FAYETTEVILLE | Arkansas leadoff hitter Trevor Ezell saw eight pitches in his first at-bat Saturday, fouling off a couple fastballs and running the count full before lining Will Ethridge’s offering down the left field line for a double.
The ineffective fastballs, the struggle with put-away pitches and Arkansas’ relentless approach carried on throughout most of Saturday afternoon, as the Razorbacks jumped on Ethridge and coasted to a game one super regional win.
“I wasn’t able to locate pitches very well, and they took advantage of it,” Ethridge said.
Arkansas eventually won, 11-2, as Ole Miss’ two runs came on solo home runs from Grae Kessinger and Thomas Dillard in the first and ninth innings, respectively. Kessinger’s occurred on the seventh pitch of the game and gave Ole Miss the lead, but it would be short-lived as the Razorbacks pounced quickly.
Arkansas forced Ethridge into 45 first-inning pitches, and Jack Kenley’s three-run home run punctuated the four-run inning for the Razorbacks. Arkansas added two more in the second inning and eventually ran Ethridge after 3.1 innings, eight runs (six earned), six hits, two strikeouts and two walks.
On the other side, Arkansas ace Isaiah Campbell pitched into the ninth inning during his final home start. Campbell gave up three singles in addition to the two home runs and struck out seven with one walk.
“It comes down to playing well, and did they play well today,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. “We were the opposite. We didn’t have an answer on the mound, and Campbell was too much for us.”
Game two is at 2 p.m. Sunday with a pair of freshmen on the mound — Doug Nikhazy for Ole Miss and Connor Noland for Arkansas.
The fourth and sixth innings were the only time until the ninth that Ole Miss got the leadoff batter on base, and the runner didn’t advance to second in either inning.
Ole Miss was 0-for-8 with runners on base and didn’t have an at-bat with a runner in scoring position. Arkansas was 7-for-19 with runners on base.
The Rebels, at least, saved their main bullpen arms for the rest of the series. Tyler Myers allowed three runs in two innings, and three of four batters reached against Kaleb Hill. Max Cioffi struck out four and didn’t allow a runner the final 2.1 innings.
“They’ll be able to do (move on quickly),” Bianco said. “The losses all sting and this isn’t how you draw it up. But with the score as lopsided as it is, it’s just a win. You have to be able to flush that.”