Ole Miss baseball (19-4, 5-0) hasn’t always performed well in Tuscaloosa, but that trend was reversed on Friday as Ole Miss swept its series-opening double header over the Alabama Crimson Tide (15-8, 1-4).
Things looked pretty dire for the Rebels in the first game as it trailed 3-1 heading into the final frame, a ninth inning where Ole Miss batted around, tied the game on a Peyton Chatagnier two-run bomb and put up eight (count ‘em, eight!) runs. Despite giving up a three-run shot in the bottom half, Ole Miss held on to win 9-6.
Gunnar Hoglund pitched well. So did the bullpen. The offense caught on fire late. It was a good start to the weekend.
Gunnar Hoglund, Nasty 85mph Changeup. pic.twitter.com/99rWr2Z2yN— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 26, 2021
Then, it continued.
Doug Nikhazy is #back from his pectoral injury, and looked like his old self on the bump in game two. Although he was pulled before his pitch count got too high, he got credit for the win in a game that saw T.J. McCants hit his second home run of the year and a Kevin Graham RBI single. The 2-0 Rebel win gives them the series, and they’ll go for the sweep tomorrow.
Taylor Broadway came in and slammed the door shut in both of these games too. I didn’t figure we’d see him in game two after he threw in the first game, but Mike was like, “Naw” and ran him back out there to make folks look foolish. Broadway is special, and he’s settled in nicely to this closer role.
What’s also big about Nikhazy being healthy again is that Drew McDaniel is back in the bullpen. He threw in game two, and he continued to look spectacular. He’s a star in the making if he stays healthy.
What’s more important about these two wins is this: you’re now 5-0 in SEC play. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, Ole Miss can be no worse than 5-1 in the league when it travels to Gainesville next weekend. Facing Florida, Arkansas and Mississippi State in that order the next three weeks will be tough.
The Rebels needed to, at the very least, win their first two SEC series in order to be set up well record-wise heading into that slate. To that end, they haven’t lost yet, which, I’m told, is good. Tread water or, heaven forbid, win multiple of the next three series, and you’re cooking with gas, as my dad says.
A sweep would be very cool and not at all bad if it were to happen tomorrow. The cool thing is, however, that it’s not absolutely necessary. Lose tomorrow, and you get up on Sunday still feeling great about where you sit two weeks into league play. Win tomorrow? Your hair is on fire (in a good way).
First pitch between Ole Miss and Alabama is scheduled for 1pm CST. And it’s on SEC Network!
The normal one!
Circle the wagons!