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It was bound to get crazy in Hattiesburg on Sunday afternoon between Southern Miss and Tennessee fans. Two teams battling for a spot in the College World Series, and two fanbases battling the Mississippi heat, and each other.
It all transpired on Sunday, with both teams finishing up the first game that was postponed due to weather. After a five-hour wait on Saturday afternoon, officials finally decided to postpone the rest of the first game until Sunday. They would play the second game on Sunday as well.
Well, after taking game one, Southern Miss was one win away from a trip to Omaha. Both fan bases were sitting through a long afternoon of 100 degree heat, so tempers were bound to flare up. This is exactly what happened in the second game.
At one point in the second game, Tennessee coach Tony Vitello’s father was apparently being pelted with something, which led to security getting involved. Two parents of Tennessee players got involved, security officials looked to have ejected one parent and a Southern Miss fan.
According to a person sitting in the family section, a few minutes later the Tennessee parent came walking back into the visitors section. He was seen high-fiving other Vols fans, while the USM fan did not have the same luck.
Things only got hotter from there.
I was told by a person sitting in the stands that security officials came into the area and made themselves into a barrier between both sets of fans for a short time. The trash-talking didn’t stop there, as you would expect. There was another picture making the rounds on social media of a Tennessee fan in handcuffs, which looked like it was outside the stadium area.
I don’t know about you, but I love a spicy atmosphere in college athletics. If we’ve seen anything over the past 48 hours, Hattiesburg is bringing the heat, on and off the field. The hostility between fans is exactly what you’d expect for a berth in the College World Series.
Game Three Battle Between Vols And Golden Eagles For College World Series
In terms of what was happening on the field, Tennessee exploded in the 6th inning of the second game scoring six runs. After adding two more runs in the 5th, Tennessee never looked back and won 8-4, forcing game three.
But, thanks to ESPN, both teams had to wait until late Sunday night to figure out what time they’d be playing today. By 10:50 ET, the network had not made a call on the game time. The NBA Finals also being played Monday night on ABC should’ve made this decision pretty easy, but the network wanted to wait.
The NCAA announced at 12:21 a.m. ET Monday that both teams would square-off at 6 p.m. ET Monday night on ESPN2. Now, according to a report, the game will not start until 9 p.m. ET but we’re still waiting on official word from NCAA.
Don’t forget, rain halted Saturday’s game and there’s a 70% chance of rain today in Hattiesburg, through the evening. But, ESPN is only looking out for itself, so officials from both schools were left waiting, almost six hours after the second game ended.
If the past two games are any indication of what we’re going to get today, buckle up. A raucous atmosphere will await the Vols, with Southern Miss fans packing out the stadium over the past two days. It all comes down to one game. Will this be the last outing for Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry? He will retire after the final game of the season, so this adds another element to the game.
As for Tennessee, they’re back in the same spot as the 2022 season. I think everyone remembers last year’s team that made headlines every weekend, but were beaten in the Super Regionals by Notre Dame to end their season. Now, Tony Vitello and the Vols have another shot at the College World Series, in game three of the Super Regional.
One thing is for certain, fireworks should be popping on Monday with so much on the line.