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Ole Miss defeats USM, 12-9, to win Regional Championship; Rebs move on to Supers

Ole Miss defeats USM, 12-9, to win Regional Championship; Rebs move on to Supers

OXFORD, Miss. – Monday afternoon, with inclement weather forecast for the entire day, Ole Miss and Southern Miss were desperate to get the Oxford Regional Championship game in to avoid possible play on Tuesday — or worse, advancement via predetermined tournament rules.

Fortunately, the game was played and what a game it was!  The Rebs defeated USM, 12-9, to win the regional and advance to Super Regionals in Tucson.

Starter Jack Dougherty for Ole Miss threw four complete innings of two run, three hit baseball in the fourth game of the weekend. This was an extremely effective start — especially given the run support he received from the offense.

Hit parade

Jacob Gonzalez led things off for the Rebels with a warning-track double to left center that almost cleared the fence.  It would be a prelude of things to come.

Peyton Chatagnier followed Gonzalez up with a home run to left. Tim Elko, who earned All-Tournament MVP honors, bloop-singled to no-man’s land in centerfield.  Justin Bench would not be outdone by Chatagnier, hitting a home run of his own, this one a line-drive shot to left field that put the Rebels up 4-0.

The scoring would continue in the second inning. Three walks and a 35-minute rain delay set the table for Kevin Graham who singled to center field to score Hayden Leatherwood.

Graham now has reached base in 57 straight games. This left the table set for the Rebel designated hitter Tim Elko. Elko, who hit a grand slam on Friday night, jacked one to add another chapter to the storybook 2021 season for the captain.

The amazing Elko hit his third home run of the weekend in the fourth inning to extend the Ole Miss lead to 10-2. The USM pitching staff had enough of Elko, intentionally walking him his last two at-bats.

Holy cow. It’s legendary. What seemed like one of the biggest tragedies of not just our season but somebody’s career…has turned into one of the biggest legends.

Coach Bianco on Tim Elko

Southern Miss was not without the fighting spirit in their dugout.  They simply would not quit and cut the lead to 10-7 in the fifth inning.

Rebel first baseman Calvin Harris answered back in the bottom half of the fifth with a bomb that scored Hayden Leatherwood.  A total of five home runs were registered in the game by the Red and Blue.

Doug Day, Part Two

The Golden Eagles loaded the bases in the sixth, and Rebels’ head coach Mike Bianco called on trusted lefty Doug Nikhazy to squash the rally. Nikhazy, who started and earned a win Saturday, quelled the USM threat, recording a strikeout to end the frame.

After the game, Coach Bianco told of a text he received the night before from Nikhazy.

I’ll start, I’ll relieve. I’ll do whatever you need me to do. I’m ready to go.”  

Doug Nikhazy to head coach Mike Bianco

Doug final appearance at Swayze was indeed memorable.

Broadway Night

Closer Taylor Broadway slammed the door on any potential USM rally in the eighth and ninth, allowing just a single hit and notching his 16th save of the season. Broadway also earned All-Tournament honors.

There’s not many times at the end of a game you have a guy who has four pitches and absolutely dominates the strike zone. What makes him so special is he can beat you in a lot of different ways.”

Coach Bianco on Taylor Broadway

After the win, the Rebs celebrated with the fans at Swayze who have supported them all season.

Supers, here we come!

The victory propels Ole Miss to the Tucson Super Regional to face Arizona.  Game days and times have yet to be announced. Stay tuned for more info as it comes.

All-Regional Team

C – Blake Johnson, USM
1B – Christopher Sargent, USM
2B – Will McGillis, USM
3B – Danny Lynch, USM
SS – Jacob Gonzalez, Ole Miss
OF – Kevin Graham, Ole Miss
OF – Gabe Montenegro, USM
OF – Reed Trimble, USM
DH – Tim Elko, Ole Miss
P – Doug Nikhazy, Ole Miss
P – Taylor Broadway, Ole Miss
Most Outstanding Player – Tim Elko, Ole Miss

Hotty Toddy!

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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