The Ole Miss baseball season opener is officially 10 days away. 2021 was an unforgettable year filled with extreme highs and movie-like moments, but there were also some major disappointments. With almost 100% of the offensive production coming back, the Rebels are sure to bring many more showers in right field.
I’ve compiled a “top-10 Greatest Hits” of the Ole Miss 2021 baseball season to get everyone ready for Feb. 18 at Swayze Field.
Tim Elko’s first home run back
It’s hard to put into words what watching this was like. Tim Elko returning at all felt like the worst possible idea...ever, but he rocked the sports world and proved all the doubters wrong.
I want to be Tim Elko when I grow up pic.twitter.com/zR9UKY2HqQ— Seth Austin (@SethAustinTV) May 8, 2021
Going undefeated in season-opening Texas Showcase
While everyone else was freezing and out of work and school for a week, the Rebels were busy sweeping Texas teams at the season-opening State Farm College Baseball Showdown. It was an almost unreal start to the season, and the perfect way to kick off the rest of the year.
Kemp Alderman’s walk-off home run over LSU
Against all odds, the freshman’s first at-bat in a Rebel uniform was a walk-off home run against LSU. Ole Miss clawed their way back from a 1-9 deficit to head into the bottom of the ninth tied 9-9. Alderman took the first pitch, sending a rocket to win the game in a very dramatic fashion. It was next level.
ONE PITCH, ONE SWING, AND THE FRESHMAN'S FIRST CAREER BOMB!— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) April 24, 2021
KEMP ALDERMAN, WALK IT OFF! pic.twitter.com/73UG2w7Coy
Doug Nikhazy’s shutout win over Mississippi State
Doug Nikhazy has had a lot of amazing moments during his tenure at Ole Miss, but none greater than his shutout performance against Mississippi State. Nikhazy carried the Rebels to a 9-0 victory in Starkville.
SEC tournament rematch win over Vanderbilt
Ole Miss had a surprisingly good showing at the SEC tournament, despite losing to Vanderbilt in the second round. This sent the Rebs to the losers bracket to face Georgia. They again came out on top, only to face Vandy and their elite pitching one more time.
This rematch was a type of Cinderella story, that forced pitcher Tyler Myers to start the game. He finished the day pitching seven innings, five hits, and zero runs. They went on to beat the Commodores 4-1.
Regional win over Southern Miss
Hosting a regional is always exciting, but winning the whole thing is even better. The regional finale took Ole Miss fans through a roller coaster of emotions. There were rain delays, an obscene amount of runs scored, and a huge celebration afterward. The victory lap was such a surreal part of the season, including the very controversial dog pile.
TAYLOR BROADWAY FOR THE WIN pic.twitter.com/wwfRfueowb— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) June 7, 2021
No. 1 ranking to start the season off
After the hot start in Arlington, Texas, the Rebs earned their first-ever No. 1 ranking in program history. It was short-lived but still great.
Nikhazy’s 10-strikeout performance over Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt got a lot of credit for their 2021 pitching staff, and rightfully so. Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter earned their high praise, but Nikhazy wanted some of that too. When the Commodores traveled to Oxford, Doug Nikhazy slid into the Friday starting pitcher role to kick off the series. He allowed only one run in seven innings and added 10 strikeouts for the Rebels.
Elko in the Super Regional vs. Southern Miss, Game One
This game should forever be known as the Tim Elko game. The captain cleared the bases to hit his second grand slam of the game. I was lucky enough to be at this game and in utter disbelief at what was happening during this game. Later in the game, Elko stepped back up to the plate. The entire crowd was on their feet and I remember thinking “imagine if he hit another home run.” It was as if the idea was so unattainable, it couldn’t actually happen. And then it did. Elko sent another shot into right field to earn his Regional tournament MVP title.