Game 1: Ole Miss 4, Arkansas 1
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- In game one of Friday's doubleheader, the Ole Miss baseball team batted around and scored four runs in the opening inning. That's all the Rebels (27-16, 11-9 SEC) needed as their pitching limited No. 14 Arkansas to five hits in a 4-1 win. The victory clinched a conference series over the Razorbacks (33-13, 12-9) for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Ryan Rolison (6-2) matched his career high with 6.0 innings of work, allowing only one run on four hits to earn his second win in as many starts. Out of the bullpen, the duo of Will Ethridge and Dallas Woolfolk (9) pitched the final three frames to keep the game in favor of Ole Miss. Ethridge continued his streak of effective outings with 1.1 scoreless innings, while Woolfolk recorded the final five outs to collect another save.
Tate Blackman and Nick Fortes produced multi-hit games to pace the Ole Miss bats. A two-RBI double by Fortes in the first ended up being the game-winning hit. The bottom of the lineup chipped in the three hits among Kyle Watson, Cooper Johnson and Grae Kessinger. Towards the top of the order, Colby Bortles and Will Golsan added one hit and one run apiece.
For the second straight game, the only run Arkansas got off Ole Miss pitching came via a solo home run. Grant Koch went deep for the Razorbacks, while left fielder Luke Bonfield went 2-for-4. The Rebels scored all four of their runs off starter Trevor Stephan (4-3), but he rebounded to finish 6.0 innings.
Ole Miss jumped on the Razorbacks right from the start, sending 10 hitters to the plate to score four runs in the first. Blackman led off the game with a single to left and advanced into scoring position after Golsan was hit by a pitch. Another base hit to left field, this time by Bortles, brought Blackman home for the game's first run. Ryan Olenek moved both runners up 90 feet with a sacrifice bunt, and Fortes knocked in both Rebels with a double down the left field line. Johnson nearly doubled down the line as well, but a diving stop by the Arkansas third baseman prevented the extra-base hit. Nonetheless, the sharply-hit ball was enough for an infield single that allowed another run to cross the dish. After 40 pitches during the 26-minute half inning, the Rebels led comfortably 4-0.
Stephan settled down to keep Ole Miss off the scoreboard, but Rolison pitched the first four innings without allowing a run. After retiring nine straight hitters, the southpaw gave up a solo homer to Koch with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Watson went back to the wall, but the ball barely sailed over his outstretched glove. Despite Arkansas scoring via the long ball, Rolison wasn't rattled as he sent down back-to-back Razorbacks. Through five complete, Ole Miss remained on top 4-1.
Arkansas tried to cut into the Rebels' advantage by putting two Razorbacks on base with one out in the sixth. However, Rolison remained calm by striking out back-to-back hitters to end the threat and put an exclamation point on another victorious quality start.
Ole Miss turned the game over to its bullpen for the final three innings as Ethridge and Woolfolk completed the job. The Razorbacks were only able to get two runners on base over that stretch, but the Rebel relievers made sure there was no threat to the 4-1 victory.
- Ole Miss improved to 14-9 against ranked teams this season, collecting its sixth win over a top 10 team.
- The Rebels won their second three-game series over a top 10 team in 2017.
- Ole Miss has now won five of the past six SEC series against Arkansas, including five straight games.
- The Rebels sent 10 hitters to the plate in the first inning, leading to four runs.
- Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Ryan Rolison tied a career high with 6.0 innings of work, giving up only one run on four hits and a walk. Arkansas' home run in the fifth snapped Rolison's streak of 10.1 straight innings without allowing a run.
- For the second straight game, Will Ethirdge pitched in relief; he tossed 1.1 scoreless innings and now has not allowed an earned run over his last nine appearances (14.0 innings).
- Dallas Woolfolk pitched 1.2 scoreless innings to earn his ninth save of the season; five of Woolfolk's nine saves have been after recording at least four outs.
- Ole Miss improved to 22-1 this season when scoring at least four runs.
Game 2: Arkansas 7, Ole Miss 4
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Ole Miss again jumped out to a lead early in game two of the doubleheader, this time scoring three runs over the first two innings off starting pitcher Kacey Murphy. Murphy who had just two runs given up in his last 16.1 innings of work, struggled out of the gate when Ole Miss' Tate Blackman led off the game with a solo home run. Murphy finished the inning strong with a strikeout and a double play, but ran into more trouble in the second when the Rebels got another home run, this time from Thomas Dillard down the left field line to make it 2-0. Murphy walked the next batter and gave up a double before it was time to go to the bullpen. With Reindl coming out of the bullpen in the second, the Razorback offense was able to respond with a two-run third inning from Koch's second home run of the day. It was the first of three RBIs for the Fayetteville native in the game, as he had a double in the fifth inning that brought in the go-ahead run for the Hogs. Koch's clutch double came right after junior Chad Spanberger hit his 10th home run of the year into the right field bullpen to tie the game at 3-3. Spanberger finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs scored and he was one of three Razorbacks to record a multi-hit game in the tail end of the doubleheader. Reindl was the key hurler that gave the Hogs a chance in the middle innings. Not only was his outing a career-long, but he kept Ole Miss off the board in the third and sixth innings after runners were put into scoring position, giving Arkansas a chance to take the lead. Ole Miss was able to tie the game in the top of the seventh inning as it was the first run giving up by Reindl in the game, but the Razorbacks were able to put together a big inning in the bottom of the eighth to pull away. Carson Shaddy led off the inning with a single, his second hit of the day. Then, Dominic Fletcher reached on an error to put runners on the corners with one out. Biggers followed with a two-out single to retake the lead before Cole provided the two-run insurance with a single to right field, giving Arkansas a 7-4 lead. Freshman Evan Lee closed out the game in the ninth to earn his first collegiate save, needing just six pitches to get the final three outs.
Arkansas will get a nice break before going back on the field for its next series. The Hogs will travel to Knoxville, Tennessee next weekend for a three-game series starting on Thursday at 6 p.m. The Razorbacks and Volunteers will play games two and three on Friday and Saturday, at 5 p.m. and Noon, respectively. Thursday's and Saturday's games will be televised on the SEC Network.