By ERIC OLSON
AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Dylan DeLucia scattered four hits in his first shutout for Mississippi, Kevin Graham’s run-scoring double in the fourth held up and the Rebels advanced to the College World Series finals 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 to reach the finals for the first time. 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 performance. DeLucia was even better than he was against Auburn in the Rebels’ Omaha opener last Saturday, commanding his fastball and effectively working his slider to both sides of the plate.
The junior right-hander struck out Chris Lanzilli to end the 2-hour, 6-minute game. DeLucia pumped his fist and flung his glove before embracing catcher Hayden Dunhurst in front of the mound.
DeLucia, who struck out seven and walked none against the Razorbacks, has pitched 16 2/3 CWS innings and has allowed one run and eight hits. He’s fanned 17 and walked none.
Noland (8-6) was nearly as good as DeLucia, allowing seven hits and striking out seven in eight innings.
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 catcher Hayden 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.
The Rebels got out of the inning when second baseman Peyton Chatagnier went far to his left to pick up Brady Slavens’ ground ball and threw him out at first.
This was the sixth time the Southeastern Conference West rivals met this season. Each team won three games, none bigger than this one.
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