Mississippi is one win away from its first national title after a 10-3 victory over Oklahoma in Game 1 of the 2022 men's College World Series finals.
Jack Dougherty made his first start in three months and was fantastic for the Rebels. The right-handed sophomore was perfect for five innings. He did show signs of fatigue in the sixth, as Oklahoma broke through with three consecutive hits, a walk and a run before getting pulled.
Dougherty finished the game with six strikeouts and one walk on 72 pitches. It was the second time all season he has pitched at least five innings in a game (March 19 at Auburn).
Kendall Rogers @KendallRogers
Came into tonight's game thinking if Jack Dougherty could give <a href="https://twitter.com/OleMissBSB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@OleMissBSB</a> four or five innings, that would be a win. Well, he's given them four flawless innings so far. Pretty special performance thus far. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MCWS?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MCWS</a>
Ole Miss head coach Mike Blanco did tempt fate by letting Dougherty stay in as long as he did. The Sooners had the bases loaded with no outs when Mason Nichols came into the game.
Nichols nearly escaped the inning unscathed with back-to-back strikeouts of Peyton Graham and Blake Robertson. He walked Tanner Tredaway to allow a run score before getting Jimmy Crooks to ground out to end the threat.
The top six hitters in the Sooners lineup combined to go 1-for-21 with eight strikeouts. Oklahoma's lone extra-base hit was a double by Sebastian Orduno with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Oklahoma starter Jake Bennett overcame some early struggles to turn his own solid performance with 10 strikeouts over 6.1 innings. He got the first two outs of the game on six pitches before things took a turn.
Tim Elko, who finished 4-for-5, got the rally started with a single. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and came around to score on Kevin Graham's RBI single. After Graham advanced to third on a steal and wild pitch, Peyton Graham's error on a routine grounder at short allowed him to score.
Justin Bench made it a 3-0 game in the top of the second with an RBI single. Elko added a solo homer in the top of the third. Bennett only allowed two more singles after that before getting lifted with one out in the top of the seventh.
Clinging to a 4-2 lead, Ole Miss added some insurance in the top of the eighth with back-back-to-back homers off Chazz Martinez. TJ McCants got it started with a pinch-hit two-run home run, followed by solo blasts from Calvin Harris and Bench.
NCAA Baseball @NCAABaseball
⚾️ MCWS History ⚾️<br><br>First time since 1998 back-to-back-to-back HRs in the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MCWS?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MCWS</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/LSUbaseball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LSUbaseball</a> Brad Cresse, Clint Earnhart and Wes Davis vs. Mississippi State on June 1, 1998 <a href="https://t.co/pEkfYlTp2c">pic.twitter.com/pEkfYlTp2c</a>
The top of the ninth saw the Rebels put the cherry on top with an RBI double by Peyton Chatagnier (3-for-5 overall) and a sacrifice fly by Hayden Dunhurst.
Saturday was the second time in the past four games that Mississippi has scored at least 10 runs.
This marks the first time that Oklahoma has faced elimination since the super regional against Virginia Tech. The Sooners lost Game 2 of that series 14-8 before rebounding with an 11-2 victory the next day.
In five previous appearances in the College World Series, the Rebels only advanced to the semifinals twice (1956, 2014). They have two opportunities to win one more game and capture the first College World Series title in program history.
Game 2 of the series will be played on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.