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No. 3 Ole Miss takes two from Alabama to win series, goes for sweep Saturday

No. 3 Ole Miss takes two from Alabama to win series, goes for sweep Saturday

Ole Miss will go for the series sweep Saturday.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Severe weather throughout the state of Alabama prohibited the Ole Miss vs. Alabama baseball series from starting on Thursday as scheduled. Instead, to paraphrase the immortal Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks, Friday proved to be “a great day for baseball. Let’s play two!”

Game 1 – Ole Miss 9, Alabama 6

“Oh What a Ninth!”

Entering the ninth inning, the Rebels trailed 3-1 with all of the runs having come as a result of solo home runs.

Ole Miss started things off in the second inning with a lead-off homer off the bat of catcher Hayden Dunhurst, his fourth long ball of the year.

Unfortunately, the lead would not last as Alabama powered two home runs in the third inning and one in the sixth.

But, oh, what a ninth! 

The Red and Blue would score early and often in the final frame.  T.J. McCants led off the inning by reaching base via a hit by pitch.

Peyton Chatagnier would then tie the game with a two-run home run to left field. 

Chatagnier recorded four hits in five at-bats and walked once in Game One. “He (Alabama pitcher) left an off-speed pitch up,” Chatagnier said of his game-tying hit.

“He gave our team a big spark,” Bianco said of his second baseman Chatagnier. 

The ninth-inning fireworks continued as Jacob Gonzalez walked and Kevin Graham singled. Tim Elko then followed with an RBI-double down the right field line.

Dunhurst singled up the middle, scoring Graham and Elko. A Justin Bench single then moved Dunhurst to third base. Bench went 2-for-4 in Game One.

The inning continued as Hayden Leatherwood then doubled home Dunhurst and Bench. Pinch runner Cade Sammons scored on a McCants ground out to the first baseman after being moved to third on a ground out by Calvin Harris.

In total, the Rebs plated eight in an exciting final frame.

In relief, Tyler Myers earned the win to improve to 2-0. Closer Taylor Broadway recorded the final two outs and notched his fifth save of the season.

Starter Gunnar Hoglund pitched six innings, fanned 10 Alabama hitters and did not factor into the decision.

Game 2 – Ole Miss 2, Alabama 0

Doug Day is BACK!

The long-anticipated return of pitcher Doug Nikhazy came on Friday evening in the second game of the doubleheader.

Doug was, well, Doug.

The junior, who missed time with a pectoralis minor strain from his work in the weight room, pitched five strong shutout inning, allowing just a single Alabama hit and only two walks.

Nikhazy earned the win and now sits at 2-1 on the season. “It was pretty electric,” Bianco said of Nikhazy’s pitching. 

92-94 mph, hard slider, curveball, changeup — (he had) all four pitches working.

Coach Bianco on Doug Nikhazy

Drew McDaniel came in and threw three scoreless innings, and Bianco referred him as “the unsung hero of the staff.” 

Broadway also took the field in Game Two and shut down the Tide in the ninth to earn his second save of the day and sixth of the season.

McCants continues to contribute at a high level offensively, as he homered in the fifth to get the Rebels on the board for a 1-0 lead.  “He’s going to have a great career here,” Coach Bianco said of the freshman. 

Left fielder Graham extended his hitting streak to 10 games as he hit in the eighth en route to scoring McCants and pushing the Ole Miss lead to two runs.

Up Next:

The Rebels improve to 19-4 and go for the series sweep Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in Tuscaloosa.  The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

Derek Diamond is the scheduled starter for Ole Miss.

(Feature image credit: Ole Miss Baseball)

About The Author

Chris Muller

Chris is our Director of Baseball Content and Senior Baseball Writer. Muller is a 1995 Graduate of Ole Miss. He is a collegiate recreational sports professional currently residing in Arlington Texas with his wife of 24 years, Amber, and German Shorthaired Pointer, Sophie. Chris is an avid Ole Miss Baseball and Football fan. His hobbies include watching college football and baseball and playing poker with his friends.

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