15 May

a glimpse?

It’s not hard to imagine seeing, a few years down the road, in a major league stadium, a rematch of the duel that took place on Friday night in Oxford. Two highly regarded MLB draft prospects — Ole Miss’ Doug Nikhazy and Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker — went toe-to-toe in a scouts’ delight before a wild and crazy crowd at Swayze Field. Nikhazy got the win this time, holding second-ranked Vandy to five hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts over seven innings in a 3-1 victory. Rocker also went seven, allowing five hits (including homers by Kevin Graham and TJ McCants) and one walk with eight K’s. The big right-hander lost for just the second time against 11 wins. His ERA rose to 2.44. With Gunnar Hoglund out for the year with an arm injury, Ole Miss, ranked 17th by Baseball America, needs more stuff like this from lefty Nikhazy (7-2, 1.89 ERA) with the SEC Tournament and NCAAs ahead. In MLB Pipeline’s latest prospect rankings, the 6-foot Nikhazy, who relies more on breaking stuff than an overpowering fastball, checked in at No. 100. The 6-4 Rocker, who throws very hard, was No. 3. They certainly didn’t look that far apart on Friday night.

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