The Rebels headed to Starkville this weekend to take on Mississippi State in a huge in-state rival matchup.
With no surprise, junior Gunnar Hoglund was named starting pitcher for the first game and had a fantastic showing. Hoglund went 7.0 innings, allowing just three runs on four hits, with nine strikeouts and no walks. Mississippi State was able to score first, but while Hoglund was pitching, they were only able to score a single run in each inning.
In the third inning, the Rebels worked to tie it up after senior Cael Baker recorded the first hit of the night. This created a two-out rally as freshman Jacob Gonzalez was walked, followed by sophomore Peyton Chatagnier singling to bring Baker home to make it even.
Sophomore Derek Diamond came in as a reliever to Hoglund, with the Bulldogs ahead 3-2. It only took one inning for Mississippi State to extend their lead as Diamond gave up two more runs. Those extra runs late in the game proved to be too much for the Rebels and they dropped game 1 of the series.
It was all Ole Miss in the second game of the series, and more specifically junior Doug Nikhazy. Nikhazy started off hot right from the start and didn’t slow down until he had shut out the No.4 team in the country. Nikhazy struck out 12 batters to tie a career-high and held the Bulldogs to a no-hitter until the fifth inning. This was his first complete game pitched, and he was the first Rebel to throw a nine-inning complete game since Christian Trent versus Auburn on April 5, 2014.
On the other side of the ball, there was no chance for Mississippi State after every single Rebel who batted made it onto a base in the game. That included eight runners who scored, along with seven of them with an RBI. Senior Hayden Leatherwood had a solo home run in the fourth that pushed the game too far out of reach for Mississippi State. Nikhazy finished out the series with two back-to-back strikes out in the ninth to tie the series up. The Rebels finished the game out, 9-0.
In the rubber match on Sunday, Ole Miss was unable to close things out. Sophomore Drew McDaniel was named the Sunday starting pitcher after Diamond was moved from the starting role. Things started to look up as Daniel pitched 5.1 innings with two runs on three hits and two walks. Ole Miss relievers were unable to keep up with Mississippi State’s batters and gave up five runs.
Leatherwood was the only Rebel with a multi-hit day. He had two home runs, with one of them giving Ole Miss the lead. Unfortunately, Ole Miss was unable to shut the Bulldogs down with their relievers, and they dropped the series. Ole Miss moves to 26-10 on the season.
The Rebels will take on Little Rock at home on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.