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Ole Miss defeats Arkansas, 13-5, to force Super Regional Game 3

Ole Miss defeats Arkansas, 13-5, to force Super Regional Game 3

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas had the opportunity to punch its ticket to the College World Series with a win Sunday. But it was Ole Miss who took advantage of opportunities to rout the Razorbacks, 13-5.

The series now moves to Monday with the winner of the 3 p.m. matchup packing its bags for Omaha.

Ole Miss was disciplined at the plate, coaxing eight walks from Hogs’ pitchers. The Rebels also were disciplined enough to wait for pitches that could be driven as they hit four home runs in the game — the most Arkansas had surrendered all season. 

And although Arkansas played errorless ball, the Hogs kicked it around enough to allow Rebel baserunners to run wild.

Yet the Hogs – the designated visitors in game two – opened things up as if they were ready to be Nebraska bound.

Trevor Ezell received a gift from the Rebels as he led off the game. He popped a lazy fly ball to the right side of the infield and Jacob Adams and Cole Zabowski took an “I-got-it-you-take-it” approach. The ball fell harmlessly between the two Rebels, and Ezell had an easy single.

Two outs later, Ezell also had an easy trot home as Dominic Fletcher sent a no-doubt shot out to right to put the Razorbacks ahead early, 2-0.

But Zabowski more than made up for the Rebels’ defensive woes in the bottom half of the inning. After Thomas Dillard singled to open the frame and Grae Kessinger was hit by a pitch, Zabowski launched a shot over the right field bullpen to give the Rebels a 3-2 lead.

Cooper Johnson opened the second doing what most had been doing – taking a shot to right. This ball cleared the wall and Ole Miss led 4-2. That shot chased Arkansas starter Connor Noland from the game.

Kole Ramage came on in relief and immediately walked Anthony Servideo, but he got Adams to hit into a fielder’s choice to erase Servideo. Adams moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and Dillard took first on Ramage’s second walk of the inning. Ramage then threw four-consecutive bad pitches to load the bases after Kessinger took first on the walk.

Ramage then threw a strike he would love to have back.

Tyler Keenan sent a laser to left center that bounced off the base of the wall for a bases-clearing triple and a 7-2 Rebel advantage.

Zabowski then drew a walk to put runners at the corners for Ole Miss with one out.

Ryan Olenek followed by sending a grounder to third, but he beat the relay throw to first for an RBI fielder’s choice as Kennan scored and increased the Rebels lead to 8-2.

Arkansas attempted to mount a rally in the top of the third. The Razorbacks put runners on first and second via a walk and a hit batter, then Fletcher laid down a perfect bunt to load the bases with one out. 

But Doug Nikhazy got Heston Kjerstad to watch strike three and then induced a soft foul ball from Jack Kenley to stop the rally and leave the bases loaded.

An inning later, the Hogs sliced into the lead on three consecutive two-out RBI doubles to cut the deficit to 8-5.

In the fifth, Arkansas brought the tying run to the plate after putting runners on first and second with one out.  Nikhazy, calm as ever, was able to strike out Jacob Nesbit for the second out, but each runner moved up a base when Johnson had the ball get away from him. 

Pinch hitter Zack Plunkett ended the inning when he went down swinging at Nikhazy’s 108th pitch of the game. 

Coach Mike Bianco sent Houston Roth in to pitch the sixth. After getting the first two Razorbacks out in the inning, Goodheart reached him for a double, but Fletcher flied to left to end the inning.

Keenan gave the Rebs a 9-5 lead in the sixth with an insurance home run – ironically hit over the State Farm sign in right field. 

Later in the inning, the Rebels found themselves with the bases loaded with two outs. Servideo hustled out an infield single to score a pair of runners, and Ole Miss again was up by six, 11-5.

In the seventh, Kessinger blasted his second homer of the Super Regional, this one with a runner aboard, to put the Rebels ahead, 13-5.

Ole Miss improves to 41-26, while the Razorbacks fall to 45-18.

Noland (3-5) absorbed the loss, giving up four runs on three hits in just one inning.

Nikhazy (9-3) was clutch when he needed, striking out eight in five innings to earn the victory. Houston Roth records the save. 

About The Author

Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers. He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio. A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series. Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time. He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk. Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

1 Comment

  1. Carl Tetrick

    Congrats Rebels awesome game and good luck tomorrow.

    Reply

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