Due to Gunnar Hoglund’s season-ending UCL injury, the Rebels had to change this weekend’s pitching lineup causing some hand-wringing amongst the Ole Miss faithful.
Doug Nikhazy was moved to Friday, putting Derek Diamond in the Saturday slot. Diamond had big shoes to fill, especially after the lights out performance Nikhazy gave yesterday. Diamond lasted 4.1 innings, striking out seven, and giving up six runs including four home runs hit off him, which quickly gave Vanderbilt an insurmountable lead.
Following Diamond, three more Rebel pitchers gave up seven more runs, each of them giving up a home run.
Jack Leiter proved once again his dominance over SEC offenses, lasting six innings and giving up just 2 hits and 1 run. After a tough start by Diamond, Ole Miss needed to get Leiter off the field as early as possible, but it was not successful in running up his pitch count.
In the first five innings, Leiter struck out 10 Rebels, and only allowed one hit. He threw only 60 pitches across the first five innings, which is not ideal. The only positive part of this game is that Ole Miss doesn’t have to face him tomorrow.
“Our guys just couldn’t pick up the breaking ball early on. Just couldn’t pick up the spin. Too many weak at-bats early on,” head coach Mike Bianco said. “Credit him. He was terrific and everything we thought he would be. Disappointed we weren’t more competitive (against him).”
The series is even 1-1 with the rubber match tomorrow at 2 p.m. CST. After losing the second game, the pressure is on the Rebels to notch a massive quality win late in the season to bolster its postseason hosting chances.