OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss baseball is Super Regional bound. It took a complete team effort, including heroics from Tim Elko, Taylor Broadway and even Doug Nikhazy, but the Rebels fought off a tremendous Southern Miss rally and captured the NCAA Oxford Regional title with a 12-9 victory.
Ole Miss used six pitchers, including its top two arms to close it out. Jack Dougherty turned in a solid start, allowing two runs in four innings against a Golden Eagle offense that scored 47 runs in five games in Oxford.
Nikhazy came on in relief for the first time since his freshman season and earned his 11th win of the season. Broadway then slammed the door shut with two scoreless innings to earn his 16th save of the year.
Offensively, Elko led the way, going 3-for-3 with three runs scored, five RBI and two home runs, including his third grand slam of the season. Peyton Chatagnier, Kevin Graham and Justin Bench all had multi-hit days, including home runs from Chatagnier and Bench, while Calvin Harris added Ole Miss' fifth home run.
Just like Sunday night, Ole Miss jumped on the board early with a four-spot in the first inning. Jacob Gonzalez opened things up with a double, followed by a two-run shot from Chatagnier. Elko reached on a pop-up that the Southern Miss defense lost in the sun, setting the table for a two-run Justin Bench home run to make it 4-0, Rebels.
A 30-minute lightning delay pressed pause on the bottom of the second inning, but it did nothing to slow the Rebel offense.
Ole Miss loaded the bases on three walks and brought one home on a line drive to left center by Kevin Graham. Elko did the rest, smashing his second grand slam of the NCAA Oxford Regional to left center to make it a 9-0 ballgame.
Southern Miss got two of those runs back, also via the longball, in the third. Dougherty worked the USM order the first time through with just one baserunner allowed, but the top of the order did damage the second time around. Gabe Montenegro singled and Reed Trimble homered to cut it to 9-2.
Dougherty rebounded with a smooth fourth inning, allowing just one baserunner along the way to set up more Elko magic. The senior captain lifted his second home run of the day over the left field wall to make hit 10-2.
Ole Miss went to the bullpen in the fifth, opening the door for a Golden Eagle rally. Southern Miss homered three times in the inning, twice off Cody Adcock and once off Jackson Kimbrell to make it just a three-run game, 10-7.
It was no matter for the Ole Miss offense, however, as Calvin Harris launched a two-run home run to stretch the gap back to five.
Derek Diamond, who started Friday's win over Southeast Missouri, entered in relief in the sixth and quickly retired two Southern Miss batters before allowing a double and walking two to load the bases.
In a pinch, Coach Mike Bianco turned to ace Nikhazy, and the two-time All-American came through with a three-pitch strikeout to strand three Golden Eagles.
Even Nikhazy couldn't keep the USM bats at bay for long as the Golden Eagles tagged the lefty for two solo home runs in the seventh to make it just a three-run game, 12-9. The First Team All-SEC pitcher bounced back with a strikeout to end the inning.
From there, it was the Taylor Broadway show. The Rebel closer allowed just one hit over the final two innings and struck out three, including a game-ending K to send Ole Miss on to the Super Regionals for the second consecutive season.
The Rebels will now hit the road for the NCAA Tucson Super Regional, where they'll take on the No. 5 national seed Arizona. Selection of the eight super regional hosts will be announced on www.NCAA.com/cws, Tuesday, June 8 at approximately 7 a.m. (CT). All eight super regional hosts will be selected from the 16 regional hosts.