Mon Jun 04 10:14am EDT
It's been three years and three days since Ole Miss was last in this situation.
Dropping a game to get to the super regional round of the NCAA Tournament and having to win an if-necessary contest a night later to continue the season. This time, it's the Rebels against TCU in College Station, Texas. The Horned Frogs knocked out host Texas A&M Sunday afternoon and kept the Rebels quiet in a 5-2 win Sunday night. The final game of the regional begins at 6:35 p.m on Monday.
Ole Miss hasn't announced a starter, but ace Bobby Wahl, who threw 118 pitches on Friday, is available in some capacity. It's unfair -- to say the least -- to expect Wahl to duplicate Drew Pomeranz from 2009, but it is a good time to look back at that incredible night.
That time, three years ago, it was Pomeranz becoming an Ole Miss legend. The host Rebels blew a six-run, eighth-inning lead against Western Kentucky in the first chance to clinch the regional, and UM coach Mike Bianco handed Pomeranz the ball that Monday night. Three days after throwing 109 pitches in a shutout of Monmouth, the left-hander tossed a 118-pitch complete game with 16 strikeouts. Ole Miss beat the Hilltoppers, 4-1, as Pomeranz allowed just two hits.
It was the most well-pitched game I've ever seen in person. Against a really good offensive club, Pomeranz put the Rebels on his 6-foot-5 frame and willed them to the win. I mostly remember the DRRREEEWWWW cheers after each strikeout -- all 16 of them. It was cool because the people in attendance could feel something special happening as it moved along. What started as "Can he give Ole Miss four or five innings" turned into a helpless bunch of Hilltoppers.
Here was our coverage from that night in June 2009:
That night was anything but normal. It was memorable and special.
FIRST ROUND FOR THREE OLE MISS SIGNEES?: The Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft begins at 6 p.m. (CT) on MLB Network, and three Ole Miss signees are potentially first round picks.
Lake Charles (Barbe), La., shortstop Gavin Cecchini is in New York for the event tonight. He was invited by MLB Network to join the festivities. He was even in attendance for Johan Santana's no-hitter the other night. Cecchini has long been the likely first Rebel off the board. The Blue Jays and Cardinals are possible destinations, and the possibility of him not coming to terms with a professional franchise is next to zero.
The one that will likely hurt for Ole Miss is Edmond (Santa Fe), Okla., right-hander Ty Hensley. I was guilty of providing the Ole Miss fan base hope when it came to the two-way star, but he's rocketed up draft boards and industry scuttlebutt says his signability won't be an issue. What's he's looking for and the expected slot value will be in the same ballpark.
The Dodgers have been linked to Hensley for a while now by experts, while the Giants and Rays are also early possibilities. It's unlikely he tumbles out of the top round.
Scott (Acadiana), La., catcher Stryker Trahan is the one to watch if you're looking for the most likely possibility to slide down the draft board. The left-handed hitting speedster has elite tools, but that hasn't produced stats yet, and some teams doubt his ability to stay behind the plate at the advanced levels -- perhaps having to switch to the outfield.
The Cardinals or Rays are ones to watch, but it wouldn't be a shocker if Trahan slid out of the top round. Opinions are pretty mixed on when he should be selected.
Here's a refresher on the changes to the Draft after the recent collective bargaining agreement.
The Draft has been reduced from 50 round to 40 rounds. This helps Ole Miss with guys like Tanner Mathis, who could jump at a late-round offer.
Each team gets a budget for the first 10 rounds of the Draft -- with the total budget the sum of the slot recommendations of all of a team's picks in the top 10 rounds. They can pay whatever to each individual pick inside the top 10 rounds, but the overall total has to be at or under budget by the end of the 10th round to avoid penalties.
If a team fails to sign a player in the first 10 rounds, budget is reduced by the assigned value of his pick. It can't reallocate that value to sign other players. However, it can reallocate the difference between a player's bonus and the value of his choice. This is why I say is a player is taken in the first round, the drama is over. He's signing. Teams aren't going to lose the highest number out of its budget.
After the 10th round, the max amount a player can sign for without penalty is $100,000. If a team gives a player above that after the 10th round, the excess either comes out of the budget of the first 10 rounds or the team will have to pay a luxury tax and possibly lose future picks.
Not only has the signing deadline moved from Aug. 15 to mid-July, it will be at 5 p.m. rather than midnight ET. The 2012 deadline is July 13. We'll know quickly, in other words.
Teams get an extra year of protection for compensation picks for failure to sign draftees from the first three rounds. For example, the Blue Jays get the 22nd pick in 2012 after not signing No. 21 overall choice Tyler Beede in 2011. If Toronto can't come to terms with the compensation selection, it would get another one in 2013.
While the new CBA helps colleges get players to campus who are drafted, the elite players will likely still sign because of lofty slot values to the top 50 or so picks. Here are the slot values for tonight's Draft. Again, a team can pay more or less than these numbers, but it can't exceed its budget for the top 10 rounds without penalty.
|PICK #||TEAM||PCT. OF # 1||VALUE|