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Doug Day in the Desert: Rebels defeat Arizona, 12-3, to force rubber game of Super Regional

by | Jun 13, 2021 | Baseball | 1 comment

TUCSON – After dropping game one of the Super Regional on Friday to Arizona — and with their backs against the wall — the Rebels looked to bounce back Saturday night against the Wildcats. And on Doug Day in the Desert, the Rebels came storming back in a big way, defeating Arizona, 12-3, to force a game three Sunday.

(Click here for box score.)

On the mound

As has been said many times, once again, Nikhazy did not disappoint. Although Nikhazy’s pitch count became a bit elevated through the first two innings with 54 pitches thrown, the Floridian settled in and took the Rebels into the sixth inning before giving the ball to Austin Miller.

Assisted by an eight-pitch, 1-2-3 inning in the third, Nikhazy earns the win and improves to 12-2 on the season. He finished with 10 strikeouts, three walks and two runs allowed.

Nikhazy’s 10 strikeouts moved him ahead of former Ole Miss pitchers Will Kline (134 in 2007) and Drew Pomeranz (139 in 2010) on the single-season strikeout list. Sitting at 142 on the year, Doug is just four off the program record of 146, set by Lance Lynn in 2007.

Doug is terrific. (I’ve) been here for a long time, and we’ve had some really good guys — but I don’t know if we’ve every had a guy better than Doug.”

Head coach Mike Bianco on Doug Nikhazy

Miller’s performance was crucial in setting the table for game three. He was extremely effective in relief, saving the Rebel bullpen for final game. The senior allowed just a single run in 3.2 innings of work en route to striking out six batters. “(Miller) had really good command and competed well,” Coach Bianco commented after the game.

Peyton Chatagnier agreed. “I was really proud of him, he did a great job,” the second baseman said of Miller.

At the plate

The hit parade began early for the Rebels when Jacob Gonzalez led off the home half of the first with a solo home run to right field off the hitting center and over the home run line.

“He’s been an outstanding payer, as soon as he stepped on campus back in the fall,” Chatagnier said of Gonzalez. “He carries himself differently, with a lot of confidence.”

Gonzalez ended game two tied with Kevin Graham and Hayden Dunhurst for the team lead in hits with three for the game.

The big inning for the Rebels came in the second. Ole Miss would send 10 batters to the plate and post six runs on six hits, including a loud two-run double by Gonzalez and a two-run homer by Chatagnier.

The sixth inning saw a Kevin Graham-run on a wild pitch, a Tim Elko run on a sacrifice fly from Cael Baker, and an RBI-single by Dunhurst to score T.J. McCants.

Two more were scored by the Rebels in the fifth, when Graham singled home Gonzalez and Tim Elko hit a sacrifice fly to score Chatagnier.

In total, Ole Miss pounded out 16 hits with Gonzalez, Graham and Dunhurst having three hits a piece and Chatagnier, Elko, and John Rhys Plumlee contributing two each.

Defensive Play of the Game

The Defensive play of the Game came in the form of a strike ‘em, throw ‘em out double play in the sixth inning that once again featured the Rebels’ Buster Posey Nominee Dunhurst.

What’s Next for Ole Miss 

Omaha is on the line, and this is what the guys have worked for all season. Neither head coach announced a starter for the rubber game in the postgame press conferences. Expect Drew McDaniel to start for the Rebels. The sophomore is 5-2 on the season, and has a 6.10 ERA with 70 strikeouts and 22 walks.

In a winner take all game, expect many pitchers to be used and the Rebels to clinch their way to Omaha for the first time since 2014.

Nikhazy left us with one final thought: “I know my season’s going to end in Omaha.”

Hotty Toddy!

(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)

Chris Muller
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 25 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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