Ole Miss baseball open’s the 2021 campaign this weekend in Arlington, Texas at the State Fram College Baseball Showdown. The Rebels pitching duo of Doug Nikhazy and Gunnar Hoglund were tabbed to the preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list on Thursday by USA Baseball.
Ole Miss is one of 11 schools with multiple preseason watch listers. This marks the first time since 2008 (Lance Lynn and Cody Satterwhite) that two Rebels have made the preseason watch list.
The Rebels now have had a total of nine players on the watch list since 2008, including first-round MLB Draft pick Ryan Rolison in 2018.
The Rebels starters have also gotten the nod to be named as Hoglund is on Preseason All-American by NCBWA, Baseball America, D1Baseball and Collegiate Baseball. Nikhazy was named a Preseason All-American by Perfect Game and Collegiate Baseball.
Hoglund was left off of the All-American lists last season despite a fantastic season on the hill. The sophomore out of Hudson, Florida, finished second in the SEC with 37 strikeouts and third in the conference in wins with three, as well as strikeout-to-walk ratio at 9.25. He was also fifth in strikeouts-per-nine-innings at 14.3 and was sixth in ERA at 1.16.
The 2018 First Round MLB Draft pick started all four Saturday games for the Rebels, walking two batters or fewer each game while striking out seven or more in all four outings. His season-high of 12 strikeouts came against Xavier. He also fanned 10 in his final start of the season against Princeton.
Among returning SEC pitchers, Hoglund ranks first in strikeouts and strikeout-to-walk ratio, second in walks allowed per nine innings, third in strikeouts per nine innings and fourth in earned run average.
In 2020, Nikhazy worked to a 3-1 record and 2.35 ERA with 31 strikeouts and nine walks over 23.0 innings pitched. The sophomore out of Windermere, Florida, went at least 5.0 IP in every single start as the team’s Friday night arm.
The 2019 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team member started his season going 5.1 innings with four runs allowed in Rebels’ only loss of the year in the season opener vs. No. 1 Louisville, working against the Cardinals’ ace and first-team All-American Reid Detmers.
Nikhazy bounced back and was named SEC Pitcher of the Week after going 6.0 no-hit innings with nine strikeouts in combined no-hitter of Xavier. Nikhazy picked up his second win of the year the following week vs. High Point, which sparked a Rebel sweep of the Keith LeClair Classic. He closed his season with another no-hit outing, notching 6.0 scoreless and hitless innings in a rout over Princeton.