FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Not even the lucky powder blue uniforms could cool down the red-hot Razorbacks Monday.
Arkansas erupted for 14 runs on 12 hits to cruise past the Rebels, 14-1, in Baum Stadium. The win sends Arkansas (46-18) to the College World Series for the second-straight season. Ole Miss finishes the year 41-27.
(Click here for box score.)
Heston Kjerstad paced a Hog-wild offense with three hits – two doubles and a homer – while driving in four runs. Trevor Ezell also had three hits for the Razorbacks.
Cody Scroggins came on in relief and owned the Rebels’ hitters. He pitched 4 1/3 innings, surrendered just two hits and struck out eight – including striking out the side in the top of the sixth. The junior right-hander ended up striking out half of the batters he faced.
Yet to begin the game, the Arkansas onslaught seemed to possibly be a Rebels’ rout.
In the first, Ryan Olenek took a pitch to the shin to give Ole Miss a baserunner and he then moved to third off Cole Zabowski’s single. Cooper Johnson’s clutch two-out to center scored Olenek to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead, but that is all the Rebels could muster for the remainder of the game.
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The Razorbacks did not score in the bottom half of the inning–which seemed to bode well for Ole Miss. In the first two games of the Super Regional, the team that won the first inning went on to win the game.
After two quick outs in the second inning, Arkansas’ Patrick Wicklander hit Knox Loposer, walked Thomas Dillard and both moved up on a wild pitch. That ended the day for the freshman.
Scroggins came on in relief and struck out Olenek to get the Razorbacks out of the inning. From there, Scroggins took care of the Rebel hitters while the Arkansas bats went to work.
Essentially, that was it for the Ole Miss offense.
Still trailing by only one run, Arkansas came back in the second. After two were out, Kjerstad hit a liner to left that bounced off the heel of Dillard’s glove, and the Razorback ended up at second with what was scored as a double. Jack Kenley followed by getting hit by a pitch, and then Casey Optiz sent a shot over the infield to score Kjerstad with the tying run.
Jacob Nesbit then ripped a ball that hugged the left field line for a run-scoring double. Gunnar Hogland got Christian Franklin to fan for the second out, but Trevor Ezell singled right to bring in Opitz and Nesbit for a 4-1 Arkansas lead.
In the third, Hoglund surrendered a single to Matt Goodheart and then walked Dominic Fletcher before giving Ole Miss reliever Austin Miller the two-on, no-out situation.
Kjerstad greeted Miller with a two-run double on the first pitch he saw to extend the Hogs’ lead to 6-1 as both Fletcher and Goodheart scored.
Arkansas added another when Opitz singled down the right field line to score Kjerstad, giving the Hogs a 7-1 lead after three innings.
The Razorbacks began the fourth with a leadoff walk that eventually scored on a wild pitch, pushing Arkansas’ lead to 8-1.
Kjerstad was no nicer to Miller in their second meeting when they faced in the fifth inning. This time, Kjerstad went yard and the Razorbacks were pouring it on.
To sum up the day for the Rebels, in the eighth inning, Johnson doubled to give Ole Miss a scoring threat. But when Tyler Keenan singled to center with two outs, Johnson was nailed at the plate to end the inning.
Johnson and Keenan each had two hits. The duo accounted for four of the seven hits the Rebels managed.
Scoggins earned the win for Arkansas, Hogland was tagged with the loss.