Hogs, Rebels set for Super Regional showdown
Series tied 1-1 with pivotal Game 3 this afternoon in Fayetteville
From the Arkansas Razorbacks
FAYETTEVILLE — Matt Goodheart and Dominic Fletcher combined for five of Arkansas’s 12 hits on Sunday, but 12-seed Ole Miss outslugged five-seed Arkansas for a 13-5 win, forcing a deciding third game of the NCAA Fayetteville Super Regional to be played this afternoon at Baum-Walker Stadium.
The winner-take-all game three is set for a 3 p.m. first pitch on ESPN2. The winner advances to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska and will play its first game against the winner of the LSU-Florida State Super Regional.
Arkansas (45-18) jumped out in front early with a two-run home run by Fletcher in the first inning, his 11th of the year and first since May 9 against LSU, however, Ole Miss (41-26) responded with eight-straight runs over the first two innings to build up a six-run lead.
The Hogs pulled within three after scoring three in the fourth behind threestraight two-out doubles by Trevor Ezell, Casey Martin and Goodheart, but the pitching combo of Doug Nikhazy and Houston Roth was strong enough to keep the Razorback hitters at bay. Nikhazy made it through five innings with five runs allowed but struck out eight. Roth finished the game with a four-inning save, his first of the year, giving up just two hits and striking out three.
Today’s game will mark the fifth time Arkansas will play a deciding third game in a Super Regional in its history and the eighth time the Razorbacks and Rebels have faced off this year.
Arkansas starting pitcher Connor Noland didn’t have his best stuff early on as he lasted just one inning and gave up four runs on three hits, throwing just 20 pitches. Kole Ramage, Kevin Kopps and Elijah Trest all followed out of the bullpen after Noland, each throwing at least two of the remaining innings.
The Rebel offense still couldn’t be slowed as Ramage gave up the next four runs while walking six, a career-high. Kopps came in to pitch in the middle of the fourth and gave up just one walk in the fifth. However, Tyler Keenan homered off Kopps in the sixth to make it 9-5 Ole Miss, one of four home runs hit in the game for Ole Miss.
After the Rebels had taken the 8-2 lead after two innings, the Razorback offense finally started to get to Nikhazy in the fourth when Ezell, Martin and Goodheart all roped twoout doubles. Goodheart and Ezell have both had the hot bat all postseason for Arkansas as the duo has combined to hit .477 in the NCAA Tournament. Ezell is 12-for-23 (.522) over five tournament games and has four hits in the super regional alone.
Martin’s bat has also been strong in the super regional as he is 4-for-9 (.444) over the last two games with one double and three RBIs.
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