By Adam Brown
Junior left-hander Doug Nikhazy threw a one-hit complete game for No. 6 Ole Miss to even the series with No. 4 Mississippi State as the Rebels won 9-0 on Saturday.
“He really was phenomenal,” head coach Mike Bianco said. “We needed it in the biggest way. A guy in his two and a half years here always answered the bell for us. A complete game against a terrific baseball team in the other dugout.”
Nikhazy kept the Mississippi State batters guessing all day. He allowed only two walks, one in the first and one in the sixth. The lone hit came in the fifth inning by Brayland Skinner.
“I had a hiccup in the fifth,” Nikhazy said. “I felt like I was losing it and that is the great part about my team. They kept me going and allowed me to do some big stuff to help out our pen tomorrow.”
Ole Miss (26-9, 9-5 SEC) got the bats going from the start as they got the leadoff guy on base through the first five innings. The Rebels scored all nine runs on 17 hits.
“Proud of the entire team,” Bianco said. “Of course the offense. Dunhurst went 3-for-5 and Cale Baker continues to swing a hot bat. Leatherwood a huge home run.”
Nikhazy recorded 12 strikeouts on the afternoon.
“This is an awesome game,” Nikhazy said. “One that I am going to look back and be very proud of. More importantly, I think this will give us a good chance to win tomorrow and let us have pretty much whatever we need tomorrow and it will be a lot of fun.”
Ole Miss’s offense put hits on the board with a total of six extra-base hits that included four doubles, a triple, and a home run. Hayden Dunhurst, Cael Baker, Ben Van Cleve and Jacob Gonzalez all hit a double. TJ McCants delivered the triple in the second. The home run by Hayden Leatherwood opened the fourth.
The Rebels catcher, Dunhurst caught the complete-game performance from the southpaw Nikhazy.
“Doug’s stuff was so electric today,” Dunhurst said. “He didn’t miss any of his spots. Didn’t miss one pitch when he was supposed to and that is the biggest thing with him is execution. If he executes nobody can hit his stuff.”
At the dish, Dunhurst went 3-for-5 at the plate with a double and an RBI that led the Rebels against the Bulldogs.
“Yesterday was a rough patch offensively,” Dunhurst said. “Couldn’t get anything going on the mound or offensively once we get rolling it is hard for us to stop.”
Ole Miss steps back on the diamond on Sunday against Mississippi State for the third and deciding game of the series. The first pitch is set for 1 p.m. on SEC Network+.