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Doug’s Excellent Day Leads Ole Miss Past State, 9-0

Doug’s Excellent Day Leads Ole Miss Past State, 9-0

Behind Doug Nikhazy’s complete-game, one-hit shutout, the Rebels cruised to a 9-0 win over State and tied the series with the Bulldogs.

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Following a disappointing 5-2 loss Friday night, Ole Miss looked to rebound and even the series against Mississippi State. Super Bulldog Weekend brought a huge crowd of 13,338 to Dudy Noble Saturday, and those in attendance saw the Rebels defeat State, 9-0.

Doug Dazzles

“Doug Day,” as Doug Nikhazy’s starting days have affectionately been nicknamed by the Rebel faithful, did not disappoint this Saturday.

He received high praise from his catcher, Hayden Dunhurst.

Doug’s stuff was just so electric today. And the biggest thing that people don’t realize is that he didn’t miss any of his spots today. He didn’t miss one spot. He landed every pitch he was supposed to. And that’s the biggest thing with him executing. If he executes, nobody can hit this stuff.

Hayden Dunhurst on Nikhazy

The junior left-hander dominated Bulldog hitters from beginning to end.

Nikhazy’s complete-game, one-hitter shutout on this day elicited comparisons from Head Coach Mike Bianco to Drew Pomeranz’ performance in the 2009 Super Regional. “(He’s) A guy that in his two and a half years here, has answered the bell a lot of times for us,” Bianco said.

In college baseball, complete games are rarely seen these days. In fact, Nikhazy notched the first nine-inning complete game by a Rebel since Christian Trent in 2014.

Interestingly, Nikhazy was also involved in a combined no-hitter last year that also included Sunday’s starter Drew McDaniel and bullpen specialist Jackson Kimbrell.

Outside of one batter, the only other two State hitters to reach base did so via the walk. Nikhazy was so in control that he did not face a 2-0 count until the sixth inning, en route to striking out 12 MSU batters on the day.

After the game, a humble Nikhazy commented on his performance.

It was an awesome game, one of those that I’ll look back and be really proud of. More importantly, I think it’s going to give us a really good shot to win tomorrow and lets us have pretty much whatever we need tomorrow and it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Doug Nikhazy

This marked Nikhazy’s fourth win on one loss for the year. His outing will without a doubt be submitted for SEC Pitcher of the Week honors.

Offensive explosion

Offensively, the Rebel bats came to life early and never let up. Ole Miss scored in all but three innings, including the first five frames, in a dominant showing at the plate.

Every single Red and Blue starter recorded at least one hit. The “leader of the pack” was Dunhurst who turned in a 3-for-5 day, including a double and RBI, raising his batting average to .351 for the season.

Multi-hit days were also recorded by Justin Bench (now batting .326), T.J. McCants who tallied a triple and two runs scored, Cael Baker who continues his hot streak at the plate and Ben Van Cleave.

Of note of those with one hit on the day is Hayden Leatherwood who pounded a solo home run to get the scoring started in the Rebel fourth.

In total, Ole Miss finished with 17 hits and scored nine runs.  “All the way around, really proud of them,” Coach Bianco said.

“Once we get going, it’s hard for us to stop,” added Dunhurst.

Defensive prowess

The defensive play of the day was turned in by Dunhurst, the Second Team Preseason All-SEC Catcher, who picked off a MSU runner at first to end the sixth inning.

What’s Next?

The rubber game of the series is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. Ole Miss will throw sophomore Drew McDaniel who sports a 3-0 record on the year.  As has been the case in the previous two games of the series, the eyes of the college baseball world will be watching.

Hotty Toddy!

(Feature image credit: David Perry, The Rebel Walk)

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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