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One Win Away: Jack Dougherty, Four Home Runs Deliver Ole Miss a Game-One Victory over Sooners

One Win Away: Jack Dougherty, Four Home Runs Deliver Ole Miss a Game-One Victory over Sooners

OMAHA – Jack Dougherty delivered five perfect innings of baseball, Ole Miss hit four home runs, and the Rebels are now one win away from their first baseball national championship, defeating Oklahoma 10-3 in game one of the College World Series finals.

YOU GUESSED IT… THE REBS STRIKE FIRST

In the top of the first inning, Oklahoma starter Jake Bennett recorded two quick outs on a Justin Bench fly out and a Jacob Gonzalez pop out. But Tim Elko would record a two-out single, advancing to second base on a wild pitch.

Kevin Graham would then get an RBI single to make it 1-0 Rebels.

Graham would then steal second base and advance to third on a wild pitch. Kemp Alderman then hit a sharp grounder that the shortstop couldn’t handle and the Rebs would take an early 2-0 lead.

Peyton Chatagnier would strike out to end the inning, but Jack Dougherty had a two-run cushion to work with. JFD would retire the side in order in the home half and preserve the Rebels’ 2-0 lead.

A WILD START

Coming into the night, Sooner starter Bennett had just three wild pitches in 110.2 innings. After two wild pitches in the first inning, alone, Bennett would rack up another in the second that moved Calvin Harris to second base.

Justin Bench would then deliver an RBI single into right for yet another two-out run for the Rebels.

THE CAPTAIN STRIKES AGAIN

After a second consecutive 1-2-3 inning for Dougherty, Tim Elko led off the third in a big way.

The blast was his 24th of the season and second in Omaha and gave the Rebels a 4-0 lead.

JACK FREAKIN’ DOUGHERTY

Despite the somewhat surprising decision of a Dougherty start, JFD didn’t fail to deliver. He was perfect through the first three innings, allowing no hits, no walks and striking out four Sooner batters on just 38 pitches.

And he didn’t let up in the fourth.

He struck out the first two Sooners, making five strikeouts in a row and bringing his total to six. He then got Blake Robertson to fly out to Calvin Harris to end the frame at 51 pitches.

Dougherty became the first pitcher in College World Series history to retire the first twelve batters in a row in a finals game.

SOONERS GET IT GOING

After a perfect game through five innings, Jack Dougherty started to struggle in the sixth. The Sooners put together back-to-back singles, followed by a bunt by Kendall Pettis. A throwing error by Garrett Wood allowed a run to score and Pettis to be safe at first.

Spikerman would then walk to load the bases with no outs, and that would be the end of the road for Dougherty. His final line: Five complete innings, three hits, one earned run, one walk, six strikeouts.

Mason Nichols would come on in relief in a massive spot. Nichols would get the first two batters he faced to strike out before walking in a run with Tanner Tredaway. He would then get a groundout from Jimmy Crooks to end the frame, but the lead was cut in half, 4-2. Nichols did some incredible damage control as a freshman in a huge moment.

Nichols talked about the moment and what it meant for his confidence going forward.

It was great. God gets all the glory for that because I asked Him for some peace and some strength before going out there and He gave me both. I was just so excited to get out of it for the team, it was a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to the next couple of days.

Mason Nichols on his performance in game one

Mike Bianco also talked about the fantastic job Nichols did.

It’s easy to say he’s done it in the second half of the season but especially in the postseason. Where he’s at, on this stage, bases loaded, no outs and facing one of the best hitters in the country, he gets a couple of punch outs. He let one get across but that’s really my fault, we just didn’t want Treadway to hit a double or gapper and score everybody. He’s able to land his slider a lot but I probably should’ve went fastball and made them hit it but we didn’t want to risk that where we were in the game.”

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco on Nichols

PRETTY FRESH, MAN

After escaping the bases-loaded jam in the sixth, Nichols came back out for the seventh. It didn’t take long, as he struck out all three Sooners.

The frame brought his strikeout total to five in seven batters faced.

CHICKS DIG THE LONG BALL

In the Ole Miss eighth, Kemp Alderman and Peyton Chatagnier led off with back-to-back singles. Hayden Dunhurst then tried to bunt them over but it was too hard and Alderman would be out at third base.

The Rebels would then try and execute a double steal, but Chatagnier was out at third and that left Dunhurst at second with two outs.

That’s when the fireworks started.

TJ McCants made his first at-bat of the night count with a two run bomb to make it 6-2, Ole Miss.

Calvin Harris followed with a 430-foot nuke to center field that made it 7-2, and Justin Bench then hit the third straight blast to left to make it 8-2.

The back-to-back-to-back jacks marked the first time that’s happened at the College World Series since 1998 when LSU did it against Mississippi State. (Also the first time it’s happened since Charles Schwab Stadium was opened.)

ELKO SHOWING OUT IN OMAHA

After Josh Mallitz came on in relief of Nichols for the eighth and didn’t allow any damage, Elko led off the Ole Miss ninth with a base hit, racking up his fourth hit of the night to go along with an RBI and two runs scored. Elko’s postseason numbers: Two four-hit games and four multi-hit games. When the lights shine brightest, The Captain comes up big.

STILL NOT DONE

Oklahoma would then bring on a new pitcher as Ben Abram would make his way to the mound. Kemp Alderman would promptly welcome him with a double smoked into the gap that moved Elko up to third with one away.

Peyton Chatagnier would then sky a pop up way up in the air in right, but it would fall in the middle of three Sooner defenders and Elko would score. Chatagnier would make it all the way to second base and Alderman moved to third.

Hayden Dunhurst would then line out to left field but it would score Alderman and make it 10-3, Rebels.

DOOR SHUT

Mallitz would then come back out for the ninth, and despite giving up a one out walk and a two out double, he would shut the door and secure the 10-3 victory for the Rebels.

The win puts Ole Miss just one win away from its first-ever baseball national championship.

THE BIG GAME

Game two of the CWS finals will be on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. CT and will air on ESPN.

Oklahoma will start RHP Cade Horton (5-2, 5.24 ERA, 51 K, 15 BB), and the Rebs will send freshman phenom LHP Hunter Elliott (5-3, 2.70 ERA, 96 K, 32 BB) to the mound. Elliott will once again take center stage for not only the biggest game of his career, but the biggest game in Ole Miss history.

Austin Eldridge
Austin Eldridge

Austin has more than ten years in sports media, including sports talk radio, play-by-play broadcasting and journalism. He has followed Ole Miss athletics for his entire life and has covered the Rebels and the rest of the SEC while working in the Memphis media market. Outside of sports media, Austin is a musician and outdoorsman. Before a serious accident forced him to be medically discharged, he was a multi-media journalist with the Mississippi National Guard.

About The Author

Austin Eldridge

Austin has more than ten years in sports media, including sports talk radio, play-by-play broadcasting and journalism. He has followed Ole Miss athletics for his entire life and has covered the Rebels and the rest of the SEC while working in the Memphis media market. Outside of sports media, Austin is a musician and outdoorsman. Before a serious accident forced him to be medically discharged, he was a multi-media journalist with the Mississippi National Guard.

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