College baseball roundup: Ole Miss and Mississippi State advance to regional championship games; LSU tops Southern Miss
OXFORD (AP) — Ole Miss freshman Doug Nikhazy struck out nine while pitching into the ninth inning, and the Rebels beat Clemson 6-1 on Saturday night to advance to the NCAA Tournament’s Oxford Regional final on their home field.
Ole Miss led for good after Cole Zabowski and Cooper Johnson opened the second inning with back-to-back home runs off Mat Clark (9-3), who allowed four runs over 3 1/3 innings.
Kevin Graham added a pinch-hit homer leading off the eighth for the Rebels (39-25).
Nikhazy (8-3) had already thrown 111 pitches when he came out for the ninth with a chance for the first complete game this season by an Ole Miss pitcher. But the lefty issued his third walk before closer Parker Caracci got the last three outs.
After eight scoreless innings in a win over Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament, Nikhazy limited Clemson to four hits. The Tigers had consecutive hits to start the seventh, but their only run came on a double play grounder.
Clemson (35-25) plays Jacksonville State in an elimination game Sunday afternoon at 2, with the winner facing Ole Miss at 8 p.m.
Mississippi State 7, Central Michigan 2
Ethan Small struck out 10 over six innings, Mississippi State’s offense pounded 16 hits and the Bulldogs rolled to a 7-2 win over Central Michigan on Saturday in the Starkville Regional.
Mississippi State (48-13) scored four runs in the first inning and two more in the third to take a 6-0 lead. Elijah McNamee started the scoring with a two-run double, Josh Hatcher had three hits and two RBIs, and Tanner Allen had four hits, including a solo homer.
Small (9-2) continued his dominant season, running his season strikeout total to 160 over 96 innings.
Central Michigan (47-13) had its 19-game winning streak snapped. Cameron Brown (10-1) gave up 13 hits and six earned runs over 2 1/3 innings. Jason Sullivan hit a two-run homer for the Chippewas.
Mississippi State advanced to the regional championship game. Central Michigan and Miami will play Sunday at 2 p.m. for the right to face the Bulldogs at 8 p.m.
LSU 8, Southern Miss 4
LSU rallied after blowing a four-run lead in the seventh inning to beat Southern Miss and advance to the championship game of the Baton Rouge Regional.
Southern Miss (39-20) tied the game at 4 when Matthew Guidry hit a grand slam off LSU closer Zack Hess in the bottom of the seventh inning. Guidry went to one knee to swing at a curveball and lifted it over the right field wall.
LSU (39-24) regained the lead in the top of the eighth, however, and kept it. Saul Garza hit a two-run single with the bases loaded and scored on another single by Chris Reid to put the Tigers ahead 7-4.
They added another run in the ninth inning when Josh Smith scored on a wild pitch.
Southern Miss only had five hits in the game, two of them by Guidry. All five of its pitchers allowed at least one run.
The Golden Eagles are still alive in the double-elimination regional. They’ll play Arizona State — a team they beat 15-3 in the opening game — Sunday at 2 p.m. The winner will turn around and play LSU at 8 p.m., and must win twice to advance to the super regionals next week.
A deciding game for the regional title would be played Monday at 3 p.m., if necessary.