Gunnar Hoglund, Doug Nikhazy and Taylor Broadway, one of the top-performing pitching trios to ever step foot on Swayze Field, have been selected in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Hoglund, Nikhazy and Broadway have made a lasting impact on Ole Miss baseball and are slated to continue their successes in the major leagues.
On night one of the Major League Baseball draft, the Toronto Blue Jays selected Hoglund as the 19th overall pick. Before his injury and subsequent Tommy John surgery in the latter half of the 2021 season, Hoglund was a projected top-10 pick in the draft. It was his performance in the shortened 2020 season, along with his pre-injury stats in 2021 that kept Hoglund in a top-20 spot and solidified his collegiate and future success.
Before the pandemic cut the 2020 baseball season short, Hoglund was arguably one of the best performing pitchers in the NCAA. He had an earned run average (ERA) of 1.16 through 23.1 innings. His strikeout to walk ratio was stellar – striking out nine batters for every registered walk. He continued this success in the 2021 season with 96 strikeouts through 11 appearances, before his injury cut his chance at inevitable postseason success short, leaving Ole Miss fans everywhere heartbroken.
Hoglund was the seventh first round pick in Ole Miss baseball history, joining the likes of Ryan Rolison (2018) and Lance Lynn (2008). Hoglund came to Ole Miss in 2018 after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates 36th overall, but did not sign.
The infamous left-handed star of #DougDay was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the second round as the 58th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. Nikhazy has been a staple in the weekend rotation for the Rebels since he stepped onto campus in 2018. During his freshman campaign Nikhazy pitched in 20 games, finishing the season with a record of 9-3. He continued to prove himself as a staple for Ole Miss baseball throughout his sophomore stand and the 2021 season.
During his three years pitching, Nikhazy set his name in Ole Miss history. Dubbed the “best big game pitcher we have ever had at Ole Miss,” by Coach Mike Bianco, Nikhazy averaged 2.81 earned runs and struck out 259 batters throughout his 204.2 innings on the mound. In his third year as a Rebel, Nikhazy tied the single-game record of 16 strikeouts, was unanimously voted First Team All-American and set an Ole Miss program-record of 12 wins.
While we have seen the last of Nikhazy at Swayze, his impact is widely felt and he will undoubtedly have continued success in the big leagues.
Ole Miss closer Broadway was taken by the Chicago White Sox as the 185th pick in the sixth round of the 2021 MLB Draft. After using his extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19, Broadway came back for his final season at Ole Miss and left as a record-holder and influential part of the Rebel’s postseason run in 2021. Broadway holds the single-season save record with 16 saves over his 30 appearances. Broadway will join former Ole Miss pitcher Lance Lynn in Chicago.
While we may have lost three important factors in our pitching arsenal, Rebel fans can look forward to seeing the likes of Justin Bench, Kevin Graham, D1 Baseball Freshman of the Year Jacob Gonzalez, Freshman All-American TJ McCants and Tim Elko returning to Swayze Field next year.