Ole Miss Baseball Suffers First Setback of Season

The UCF Knights to snapped a 20-game winning streak for the No. 1 Ole Miss Rebels and pull off the upset 3-2 at Swayze Field on Friday.

Posted: Feb 26, 2021 9:30 PM

OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss) — Doug Nikhazy struck out 10 batters while allowing three hits, but a strong pitching effort and the long ball allowed the UCF Knights to snap a 20-game winning streak for the No. 1 Ole Miss Rebels and pull off the upset 3-2 at Swayze Field on Friday.


On the mound, Nikhazy (0-1) went 6.1 innings and gave up two earned runs on 90 pitches, both via solo home runs in the seventh inning. At the plate, Justin Bench and Hayden Dunhurst both went 2-for-4, with runs coming from a Cael Baker RBI single that scored Ben Van Cleve and a Hayden Dunhurst solo home run. On the other end, Colton Gordon gave up six hits and struck out six batters. Gordon also stranded six Rebels on base in a pitchers' duel to open the weekend series.


Nikhazy struck out leadoff hitter Matt Archer to start the game before giving up a center field single by Gephry Pena. Nikhazy took care of the next two batters with the third out coming on a diving catch by Hayden Leatherwood in right field. Colton Gordon then used 11 pitches to get out of the inning, blowing through the top of the Ole Miss order.


The Knights would once again find themselves on the base path as Joshua Crouch reached on a hit-by-pitch, but Nikhazy shut the door once again with two strikeouts and a fly out by Alex Freeland. After Graham grounded out to second base, Gordon walked Van Cleve to get the Rebels on base for the first time. Dunhurst later reached on a fielder's choice, but a strikeout of Baker ended the second inning.


The top of the third began with Nikhazy sitting down Pablo Ruiz, Pena and Archer. Leatherwood took an 0-2 pitch and singled up the middle for Ole Miss' first hit of the game. A double-play cleared the bases before Bench reached on a blooper to shallow right field where the ball dropped between three Knights. Bench stole second base, but Gordon then retired the side with a ground out.
After a walk issued to Nick Romano, Nikhazy responded by taking care of three straight batters to begin the fourth inning, the latter two were fly outs to Bench. Then, Ole Miss broke through. With two outs, back-to-back singles by Van Cleve and Dunhurst set up Baker to get an RBI single and put the Rebels up 1-0.


Nikhazy continued his dominant game on the mound, taking care of the next three UCF batters in the top of the fifth. However, the Rebels could not cash in after a one-out double by Bench was followed up with a pop up an ground out. In the top of the sixth, Nikhazy was still dealing with three straight strikeouts. Gordon still kept things close as he used eight pitches to get out of the sixth inning.


Two pitches into the seventh, Jordan Rathbone tied the game up on a solo homer to left field. That was followed up by another solo shot by Crouch that gave UCF their first lead of the ball game. Mike Bianco turned to Miller out of the bullpen to end the inning. He did so following a pop up and Freeland getting picked off at first base by Dunhurst. Gordon and UCF answered the bell yet again with two strikeouts and a tough diving catch by Pena at center field.


Pena followed that defensive play up with an infield single to third base with one out. Dunhurst then launched a rocket from home plate to catch Pena stealing second. A fly out by Noah Orlando ended the top half of the eighth inning. David Litchfield replaced Gordon on the mound and delivered three ground outs going into the final inning.


Taylor Broadway succeeded Miller on the mound and gave up a 2-1 double to left field. The Knights added another run via error courtesy of Rathbone which gave his team a 3-1 lead. With runners on first and second with two outs, Broadway retired the side with a strikeout looking. Down to his final strike with two outs, Dunhurst hit a line drive home run to left field, making it a one-run game. Baker got beaned on the following pitch, but a ground out ended the game with the Knights pulling off the upset.


SATURDAY DOUBLEHEADER
The Rebels will finish the weekend series with a doubleheader tomorrow, featuring two nine-inning contests. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT with the series finale following 45 minutes after the conclusion.
Saturday's ticket will be valid for both games. The stadium will not be cleared between games. For fans who would like to leave after Game 1 of the doubleheader and allow another fan to use their ticket for Game 2, tickets can be reprinted at the Swayze Field ticket office.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20772248
Hinds19888408
Harrison17489302
Rankin13311275
Jackson13097243
Madison9895210
Lee9856169
Jones8290160
Forrest7523146
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Lowndes6262144
Lamar610584
Lafayette6027117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4419139
Warren4280118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403675
Neshoba3987176
Lincoln3869108
Hancock372085
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3180104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
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Wayne261341
Leake261073
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Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120041
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81823
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518899

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753641487
Mobile37763798
Madison33859494
Tuscaloosa25266443
Montgomery23962565
Shelby23106238
Baldwin20631300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14284311
Morgan14139268
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Marshall11957219
Houston10380278
Elmore9993200
Limestone9811147
Cullman9470188
St. Clair9426234
Lauderdale9215227
DeKalb8746181
Talladega8058171
Walker7087275
Jackson6754110
Autauga6723103
Blount6483135
Colbert6203130
Coffee5399112
Dale4767110
Russell428838
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia387674
Dallas3527149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256258
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218775
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171440
Washington164038
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
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Sumter102932
Coosa99228
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