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Doug Nikhazy notches career-high 13 Ks in 2-0 win over Georgia

Doug Nikhazy notches career-high 13 Ks in 2-0 win over Georgia

ATHENS, Georgia – Entering the final SEC series of the season, No.13 Ole Miss still has much to play for with hosting and national seed possibilities in play. The Rebels took care of business Thursday night in game one against Georgia, defeating the Bulldogs, 2-0, behind another outstanding outing from pitcher Doug Nikhazy. 

Ole Miss entered the weekend at 36-16 overall, 16-11 in the SEC, while Georgia, who also has work to do, sat at 29-21 and 12-15 in league play. 

Doug Day Doesn’t Disappoint

When NIkhazy takes the mound, Rebel fans become energized early with tweets and buzz starting well before game time. The reason for this enthusiasm is clear: as Nikhazy took the mound Friday night, he had already notched 94 strikeouts year to date, had a record of 7-2, and owned a sizzling 2.34 ERA.

After tonight, those numbers are even better. 

You’ll have to forgive me if you’ve heard this before, but once again #DougDay did not disappoint. Nikhazy was excellent. He threw a career-high 13 strikeouts, including four strikeouts in the first inning.

“We knew coming in that he was going to be a challenge,” Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin said of Nikhazy.

That guy is going to pitch in the big leagues. He is ultra-competitive, has really good stuff, and it tells you how good he is because in those last couple innings his velocity dropped but the ball has so much life on it, it jumps on the hitters. He has two different breaking balls he can throw; he threw a change-up a little bit to righty’s tonight. He is just really good.

UGA head coach Scott Stricklin on Nikhazy

The junior lasted seven strong innings, allowing no runs on four hits and two walks.  

In somewhat un-Doug-like fashion, Nikhazy pitched with at least one runner on base in every inning but the seventh. After the game, he talked about what he did to minimize his pitch count in the middle innings. 

“Coach B came out and told me you got to stop trying to strike everybody out…and trust your stuff…be a little bit more competitive earlier in the count,” Nikhazy explained. 

Nikhazy was asked how he has progressed this season.

I think I’ve definitely improved with being able to command the fastball to both sides of the plate. Being able to balance it in and out to hitters makes it more complicated for them. And of course landing the breaking ball early in the count sets up for a really big advantage to me in those type of counts.

Doug Nikhazy on his improvement this season

“Doug was Doug.  He’s just so tough, makes it so hard on opposing line-ups,” added head coach Mike Bianco. 

Rebels’ scoring

With Doug throwing up a zero against the Bulldogs, the Rebel offense did not need much to secure the game one win.

Ole Miss batters were held down by Georgia pitchers until the fourth inning when T.J. McCants led off with a single to right field and then stole second. Then, with two outs Justin Bench singled McCants home to put the Rebels on the board.

Ole Miss manufactured another run in the sixth inning. McCants hit another leadoff single and advanced to second when Peyton Chatagnier was hit by an errant pitch.

McCants moved up to third on a Jacob Gonzalez fly out to center and then scored on a Kevin Graham sacrifice fly.

Broadway shuts down the Bulldogs

Pitching the eighth and ninth innings, senior — and now graduate — Taylor Broadway locked down the win for the Rebels and recorded his SEC-leading 11th save of the season in the process.

Quick Hits

  • The Rebels improve to 37-16 overall, 17-11 in SEC play after recording their fourth shutout of the season.
  • Ole Miss moves to 45-39 all-time against Georgia.
  • Tim Elko made his first start since April 5 against South Alabama, playing DH.
  • Kevin Graham extended his on-base streak to 46 consecutive games, reaching in 51 of 53 games this season.
  • TJ McCants has now recorded a hit in 28 of his last 32 games, has his third consecutive multi-hit game and had his 18th multi-hit game this season.
  • Doug Nikhazy had a career-high 13 Ks and had his sixth outing with double-figure Ks this season as well as a sixth outing allowing a run or fewer.
  • Taylor Broadway recorded his 11th save of the season, moving him into the top-5 all-time on the single season save list.

(Quick Hits courtesy of Ole Miss Baseball.)

Next Up

The road series against Georgia continues Friday night with game two at 6 p.m. from Foley Field in Athens with coverage on SEC Network+.  

Sophomore Derek Diamond (3-4, 5.5 ERA, 64 K, 22 BB) is set to go for the Rebels. They will face freshman Liam Sullivan (1-1, 4.2 ERA, 40 K, 16 BB) for the Bulldogs.

(Feature image courtesy Ole Miss Athletics)

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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