The Ole Miss Rebels took on No. 10 Arkansas in Fayetteville this weekend. Fresh off a 4-2 loss to in-state rival Mississippi State last Tuesday, the Rebels bounced back with a 2-3 series win over the Razorbacks.
Head coach Mike Bianco gave James McArthur the game-one start on Thursday, and the right-handed sophomore did not disappoint. McArthur gave up one hit, a solo shot from the Razorbacks’ Jard Gates, over eight innings of work as the Rebels held Arkansas to a single run on the night.
The Ole Miss offense came alive Thursday night as the Rebels racked up four two-run dingers en route to their eventual 9-1 victory. Colby Bortles was responsible for two of the homers, while Tim Rowe and Tate Blackman contributed the other two.
Freshman Will Ethridge relieved McArthur in the ninth inning, closing out the game and securing the Rebel victory.
Friday featured a doubleheader that saw the Rebels split the day’s games, taking the first and barely losing the second.
The series was switched to a doubleheader due to impending weather that was supposed to sweep across the Midwest come Friday evening. Although the lights were turned on at Baum Stadium by the sixth inning of the doubleheader’s first game, the rain held off long enough for the teams to complete the games.
In the first game of the doubleheader, SEC Freshman of the Week Ryan Rolison almost replicated his performance against Mizzou, allowing just four hits in six innings of work.
The only run Rolison conceded was a home run on a 3-2 fastball to Grant Koch, hit deep over the left field wall. Arkansas now leads the SEC with 57 home runs.
The Rebel offense impressed yet again as it put together a four-run first inning, enough to ensure Ole Miss’ eventual victory. Blackman contributed two hits, and Nick Fortes knocked in two of the four RBIs. Junior Will Golsan and Bortles each added a run and a hit to the Ole Miss tally.
Ethridge was called on to relieve Rolison in the seventh, and Dallas Woolfolk closed the game out with 1.2 innings of work, securing the series win over the Razorbacks. Woolfolk, who earned the five-out save, was recently named to the Stopper of the Year Award watch list. The award is given to college baseball’s top relief pitcher.
Game three kicked off immediately after the conclusion of game two. Bianco’s team continued its impressive offensive form, putting four runs up on Arkansas, but the Rebel defense faltered this time around.
The Razorbacks took advantage of a number of errors and pitching miscues to amass a total of seven runs, three of which came from Arkansas catcher Grant Koch’s bat. Redshirted sophomore Brady Feigl pitched 2.1 scoreless innings in relief as the Rebels tried, unsuccessfully, to mount a comeback.
A bright spot in an otherwise disappointing match for the Rebels, switch hitter Thomas Dillard hit his fourth home run of the year in the second inning. The game finished with Arkansas on top by a score of 7-4.
The Rebels now look forward to the busy five-game week ahead.
Ole Miss will face Louisiana-Monroe on Tuesday and Wednesday before heading to Gainesville, Florida, for a three-game weekend shootout with the Gators.