After dunking on SEMO last night, Ole Miss advanced in its own regional to face Florida State tonight, a Seminole team that hasn’t announced its starter and will have to face the Rebels’ Doug Nikhazy.
That’s not an easy assignment for the visitors!
As of the time I write this, Florida State is likely considering two different arms for the winner’s bracket game against the Rebels: redshirt freshman LHP Bryce Hubbart and redshirt junior RHP Conor Grady. Hubbart has an ERA of 3.97 on the year while Grady’s sits at 3.90, so they’ve both had pretty solid outings during the season to this point.
Ole Miss made the right decision in starting Derek Diamond against the four-seed SEMO Redhawks on Friday, giving the Rebels the opportunity to throw Doug Nikhazy against whoever won between FSU and USM. The Seminoles and Golden Eagles have more pitching depth than the Redhawks, and saving Doug to face one of these “stiffer” tests was the right call because Rebel fans and the entire SEC know what he has been capable of this season.
Again, Ole Miss is a better team than Florida State, but the Seminoles are no pushover. FSU utilized the long ball well yesterday afternoon to top Southern Miss, but the bottom line this weekend is Ole Miss has to take care of business against teams it is better than. That includes Florida State and Southern Miss. If the Rebels can do that, they should be able to punch a ticket to the super regional round.
Tonight’s game will start at 5 p.m. and be broadcast on ESPN 2 (we don’t necessarily have to stream this one! Yay!). Here’s what the Rebels will be wearing in tonight’s game.
Shoutout to noted-Twitter-model Greer Holston. Doug seems to like rocking the red jerseys, and the Rebs will be looking fresh when they take the field on national television tonight.
While #DougDay should bring high expectations, the ‘Noles counter with the most prolific offensive player in the regional in Matheu Nelson who is batting .332 with 23 home runs and 66 RBI. Plz don’t pitch to him, Mike, plz - there’s very little reason to honestly.
One area where Rebel fans could relax is if FSU gets on the basepaths, the Noles are not productive in terms of stolen bases. In fact, FSU is only 24 of 34 in stolen base attempts for the entire season. Comparably, Ole Miss sits at 41 of 61 for the season.
If you’re not reading this on a phone or tablet at the stadium waiting for outfield seating, you might want to hustle with a cooler and get there quick. It looks like there will be a capacity crowd for this huge game four of the Oxford regional.
If Ole Miss can capture a 2-0 start, game five would feature the winner of the SEMO/USM elimination game and FSU on Sunday prior to a championship finale on Sunday afternoon. It is an enormous advantage to be in the driver’s seat at 2-0, so bring cold beers and anxiety at 5 p.m. and do some “hootin’ and hollerin’” in this crucial game.