BATON ROUGE, La. – Freshman southpaw Doug Nikhazy fired 6.1 innings and allowed one run as No. 13 Ole Miss evened the series against No. 9 LSU baseball with a 5-1 win Saturday night in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
With the win, Ole Miss improves to 31-17 and 14-9 in the SEC while LSU falls to 30-17, 14-9 in the league.
The rubber match between the Tigers and the Rebels is slated for Sunday at 2:30 p.m. CT in The Box. The game will be televised on ESPN2, and fans can listen to the game on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge.
Nikhazy improved to 6-3 on the year after limiting LSU to five hits, walking one and striking out four. Austin Miller entered in relief for the Rebels and blanked the Tigers over 1.2 innings with one walk and one strikeout before turning the ball over to Parker Caracci, who worked a scoreless ninth.
Eric Walker dropped to 4-4 on the year after throwing four innings. The sophomore allowed four runs on three hits, walked three and struck out three. Riggs Threadgill, Trent Vietmeier and Matthew Beck combined for the final five innings and allowed one unearned run across three hits and struck out four.
“It just wasn’t our night tonight,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We tell the players all the time that one game does not carry into the next. We had a great win last night, but we didn’t create very much excitement tonight. We just couldn’t get anything done against Nikhazy, and we never put any serious pressure on him.
“He mixed his pitches well, and when we hit him hard it was right at somebody or into the teeth of the wind, and that’s a formula for defeat. The good news we have an opportunity to come right back out here on Sunday afternoon and try to earn a series victory.”
Left fielder Thomas Dillard led off the top of the second inning with a solo home run to right-center to give Ole Miss the 1-0 lead.
With runners on first and second and two outs, first baseman Kevin Grahman hit his sixth home run of the year to right field to extend the Rebels’ lead to 4-0.
In the top of the fifth inning with runners on the corners after right fielder Anthony Servideo doubled and shortstop Grae Kessinger was hit by a pitch and the duo moved to scoring position on a groundball to first base, an error by the shortstop allowed Servideo to cross home and increase the Ole Miss advantage to 5-0.
In his first plate appearance of the game in the first inning, right fielder Antoine Duplantis recorded his 1,020th career at-bat, which is the most in LSU history. The previous record was 1,019 by Jason Williams from 1993-96.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, center fielder Zach Watson doubled off the left field wall and came around to score on a single up the middle by Duplantis, which brought the game within four runs, 5-1.