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Ole Miss defeats Florida, 8-2, to even series with Gators

Ole Miss defeats Florida, 8-2, to even series with Gators

GAINESVILLE, Florida – Following their first defeat in conference play, the No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels looked to even the series on the road against the No. 15 Florida Gators Friday night. 

The Rebels would combine solid pitching and timely hitting to defeat the Gators, 8–2, and even the series.

Any Day is Great for Doug Day

In his second start after return from injury, junior Doug Nikhazy appeared as strong as he has ever been on the mound, throwing exactly 100 pitches (63 strikes).  

In somewhat of a homecoming, the Florida native went six innings allowing just two hits and one run.

The 11 strikeouts he recorded were a season-high for Nikhazy. After the game, the junior said he felt good. “The breaking balls were definitely helping me out, especially the curve ball, finishing guys fast balls up, it was awesome,” he said.

Skipper Mike Bianco was proud of his pitcher. “We needed a lift and he certainly gave it to us. Just dominate. Spectacular.”

McDaniel earns the win

Drew McDaniel threw the seventh inning in relief and recorded the win as the pitcher of record when Ole Miss took the lead in the game. He improves to 4-0 on the season. 

Closer Taylor Broadway was outstanding, throwing a 1-2-3 eighth and 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save, his seventh of the season. In a crazy stat line, five of the six outs registered by Broadway came via the strikeout. Said another way, he was nearly un-hittable tonight.  

As a staff, the Ole Miss hurlers delivered 18 punch-outs.

Hit Parade

Ole Miss scored in four innings and pounded out 11 hits. 

The first inning saw Kevin Graham double down the right field line and score on a Tim Elko RBI single to center field.  It was Captain Elko’s team high 35th RBI of the season.  

Right fielder Hayden Leatherwood doubled down the right field line with one out in the second inning, and Calvin Harris would score Leatherwood on a single through to the right side of the infield.  

Florida pitchers would then hold Rebel hitters quiet until the seventh inning.

In the final two frames, the Rebels would break a 2-2 tie in the eighth and tack on insurance runs in the ninth. Freshman Jacob Gonzalez sent a “no doubt” home run to right field which scored T.J. McCants who had led off the eighth with a single. 

“I was looking for a fastball, I saw the slider, I just tried to lift it,” Gonzalez said of his homer.

The ninth inning proved to be the biggest of the game for the Red and Blue. 

Justin Bench started the frame with a single followed by a Cade Sammons walk. Following a Harris fly out, McCants then walked to load the bases. A Peyton Chatagnier single scored Bench and Sammons in rapid succession  — so much so that it ended up with Sammons taking out the leg of the Florida catcher who seemed unaware that the Rebel pinch hitter was headed home on the play and was blocking the plate.  

Gonzalez then notched his third and fourth RBIs of the game with a single down the right field line that scored McCants and Chatagnier.   

“Jacob was terrific,” Bianco said. “We know we can do that; we can put some runs on in a hurry. Nothing else but to win the series tomorrow,” Bianco said postgame.

Game Three

Game time Saturday is 12:00 noon at Florida Ballpark with sophomore Derek Diamond taking the hill for the Rebels.

Hotty Toddy!

(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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