Diamond Rebels Use “Never Quit” Mentality in Sweep of Alabama
The Ole Miss baseball team is on fire! The Rebels (20-4, 6-0 SEC), winners of seven straight, rolled into Tuscaloosa on Thursday looking to show they were not only a good baseball team in the friendly confines of Swayze Field, but also a force to be reckoned with outside of Oxford, Mississippi — and that they did!
Game One: Ole Miss 9, Alabama 6
Taylor Broadway made the trip to Tuscaloosa hoping for a similar result to the one he had in Game One vs. Auburn last week when he completed the shutout and earned the save in Friday’s 1-0 win over the Tigers.
This weekend’s appearance was similar to last week’s competition when Broadway climbed the mound after three runs had been allowed in the ninth inning and the comeback-attempt by the Tide was beginning.
This time was a bit different as the Rebels found themselves down 1-3 going into the ninth.
In the final inning, Peyton “Chatty” Chatagnier stepped into the batter’s box after having a solid game of three hits with one walk and a .395 batting average. When he stepped up to the plate with T.J. McCants on base via a HBP, Chatty and the rest of the Ole Miss offense were about to take their revenge on that errant throw.
That’s when Chatagnier belted a line drive to left and just over the fence. The ball left the park so quickly that security guards tried to track it down to make sure it had paid admission. They never found the culprit, but the Rebs found six more runs in the ninth to make the score 9-3.
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) March 26, 2021
Tyler Myers entered in the bottom of the ninth, but left after giving up a three-run homer. RHP Broadway didn’t waste any time. He toed the rubber and after only 12 pitches, the victory went to the Rebels.
Game Two: Ole Miss 2, Alabama 0
Doug Nikhazy re-entered the starting rotation in the second game on Saturday against Alabama (15-9, SEC 1-5) after being held out due to a strained pectoral muscle.
Nikhazy did not miss a beat upon his return. While being limited to only 5.0 innings to ensure that he does not reinjure himself, the lefty pitched a masterful five innings while allowing only one hit and two walks, and notching seven strikeouts.
Just Doug being Doug. Seven Ks through five!
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) March 27, 2021
The Rebel relievers were tasked with protecting the lead Nikhazy left the field with, and they did not disappoint. Drew McDaniel pitched 3.0 innings allowing only three hits and tallying three strikeouts.
Now, if you were Coach Bianco, what pitcher would you call in from the bullpen to protect a two-run lead? If you didn’t say Taylor Broadway, then I can’t help you. Broadway entered the bottom of the ninth and threw 15 pitches with two strikeouts, allowing only one hit as he disposed of the Crimson Tide expeditiously.
Game 3: Ole Miss 11, Alabama 6
RHP Doc Diamond started the game and pitched six innings with an indecision, allowing six hits, three earned runs, and two walks. The really great news about his outing is that he was responsible for six strikeouts.
Bianco on Diamond settling in: "He's a great competitor. He gets frustrated sometimes. We had talked after the 2nd inning. He's got high expectations for himself. He really locked in there and made pitches."
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) March 27, 2021
It initially appeared it might be a slow-hitting day for the Rebels who were down 0-1 in the top of the fifth, but that is when the magic began!
With John Rhys Plumlee, Chatty, and KG (Kevin Graham) on base, Tim Elko stepped up to the dish and smoked a ball on a line drive that you could have hung laundry out to dry on. His RBIs were scored by John Rhys, Chatty, and KG who all came around to score. The Rebs scored in every inning from then on to sweep the University of Alabama Crimson Tide 3-0 for the year.
The Ole Miss Baseball Rebels have been able to do what was needed to win each and every game they played over the past two weeks. As head coach Mike Bianco said, “We were able to get some timely hitting.” That’s precisely what it takes to win ballgames in the SEC.
The relief pitchers are very talented, but they are young and many of them are inexperienced. All that means is that the offense has to be able to pick up the defense. That being said, mistakes by the youth in our pen should be few and far between. The veteran starters have stepped up. Gunnar, Doug, and Diamond have pitched very well throughout this young season, as have Max Cioffi, Tyler Myers, and Taylor Broadway out of the bullpen.
Coach B is pleased with where these Rebels are excelling, and he knows what they are capable of accomplishing. What is for certain is that these Diamond Rebs NEVER QUIT.
The Rebels play North Alabama on Tuesday at 4 p.m. Looking ahead, Ole Miss will visit Gainesville, Florida in an East/West showdown against the Florida Gators April 1-3.