Ole Miss baseball bounced back exactly when needed.
Nr. 14 rebels swept a Saturday double-header against South Carolina with 7-3 and 6-4 wins. The victories gave Miss Ole (31-12, 13-8 SEC) a sweep over the No. 15 Gamecocks and ended the Rebels’ four-week SEC series with a losing streak with three weekends left in conference play.
The NCAA will choose which schools will host regionals in the NCAA Tournament on the week of May 10, instead of after conference tournaments as in normal years this season. Ole Miss’ sweep over a ranked opponent came with just one week left before this announcement, and strengthened the rebellion and the chances that post-season games were held at Swayze Field.
Left-handed starter Doug Nikhazy was his usual ego in the first double-headed game. He allowed three runs in seven innings on six hits with five strikes, while bats Jacob Gonzalez, Hayden Dunhurst and Justin Bench committed offenses with one home run.
The Rebels closed the South Carolina offense in Game 1 of the double-headed. After allowing only three base runners in a 5-1 victory on Friday, Ole limited South Carolina to two in the first five innings on Saturday. Gamecocks marked Nikhazy for two races on the seventh, but he got out of the inning with two strikes to complete the day.
South Carolina jumped to a 3-0 lead early in today’s second game behind a home run from SEC home run leader Wes Clarke. But the Rebels responded with two races in each of the next two innings to take the lead, drawn from a two-race home run by Kevin Graham.
Beginner in relief Jack Dougherty fielded the rebels for the second straight weekend. He replaced starter Drew McDaniel in the fifth inning of a 4-4 game and quickly retired with 11 strokes in a row, allowing Ole Miss to build the lead with two runs on four hits at the bottom of the sixth.
Dougherty has allowed just one race and three base runners on seven innings in the first two SEC appearances.
Senior team captain Tim Elko came in as a squeeze in the eighth round of the last game. Elko, who popped out to second base, tore his ACL in a game 26 days ago, and it was not clear if he would return this season.
Closer to Taylor Broadway ended both ends of the double-headed by throwing pointless ninths in both matches.
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Contact Nick Suss at 601-408-2674 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @nicksuss on Twitter.