What Friday lacked in fun, Saturday made up for with great gusto as Ole Miss 26-9 (9-5) evened the series in Starkville against Mississippi State behind a 9-0 complete-game victory belonging to Doug Nikhazy.
Nikhazy was almost as dominant as humanly possible, allowing only one Bulldog hit in front of 13,000+ fans in the midst of Super Bulldog Weekend. It was a game to remember, and it sets the Rebels up for a deciding game three tomorrow at 1pm.
Let’s not limit Saturday’s praise to Nikhazy, however. The offense was, as they say, #runnin’ as well, opening up a big lead that they never relinquished. In the absence of Tim Elko, this team is still hitting at a pretty alarming rate as a whole, despite only putting up two runs last night. That’s an SEC Friday night, though. Those happen. Just imagine if Tim was healthy.
Anyway, here’s an interesting note concerning Ole Miss and the second game of baseball series:
Fun fact!— Nick Suss (@nicksuss) April 17, 2021
Ole Miss has won the second game of 15-straight three-game series dating back to the 2019 Regionals.
It’d be cool to win on Fridays too (preferable, even!), but winning game two either A.) wins you a series or b.) is a big swing day in a series. That’s pretty solid Ole Miss has been able to do that in recent memory.
Still, tomorrow has to go well for Saturday to matter very much in the grand scheme of things. The last two weeks, Ole Miss has bounced back after a game one loss, taken game two, and fallen flat in game three (if you count last week’s collective scoring pain fest as “falling flat”). Drew McDaniel will get the start on the bump for the Rebels, and he’s been pretty good in weekend starting roles this year when Doug was absent. Hopefully that continues tomorrow.
What’s also big about Nikhazy throwing a complete game on Saturday is this: your bullpen is completely fresh. Ole Miss has used one (count ‘em, one!) reliever this weekend, and it was Derek Diamond last night, who has the stamina of a starter, obviously.
So, in theory, the door is wide open after McDaniel tomorrow should things go south or he gets gassed. Sure, the depth of the bullpen is an issue for this team, but a rested bullpen on Sunday in the SEC can be the difference between a win and a loss.
Here are some tweets with some of my commentary.
Sing us a song
T8 | No. 10 drives Ole Miss' 17th hit of the day to center!— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) April 17, 2021
Ole Miss 9, MSU 0 pic.twitter.com/jO4LexY4PE
Tomorrow’s game is on SEC Network+.
Bring popcorn or something like that. It should be a fun one