That’s the story of Friday night. Nikhazy, thrust back into the Friday night role in place of the injured Gunnar Hoglund, pitched out of his mind against Kumar Rocker on Friday night as the Rebels took game one from Vanderbilt 3-1 at Swayze Field.
Ole Miss is now 35-14 overall and 15-10 in the SEC and are probably two or so conference wins away from feeling good about hosting a regional. Make no mistake: Friday’s win could be huge. I’m not going to make any sweeping judgements about the team until the weekend is over, but Friday was a good start. Ole Miss out-dueled a top-five draft pick in Rocker, and even though they have to face another one tomorrow in Jack Leiter, knocking off Kumar is a special feat.
The Rebels only put up six hits (the same number as Vanderbilt), but T.J. McCants had a two-run bomb, and Kevin Graham had a solo shot which provided Ole Miss with all the runs it needed in the win. The Rebels still have one of the best offenses in the country, and if they want to make up for some lost time and make a run in the postseason, they need to keep that momentum at the plate going.
Anyway, Doug Nikhazy is super special. His velocity isn’t off the charts, but, man, he’s a gamer. You feel like every time he takes the mound, you’ve got a good shot for the win. He went well over 100 pitches on Friday night, and he got the job done.
Tomorrow, Derek Diamond will be faced with the task of going all “dueling banjos” with Jack Leiter. Not an easy task, but we’ll see what happens.
First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. on SEC Network+.