Ole Miss baseball came out swinging in its 10-3 victory in Game 1 against Oklahoma in the College World Series championship series.
Before it was all over, the Rebels had 16 hits in the game with 4 home runs, including back-to-back-to-back round-trippers to put the game out of reach in the 8th inning.
But it wasn’t just offense. The Rebel pitchers—starter Jack Dougherty and relievers Mason Nichols and Josh Mallitz—were totally in command of the mound and kept a potent Oklahoma offense down most of the night.
Before the Sooners ever got up to bat in the bottom of the 1st, the Rebels led 2-0. Ole Miss scored two runs in the top of the 1st inning off OU starting pitcher Jake Bennett, a left-hander. There were two outs when Tim Elko singled to right, and the Rebel offense took off.
After Elko moved to second base on a wild pitch, Kevin Graham singled to left field to score the Rebel captain. Graham stole second and advanced to third on another wild pitch. Kemp Alderman reached on a ball hit to the shortstop, who was unable to make a clean play on it for an error. Graham was able to score on the play, and the Rebels had their two early runs.
In the 2nd, Ole Miss added another run. There were two outs once again when Calvin Harris singled and was later able to advance to second on another wild pitch. Justin Bench singled through the right side to get Harris home, and it was 3-0 Rebels.
In the top of the 3rd, Ole Miss added another run, this time on a leadoff solo homer by Elko to the right field corner at the Rebel bullpen, and the score stood 4-0.
Dougherty continued his quick work in the bottom of the 3rd with three strikeouts of Sooner batters, all of them swinging.
There was no scoring in the Rebel 6th, and Dougherty was back out in the bottom of the inning. After 15 consecutive Sooners were retired, their first hit of the game came from Jackson Nicklaus on the first pitch of the 6th. Sebastian Orduno then singled, and OU had something going for the first time and with no outs.
A bunt by Kendall Pettis was picked up by Garrett Wood, but his throw to first got past Elko and allowed Nicklaus to score. Runners were on first and second and still there were no outs. John Spikerman then walked to load the bases. Dougherty was replaced at that point by freshman Mason Nichols. For the night, Dougherty allowed only two earned runs on three hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
The first batter Nichols faced, Peyton Graham, struck out swinging. Blake Robertson also struck out swinging. Tanner Tredaway then walked, and the Sooners had cut the Ole Miss lead in half at 4-2. Jimmy Crooks then grounded out to Nichols, and that ended any more scoring for OU in the 6th.
In the 7th, Bennett got Harris to strike out, and Oklahoma went to its bullpen. Left-hander Chazz Martinez came in with one out. Bench grounded out to the shortstop, and Gonzalez then walked. Elko singled to right, but Graham hit a ball right back to Martinez who threw to first baseman Robertson to end the top of the seventh.
In the bottom of the 7th, Nichols got the Sooners three up, three down with two swinging strikeouts, followed by a strikeout looking to Orduno.
Kemp Alderman led off an extremely productive Rebel eighth with a base hit to right. Peyton Chatagnier followed that up with a single to center. Shortly thereafter, the Rebels made CWS history with three straight home runs.
McCants launched one into the Ole Miss bullpen, and the Rebels led 6-2. The offense wasn’t done. Harris, from just across the Missouri River in Iowa, sent one 430 feet in that direction, and the score was 7-2. Bench completed the trifecta, launching one out to left for the first back-to-back-to-back home runs at the College World Series since it moved to Charles Schwab Field, and the first in CWS history since LSU accomplished the feat against Mississippi State in 1998.
When Bench sent one to left and over the fence, it was 8-2 Rebels, and OU made a pitching change. Left-hander Carter Campbell got a ground out to end it.
To start the Sooner 8th, Josh Mallitz replaced Nichols, who struck out five and walked one, facing seven batters. After a walk and a balk, Mallitz struck out two but gave up a RBI single that cut the UM lead to 8-3.
In the 9th, the Rebels got an RBI double from Chatagnier, which scored Elko after he had singled and Alderman doubled. After that, Dunhurst flew out to left to get Alderman home. It was a 10-3 UM lead, and that was all the scoring.
Mallitz then finished up pitching duties in the 9th with a couple of Sooners aboard, and Ole Miss had moved on to a Sunday championship series game at 2 PM CT with a 1-0 lead in the series.
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco, 1B Tim Elko, pitchers Jack Dougherty and Mason Nichols all talked about their performance and the win after the game. Video is courtesy of the NCAA and The College World Series.