to give the game a better chance to be completed.

What it does appear is that it meant more for Ole Miss to not lose two games to Louisiana Tech.

It meant more for Ole Miss to protect the integrity of its future mid-week schedule of opponents – Jacksonville State, Alcorn State, and Arkansas Pine Bluff – than to find a way to complete the Tech game. Even though the Bulldogs offered to come over on their own dime and finish it off. Just in the month of March, there are three dates that would obviously work for both teams (even more if you don’t allow for a travel day if one of the teams is going out of town).

But let’s go back to two years ago, when Tech hammered Ole Miss 13-1 in Ruston. As for the scheduled game the next day? It meant more for Ole Miss, ranked No. 4 at the time, to come up with the good ol’ we-got-Covid excuse than to actually play the second game. So they bolted back to Oxford. Two days later, the Covid-ravaged Rebels miraculously got well enough to sweep a three-game series against Auburn.

Ole Miss offered a lot of excuses as to why what happened Wednesday in Oxford couldn’t be helped and all of them are flimsy. But the Rebels do have one thing going for them – it’s a rule.

And has been for years.

Years ago, when Billy Tubbs was the basketball coach at Oklahoma, he was asked why he backed out of coming to Ruston to play the opening game at the Thomas Assembly Center.

“Because I don’t have to,” he said.

That’s basically the same message the Rebels (metaphorically) sent to Tech: We are Ole Miss.

You’re not. 

We don’t have to.

Obviously, having a chance to win two games on the road against the defending national champions and No. 4-ranked team would be a potential season-maker for Tech. A tainted win by Ole Miss over the Bulldogs probably isn’t going to be a difference maker for the Rebels’ post-season chances.

Remember, this is a Tech program that hosted an NCAA regional two years ago. The Bulldogs are a legit Group of Five power, but those teams need as many check marks as they can get when it comes to the post-season. Maybe it makes the difference in a seed number. Or maybe hosting another regional.

To be sure, it would be best if you didn’t hold your breath waiting for another Tech-Ole Miss game. Tech felt compelled to put out a news release giving its side of the story, but it’s not going to change anything.

And the first two words from the Ole Miss Twitter account after the game? “That’s baseball!”

Can we be a little more smug?

It’s not as if Tech coach Lane Burroughs fell off the turnip truck last night. He knew the rule as well as anybody as the game was playing out under threatening conditions. He’d be the first to say “that’s baseball” if there weren’t obvious signs of some chicanery going on. Plus, it doesn’t help that Burroughs is a Mississippi native.

Yep, for Burroughs, it would have meant more. 

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