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Ole Miss baseball SEC Sunday doubleheader live blog

Mother Nature came down hard on Oxford Saturday, forcing Ole Miss’ Mike Bianco to reschedule Saturday’s game against Kentucky into a doubleheader on Sunday, something he likes to do just about as much as the NCAA likes paying players (bad joke, my apologies – but hey it’s a live ‘blog,’ not an AP-style story, so the joke’s on you).

The Diamond Rebels are set to play two, seven inning games on Sunday against 2-11 in the SEC Kentucky. In replacement of two, back-to-back, short game stories, follow along to the games here with a live blog that I’ll update periodically over the course of the afternoon.

Game 1: Mason Hazelwood (LHP) v. Doug Nikhazy (LHP)

Top 2: 1-0 Wildcats

Kentucky’s T.J. Collette took Doug Nikhazy deep to right center for the first run of a game. For what it’s worth, this is probably the most forgotten home run in college baseball history, as it happened while Tiger Woods was walking up the 18th fairway in route to his fifth green jacket.

Top 3: 2-0 Wildcats

An RBI-single from Coltyn Kessler scores a Kentucky baserunner to give them a 2-0 lead.

Top 4: 4-0 Wildcats

The wind is really blowing out hard here today at Swayze. Nikhazy gave up another HR – this time a 2-run shot – on a ball that would’ve otherwise been a pop up on a normal day. He’s replaced quickly by Tyler Myers – first time Doug Nikhazy has looked like a true freshman pitching in the SEC all year.

Final Line for Nikhazy: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 6 K, 0 BB, 4 ER

Top 7: 4-0 Wildcats

Nothing going for the Rebels offensively. Only five hits through the first six innings. Max Cioffi replaced Myers on the bound last inning.

Final Line for Myers: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 0 ER

Final Line for Cioffi: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 4 K, 0 ER

Final Game 1: 4-1 Wildcats

Kevin Graham hits a solo shot home run in the bottom of the seventh for the only Ole Miss run of game one of the doubleheader. The loss snaps Ole Miss’ six-game conference win streak, dropping them to 9-5 in SEC play.

Game two of the doubleheader will start at approximately 4:25 p.m. Ole Miss’ starter for the second game is to be announced, but if I had to guess, Bianco is going to go with Gunnar Hoglund for game two.

 

Game 2: Zack Thompson (2-0, 1.99 ERA) v. Gunnar Hoglund (7-1, 4.05 ERA)

Top 3: Scoreless at 0-0

It’s been a pitchers battle and a lot of early zeros between Ole Miss’ true freshman Gunnar Hoglund and Kentucky’s Zack Thompson, one of the best in the entire nation. Hoglund has struck out 4 of the first 6 batters without allowing a hit; Thompson’s only allowed hit was a double by Cole Zabowski in the right field gap.

Bottom 4: 3-0 Wildcats

Gunnar Hoglund was fantastic through three innings. He hit a Kentucky batter to open the fourth then allowed a one-out single to put runners at the corner with one out. Getting so close to working himself out of a jam, Hoglund struck out the next batter and got up 0-2 on T.J. Collett before Collette took him deep to right field for the lead.

Bottom 5: 4-0 Wildcats

Hoglund gave up one more run in the fifth when a Kentucky batter put a ball to the fence in left center that scored a runner from first. Rebel center fielder Ryan Olenek left the game after colliding with the ball on the play. Austin Miller replaces Hoglund and strikes out the final batter.

Final Line for Hoglund: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 8 K, 1 HBP, 3 ER

Top 6: 4-2 Wildcats

Grae Kessinger’s hot streak continues. With runners on the corners, Kessinger doubled down the left field line, scoring two runs on Kentucky’s ace. Kessinger has now reached base in 25 straight.

After walking Tyler Keenan with two outs, Kentucky struck out Thomas Dillard to end the inning.

Final Line for Miller: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 4 K, 0 ER

Final Game 2: 4-2 Wildcats

 

Best and Worst from Sunday’s two games

Best:

  • Tiger Woods won The Masters, his first major since 2008 and first Masters since 2005. Unrelated to baseball? Sure. But stop being such a curmudgeon.
  • Kevin Graham – the freshman had only one at bat in 14 innings Sunday, but with it he hit a homer. 
  • Kentucky’s Zack Thompson – one of the best pitchers in college baseball was on fire in the second game Sunday. Thompson, the No. 15 ranked draft-eligible player on MLB.com, went six innings in game two, allowing five hits and two earned runs, striking out eight.
  • Grae Kessinger. Kessinger went 3-4 in game two Sunday 7-10 on the weekend.

Worst:

  • Situational hitting – In 14 innings, Ole Miss tallied just 13 hits and 3 runs. In the second of the seven-inning games, NINE Ole Miss runners were left stranded base. Not great for a team built on the offense
  • Ryan Olenek – the Ole Miss center fielder collided full speed with the wall in left center tracking a well hit ball in the 5th inning of game two. He was down for a while, leaving the game with what appeared to be a hip injury. Will update when we know more
  • Kentucky’s T.J. Collett – (this also counts as a best if you’re a weird Kentucky fan reading this) – The Wildcat DH hit two homers on Sunday, driving in a total of 4 runs. Both homers broke the tie. 
  • The 7-inning game concept – weather caused these games to go to seven-inning doubleheaders. Ole Miss’ pitching strength for most of the year has come in the bullpen (Austin Miller, Tyler Myers, Parker Caracci, etc.). The shortened games lessened the importance of one of the bigger Rebel advantages in the series.