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Showdown in Oxford: No. 3 Ole Miss hosts No. 2 Arkansas in SEC clash

Showdown in Oxford: No. 3 Ole Miss hosts No. 2 Arkansas in SEC clash

UPDATE: DUE TO WEATHER, THE SERIES OPENER WAS MOVED TO SATURDAY. THE REBS AND HOGS ARE PLAYING A DOUBLE-HEADER SATURDAY, BEGINNING AT 1:00 P.M. SUNDAY’S GAME REMAINS AS SCHEDULED. 

Ticket info below.

OXFORD, Miss. — The No. 3-ranked Ole Miss Rebels (23-6, 7-2 Southeastern Conference) welcome the No. 2-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks (24-4) to Swayze for what is sure to be the premier heavyweight clash of the college baseball elite this season.

In the Hogs, the Rebels will face what some might say is their most bitter rival over the last 20 years. This includes the most recent loss to the Razorbacks in the Fayetteville Super Regional that advanced Arkansas to the 2019 College World Series.

Scouting the Hogs

Game One – Saturday at 1:00 p.m. 

In Game One, Ole Miss’ Friday-night ace Gunnar Hoglund (3-1, 2.47 ERA) returns to the mound after suffering the RHP’s only loss on the season to Florida last weekend.

The Razorbacks will start LHP Patrick Wicklander (1-1, 2.47 ERA). Wicklander is a 6’1,” 205-lb junior out of San Jose, CA. The Friday night starter for Arkansas lives on three pitches that he looks to place strategically throughout the strike zone.

Wicklander’s fastball is clocked in the low-90s and has a nice running and sinking action, and he uses his fastball primarily on the corners of the plate. He mixes in a dramatic slow curve that has a 12-6 break.  With a 3/4s arm slot, Wicklander locates his pitches well and keeps batters off-balance instead of blowing them away with blazing speed.

Game Two – One hour and fifteen minutes after Game One

Ole Miss LHP Doug Nikhazy (2-1, 2.25 ERA) will make his return to the mound at Swayze for his first start at home since an injury took him out of the rotation after the Belmont series on March 5.

Doug will be pitted against the Hogs’ RHP Peyton Pallette (1-1 3.25 ERA) who is a 6’1,” 175-lb sophomore out of Benton, Arkansas. The Razorbacks’ Saturday starter has pushed his fastball velocity up to 95 mph since joining Arkansas in 2019.  With his velocity as high as it is, he tosses a devastating curveball.  He also has the ability to throw in a change-up when needed.

Game Three – Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

On Sunday, the Rebels’ Derek Diamond (3-3, 4.89 ERA) will matchup against RHP Lael Lockhart (1-1, 3.41 ERA).

Doc Diamond took the loss on Saturday in Gainesville, FL, but he will look to jack his velocity back up and show his wide array of pitches against Arkansas.

The 6’3,” 220 lb. Lockhart, a graduate transfer from the University of Houston and a native of Friendswood, TX, has a broad selection of weapons that he uses to his advantage. His fastball is in the low-to-mid-90s but has life and is used on the corners.

Lockhart’s curveball has tight spin, and with its depth he uses this along with a fading change-up with nice arm speed.  Lockhart is mechanically sound and uses a compact motion along with a low-effort delivery to get the job done for the Razorbacks.

Swayze is the epicenter

This SEC weekend should crush attendance records for the 2021 season and could set new attendance records for both individual game attendance and series attendance in O-U Stadium.  Regardless of the numbers, however, SEC baseball is rocking this nation with four of its teams in the Top 5.

Although the injury bug has hit Ole Miss hard this season, including the most recent injury to team captain Tim Elko, Rebels’ head coach Mike Bianco is not looking at it as a loss. While Elko was most recently recognized as the Hitter of the Month for March (NCBWA) and is arguably–or maybe easily–the hottest hitter in college baseball this season, Coach B. said this “…should be looked at as an opportunity for another player or players to step up their game.”

This is no time to sit back and feel sorry for ourselves.  What it is allowing for is an opportunity for highly-touted newcomers like Trey LaFleur, T.J. McCants, and Calvin Harris to get extended time in the lineup to prove they can get this job done for the remainder of the season. It allows some of our veteran players such as Hayden Leatherwood and Ben Van Cleve to get fired up for the remainder of this season.

It is time for the Rebels to use their God-given talents and abilities just the way they dreamed of prior to joining the Red and Blue. This lineup is primed and ready for the battle that lies ahead of them over the next three days.

All eyes will be on Oxford, Mississippi this weekend. The Diamond Rebs return home to create an earth-shattering quake that will shake up the college baseball world — and Swayze Field is the epicenter.

TICKET INFO

Tickets for Friday’s game will be honored for Game 1 of the doubleheader and gates will open at 11 a.m. CT. The stadium, right field and left field will be cleared at the conclusion of Game 1. 

Tickets for Saturday’s game will be honored for Game 2 of the doubleheader. Entry for Game 2 will not begin until after the entire stadium has cleared. Ticket holders will use their current tickets for the rescheduled game times. New tickets will not be issued and mobile tickets will update automatically to reflect the new game date.

In the Diamond Club, Dugout Club, and Rooftop Plaza, Friday’s ticket will be used for Game 1 of the doubleheader. Servicing for both games will take place between 10:30-11 a.m. CT.  Saturday’s ticket will be used for Game 2 of the doubleheader. At the top of the 8th inning of the first game, we will begin scanning the Saturday Arkansas ticket and distributing wristbands to those club members staying for Game 2. If you wish to leave the stadium after the conclusion of Game 1 and return later for Game 2, please do NOT have your Saturday ticket scanned until you return for the second game. If you only have a Friday ticket, you will need to exit the club at the conclusion of Game 1. If you only have a Saturday ticket, you will be able to enter after the stadium is cleared from Game 1. Please use your designated club gate to enter the stadium.

Game Info

Game 1 – Saturday at 1:00 p.m. on SECN

Game 2 – Saturday, one hour and fifteen minutes after the conclusion of Game 1 – SECN+

Game 3 – Sunday at 1:30 p.m. on SECN+

About The Author

Chad Smith

Chad holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Ole Miss and stays immersed in Rebel sports and alumni affairs. As a second-generation Rebel, he loves everything that makes the university unique and appealing. While he supports every sport on campus, his primary love is Ole Miss Baseball. As a baseball scout and creator of the only group dedicated to Ole Miss Baseball, Chad enjoys focusing on the players’ and the team's success on and off the field. The unique atmosphere created by the fans, facilities and coaching staff has transformed Swayze Field into a world-class program that others only dream of having. Chad currently lives in Lula, Georgia with his wife Danielle, his German Short-Haired Pointer Renegade "Hotty Toddy," and a cat named Boudreaux.

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