After a dramatic and stressful Oxford Regional Game 7, Ole Miss slipped past Southern Miss and moved on to the Super Regionals. The Rebels have already touched down in sweltering hot Tucson, Arizona where they are scheduled to start a best-of-3 series with the Arizona Wildcats on Friday. Despite their top 5 ranking in the eyes of the NCAA Committee, the Wildcats are on upset alert.
Ole Miss can swing the bat just about as good as anybody in the SEC, the country’s toughest conference. Arizona, on the other hand, also features a high-flying offense. The Wildcats do not hit as many homeruns as the Rebels do, in part because of their extra-large ballpark, but they do find a way to get on base while recording plenty of doubles and leading the nation in triples.
The pitching for Arizona is their downfall. Just like Ole Miss, they only have 2 reliable starters in their rotation. Neither of those two starters, however, can hold a candle to Doug Nikhazy. Their Saturday night guy tends to be more successful than their Friday night guy anyway, so Ole Miss could win Doug Day and drop Game 2. At that point, the whole season for both teams will be on the line in a winner-take-all Game 3.
If the Rebels pitch the way they did during the SEC Tournament, they should be headed to Omaha. If Ole Miss arms (and bats for that matter) struggle the way they did in Oxford last weekend, they could be coming home early.
All eyes are on Doug Nikhazy as he tries to add another memorable performance to an already illustrious pitching career. After hopefully winning on Doug Day, Ole Miss will just need to deliver a final blow to the Wildcats in one of the final two games. Ole Miss has won weekend series and games against tougher competition this season, but with a two-decade history of underperforming in the postseason (with the exception of 2014), nobody would be surprised if the Rebs let this opportunity get away from them.