Laxer lifts Rebs to Omaha
OLE MISS WORLD SERIES-BOUND
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 1:00 PM
The Ole Miss Rebels are headed to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. - thanks, in part, to a heroic pitching performance from former Madison Central standout Josh Laxer.
Former Madison Central, current Rebels right-hander Josh Laxer celebrates a World Series berth with teammates.
Laxer answered a call to the bullpen in the decisive third game of the Super Regional in Lafayette, La. Monday night, and inherited a two-on, two-out jam with the Rebels on top, 5-3.
The junior right-hander got a fly ball to right field to end the threat in the sixth, allowed an unearned run in the seventh after two fielding errors, and shut down the Cajuns in the eighth and ninth innings to help the Rebels to a 10-4 win and a berth in the College World Series.
After recording the final out, Laxer threw his glove in the air, dropped to his knees and started screaming.
"Every college baseball player's dream is to get that last out to go to Omaha," he told reporters. "It's really hard to put into words right now, but it is awesome."
For the former Jaguar pitcher, it was the perfect end to a whirlwind week that started with his being chosen by the Detroit Tigers with the 280th overall pick in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft.
After Monday night's game, Laxer's numbers show how essential he's been to the College World Series-bound Rebels. In 22 appearances, Laxer is 2-2 in 34 innings with a 1.32 earned run average and 40 strikeouts to just 10 walks. He limited opposing teams to a paltry .227 batting average against and allowed just 11 extra-base hits all season.
The Rebels (46-19) are making their first appearance in Omaha in 42 years.
"The road to Omaha is bumpy and windy," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "When you go, you have to have a special group. This group is certainly all of that."
One fan who plans to attend the College World Series is Madison Central director of athletics and head football coach Bobby Hall, who said he's looking forward to seeing Laxer represent his alma mater on college baseball's biggest stage.
Laxer's former high school teammate Spencer Turnbull, another right-handed pitcher, was also drafted by the Tigers last week. The Tigers selected Turnbull with the 63rd overall pick in the second round.
The talented 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior finished with a 5-7 record in 15 stars with a sizzling 2.22 earned run average and 61 strikeouts in 93.1 innings of work. He was ranked 71st on MLB.com's Top 200 list.
"Spencer has been a horse, he has taken the ball every weekend, he's never missed a start, he's never had an injury," Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard told The Tuscaloosa News earlier this week.
Long-time Jaguar baseball fans will remember that it was Laxer, Turnbull and Brock Hunt, who red-shirted this past season at Texas Tech, who provided a devastating one-two-three punch for the 2011 Madison Central baseball team, which finished the regular season 31-3.