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And just like that, it's over.


A face of the program for the better part of four years, Tanner Mathis was one of four seniors to play their last game in an Ole Miss uniform. But he certainly leaves behind a legacy.


"It's always disappointing when it ends," head coach Mike Bianco said after Sunday's loss to William & Mary. "We've had four great seniors. One is sitting right next to me in Tanner Mathis, who had a tough beginning of the year. He played so well down the stretch in his final year."


The Lake Charles, La., native started all but one game over the the past three years and finished his career with a .326 batting average. He also ranks among the top 10 players in program history with 790 at-bats (7th), 103 walks (9th) and 164 runs scored (ninth).


"I had a great career," Mathis said. "Four great years here. I hit leadoff probably 85 percent of my career. And this is what I thought it would be. Coming to Ole Miss as a freshman not sure what to expect and ending it as a senior, it was everything I wanted my college baseball experience to be."


Mathis was drafted in the 27th round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros but turned down the offer in order to return for his senior season. He swung the bat well down the stretch as he reached base in each of the last 24 games and raised his average 59 points to finish the year with a .280 batting average.


In the Raleigh Regional, he was 6-for-12 with four runs scored. He led the team with 34 walks and 46 runs scored on the year, and ranked second with a .409 on-base percentage, while striking out just 18 times in 225 at-bats.


"He's held his head high," Bianco said of Mathis after Saturday's win against Binghamton. "A kid that comes back his senior year, it doesn't quite turn out the way he thought it was going to be, or how any of us thought it was going to be. 


"But certainly you tell how much better the offense when he's swinging and doing what he does best, and that's getting base hits and getting on base."


The other three graduating seniors on this year's team were impressive in their own right.

 

Pitcher Tanner Bailey was a regular out of the bullpen and finished with a 4-2 record, 2.74 ERA and .261 opponents' batting average in 42.2 innings. 


Third baseman Andrew Mistone was second on the team with a .317 batting average, a team-leading .330 in SEC play, and third on the team with 35 RBI.


Pitcher Brett Huber leaves as the school's all-time saves leader with 38. This year, he led all pitchers with a 1.54 ERA, to along with a 3-2 record, 12 saves and .181 opponents' batting average in 23.1 innings.


"They became some of my best friends," Mathis said of his senior teammates. "I have only known Mistone for two years, and Bailey for three. Me and Bailey actually lived together this year in a house, and me and Mistone roomed together almost every weekend. And knowing Brett for the four years I have been here, we've been through everything together."


Mathis also left with some words for the underclassmen who will return for the Rebels next year.


"And for the younger guys on the team, I just want them to soak it all in next year and remember this feeling next year whenever they're playing in a regional and super regional in Oxford," Mathis said.

Rebels React To NCAA Tournament

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