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OXFORD, MISS. – Freshman lefthander Doug Nikhazy pitched 8.0 strong innings in No. 12 Mississippi’s 6-1 victory over Clemson in the winners’ bracket of the Oxford Regional at Swayze Field on Saturday night. The Rebels, who improved to 2-0 in the regional, upped their season record to 39-25. The Tigers, who fell to 1-1 in the regional, dropped to 35-25 on the season. It was the first meeting between the two schools since 1984.
Nikhazy (8-3) earned the win by allowing just four hits, one run and three walks with nine strikeouts in tying his career-long outing and throwing 116 pitches (80 strikes). Tiger starter Mat Clark (9-3) suffered the loss, as he gave up five hits, four runs and three walks with one strikeout in 3.1 innings pitched.
Cole Zabowski and Cooper Johnson led off the second inning with back-to-back home runs, then the Rebels added another run in the frame without a hit. Mississippi scored a run in the fourth inning on a wild pitch and another run in the sixth inning on Grae Kessinger’s sacrifice fly. The Tigers dented the scoreboard in the seventh inning with a run after a double by Grayson Byrd and single by Kyle Wilkie. Pinch-hitter Kevin Graham led off the eighth inning with the Rebels’ third long ball of the game. Michael Green hit a single in the third inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
The Tigers play Jacksonville State in an elimination game on Sunday at 3 p.m. EDT.
Photos by Sierra Heil