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2021 NCAA Baseball Tournament: Ole Miss wins thriller over Florida State, advances to regional final

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Doug. Nikhazy.

Ole Miss Athletics

After 119 pitches and 16 strikeouts, Doug Nikhazy ran off Swayze Field to the dugout on Saturday with Ole Miss holding a 4-3 advantage, a lead it never relinquished.

Doug was obviously fired up as he should have been. After giving up a three-spot in the middle of the game to give Florida State a 3-2 advantage over Ole Miss, the Rebels took advantage of some Seminole errors to reclaim the lead, something it did all game. In fact, without the FSU miscues, Ole Miss isn’t the victor on Friday, and fans are having a completely different conversation heading into tomorrow.

Thankfully, the Rebels (42-19) were the victors, eat, drink and be merry for sure — Ole Miss has a chance to punch its ticket to the super regional round tomorrow night.

The offense wasn’t great on Friday; that’s the downside. As I mentioned above, Florida State’s errors were what gave the Rebels runs in the game, but kudos to Ole Miss for putting the ball in play and making it happen. The penultimate error came when Tim Elko grounded to shortstop with two outs and runners at second and third and the throw sailed about four miles high of the first baseman on the play. The shortstop was obviously scared of Tim Elko’s speed, vastly improved after [checks notes] tearing his ACL earlier this season.

Now, Ole Miss is in the catbird seat in this regional. The Rebels have to be beaten twice in a row in order to not advance, and one win means a trip to the supers against the winner of the Tucson regional. It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but after a year filled with a lot of bad breaks, it felt good to get some in the Rebels’ favor.

The Rebels will face the winner of Southern Miss and Florida State on Sunday at 5 p.m. for a chance at extending its season.

For now, the Cup would assume Drew McDaniel takes the mound on Sunday, and fingers, toes and other appendages crossed, he pitches like he did in the SEC Tournament. Until then, enjoy a cold one and Hotty Toddy.