Ole Miss faced off with Florida State in the winners’ bracket Saturday evening. The Rebs were gifted enough runs to overcome a couple of mistake pitches in an otherwise flawless Doug Nikhazy outing.
Doug Nikhazy may have thrown his final pitch at Swayze Field. Barring an upset of Arizona in the Tucson Regional, Doug’s last outing at home for the Rebs was this Saturday night gem in the 2021 Regional. He pitched 7 innings and tied the Ole Miss single game record for Ks with 16 of them. He also moved past Drew Pomeranz on the single season strikeout leader board. 2 pitches from Doug’s arm were taken for a ride totalling 3 runs (2 earned) in the 5th inning. Nikhazy settled back in and struck out the next 2 batters to keep the Rebs within 1.
After 119 pitches from Nikhazy, Taylor Broadway was called on to close out the game. Broadway set down all 6 batters he faced and kept the pitch count reasonable. Broadway picked up save number 15 while Doug improved his record to 10-2 on the year.
Offensively the Rebels struggled. Kevin Graham was the only Rebel with a multi-hit game. Ole Miss was doubled up 3 separate times in the contest. Technically, the Rebels didn’t leave the bases loaded in the 6th, but they might as well have. After loading the bases with 1 out, Hayden Dunhurst struck out followed by TJ McCants being back picked at 1st.
When it seemed like the 2 runs scored in part by a fielding error in the 1st were all the Rebels were going to get, Doug’s great outing was at risk of being wasted. In the 7th, however, after a 5-4-3 twin killing neutralized the initial threat, the Seminole infield gave Ole Miss the lead back. Tim Elko actually didn’t do anything heroic in his at-bat, but when the Shortstop rushed the potential inning ending throw to 1st, the ball sailed away and allowed Jacob Gonzalez and Cade Sammons to score.
Ole Miss scored 4 runs on 4 hits, but they were gifted scoring plays by some Florida State errors. The starting pitching from the Seminoles was better than advertised, but the defense let them down. The bright lights of the NCAA Regional were too much for the Seminole infield and they are now sent to the early game on Sunday.
Ole Miss will await the winner of the early game between Florida State and Southern Miss. Whoever wins that game will have to regroup quickly for their date with the Rebs at 5 PM Central. If the Rebels win Sunday night, they are headed to the Super Regionals. If they lose, they will have 1 more chance lock up the Regional on Monday.