The Ole Miss baseball team officially ended their season Sunday night in Tucson after a 3-16 loss to the Arizona Wildcats. The Rebels closed the season at 45-22, with an appropriate amount of post game celebrations throughout the season.
The NCAA Super Regional began with a 3-9 loss, with sophomore Derek Diamond starting on the mound. Diamond gave up four runs, followed by Tyler Myers, who allowed five earned runs on the night. Ole Miss started with a commanding lead, bringing in three runs in the first inning, but failed to maintain the offensive momentum in the following innings.
Saturday afternoon, however, told a different tale, with Ole Miss batting in seven runs in the first two innings. Defensively, lights out pitcher Doug Nikhazy pitched 5 ⅓ innings, striking out ten and only allowing two runs; Nikhazy is now second behind Lance Lynn (2008) on the single-season strikeout list with 142.
Senior pitcher Austin Miller came away with the save after taking over in the sixth inning. Six different Rebel batters had multiple-hit games to even the series after the 12-3 victory.
Sunday evening’s game began with senior pitcher Taylor Broadway getting the start. Broadway faced 16 batters, only two less than his last three games combined. Broadway, normally a closer, gave up six runs across three innings, with freshman Jack Dougherty taking over with one runner on base in the fourth.
A slew of pitchers followed Dougherty, with Brandon Johnson taking over in the same inning, and Jackson Kimbrell and Drew M
cDaniel relieving in the following innings.
Throughout the series, freshman Jacob Gonzalez was a standout at lead-off, with two home runs and four RBIss. Saturday’s game showed Ole Miss’s offensive capabilities, with significant contributions from Tim Elko, Cael Baker, Hayden Dunhurst, Justin Bench and John Rhys Plumlee.
Friday and Sunday evenings’ performances, however, could not outscore Arizona’s powerful offense. Rebel fans, including the overwhelming fan presence in the stands in Tucson, were optimistic, as two of Arizona’s best-performing relievers were placed on an interim suspension by the university. Arizona’s bullpen did without and withstood the Ole Miss offense.
As this season comes to a close, Rebel fans are optimistic for the season to come. Elko will undergo ACL surgery in the offseason, followed by significant rehab, which will help lead to a fruitful recovery.Young stars like Gonzalez and Dunhurst, combined with standouts like Nikhazy and Elko, who has an extra year of eligibility should he decide to use it, provide for a hopeful 2022 season.