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No. 3 Ole Miss defeats No. 2 Arkansas, 13-6, to even the series

No. 3 Ole Miss defeats No. 2 Arkansas, 13-6, to even the series

OXFORD, Miss. – For the second time in three weeks, inclement weather forced the postponement of Ole Miss’ Friday game, again resulting in a doubleheader on day two of the series — this time vs. the No. 2 Arkansas Razorbacks.

Beautiful weather Saturday afternoon and into the evening produced record crowds at Swayze Field with 11,524 fans attending the day game and 11,857 fans at the nightcap, not surprising as two top-three ranked teams in country squared off in a heavyweight battle.

The home standing Rebels dropped the first game, 7-3, to the Razorbacks but came roaring back to even the series with a 13-6 victory in the late game.

Game 1: Ole Miss 3, Arkansas 7

Ole Miss would get off to an early 3-0 lead in the first three innings. In the first, catcher Hayden Dunhurst notched a huge two-out double down the right field line that scored Jacob Gonzalez and Kevin Graham, who had each reached base with singles. Dunhurst went five-for-five in the game. 

Second baseman Peyton Chatagnier doubled with one out in the third inning, and he subsequently scored on a Graham single.

The Rebels would score no more after the early three runs. But that’s not to say they didn’t have opportunities. Ole Miss out-hit Arkansas 14 to 8, but the Rebs left 13 runners on base — including leaving the bases loaded in three innings.

Friday night ace Gunnar Hoglund was super through the first five innings, holding Razorback batters to no hits.  With an elevated pitch count, Hoglund ran into trouble in the sixth and he was relieved after allowing two singles and a walk. He did not factor into the decision. The junior’s eight strikeouts boosted his season total to 78.

He’s amazing every time he goes out there. 

Catcher Hayden Dunhurst on Gunnar Hoglund

Game 2: Ole Miss 13, Arkansas 6

Similar to game one, the Rebels would get off to a quick lead. Ole Miss scored two in the first when Dunhurst singled home Gonzalez, who got aboard with a single of his own to lead off the game for the Red and Blue.

T.J. McCants continued the scoring when he singled home Chatangier.

The big shot of the day offensively occurred in the third inning. Right fielder Hayden Leatherwood cranked a three-run home run to right field much to delight of the students in the student section.

The Ole Miss fans expressed their appreciation in true Rebel fashion as evidenced by the tweet below.

The 394-foot blast scored Graham and Justin Bench and left Leatherwood’s bat at 99 miles per hour.  It was the senior’s second long ball of the season.

In the fifth, the Rebels would match the two runs Arkansas put up in the fourth with two runs of their own. Ben Van Cleve plated Bench for his second run of the game and Gonzales scored McCants.

McCants put another run on the scoreboard for Ole Miss in the seventh when he scored on a double play.

The pesky Hogs simply would not go away, however, as they scored four runs between the sixth and eighth innings to cut the Rebel lead to 8-6.

The slim two-run lead going into the bottom of eighth necessitated additional runs to make the Rebel faithful feel more comfortable going into the ninth — and the Ole Miss bats delivered in a huge way.

Gonzalez led off the inning by reaching on an error and was followed by consecutive singles from Chatagnier and Graham.

A Graham single scored Gonzalez. The bases were then cleared with a two-run triple from Dunhurst off the shin of the Arkansas second baseman that took an odd bounce into right field, much to the chagrin of the Razorback right fielder who was headed to his right to back up the second baseman.  Baseball is a crazy game at times.

Dunhurst then scored on a Bench single and John Rhys Plumlee doubled home Bench. In total, the Rebels scored five runs in the eighth to effectively put the game out of reach.

Defensive web gems were turned in by Chatangier in the first inning, Bench in the second, and Graham in the sixth.

Pitching

From a pitching prospective, usual Saturday starter Doug Nikhazy scattered seven hits and limited Arkansas to two earned runs and four runs total.  The Floridian struck out seven Razorbacks, including two huge strike outs in the fifth when Arkansas led off the inning with back-to-back singles.

Nikhazy improves to 3-1 for the season.

I think one of the big roles as starting pitcher not only is to put up zeros but to creative an environment and the energy in the dugout to have your offense feel comfortable at the plate.

Doug Nikhazy

Elaborating about the run support he received, Nikhazy added: “It’s an awesome feeling . . . it’s a good comforting factor, gives you a little bit of a break and allows the other guys on the offense to say we’re going to go after it today.”

The junior pitcher also took note of the effects of the home crowd.

When Swayze shows up like that, it’s a lot of fun to be on the mound. It gives you an extra boost.

Doug Nikhazy

Middle reliever Drew McDaniel entered the game for Nikhazy in the sixth. Taylor Broadway would come on and record the final eight outs of the game, earning his eighth save of the year.

After the game, Broadway, who said he expected to finish the game upon entering in the seventh inning, was asked about the atmosphere at Swazye. 

This night game quite possibly was the biggest crowd I think I’ve seen, definitely the biggest student section by far.  Definitely, it’s huge, feeling them (the fans) behind you . . . I can’t imagine being a road team . . . For us, it brings us up, helps bring us energy. Definitely hearing it at the end of the game to close it out is a really cool feeling.

Ole Miss closer Taylor Broadway

Rubber Game

The series with Arkansas concludes Sunday at 1:30 p.m. from Swayze Field as the two teams vie to for what could be a No. 1 ranking Monday. 

If game three is anything like the first two of the series, it going to a very hard-fought battle with both teams competing in a post-season type atmosphere.

(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)

About The Author

Chris Muller

Chris Muller is a 1995 Graduate of Ole Miss. He is a collegiate recreational sports professional currently residing in Arlington Texas with his wife of 19 years, Amber, and German Shorthaired Pointer, Sophie. Chris is an avid Ole Miss Baseball and Football fan. His hobbies include watching college football and baseball and playing poker with his friends.

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