Well... The only thing to say about that game is that it was truly a bad day at the office. The Hogs put in a 12 hit performance, but couldn’t capitalize on those, as Ole Miss drummed us 13-5. It was a dismal day from the start, and didn’t really show many signs of getting better. You’ve just gotta hope that this is enough of a wake up call to kick the team in gear for the elimination game tomorrow. All week, we heard about how Ole Miss’ bats were hot, and we finally got to see that after Isaiah Campbell pretty much shut them down Saturday. It’s not often that your starting pitcher gets knocked out so early. Noland has shown throughout the year that he can get it done— it just wasn’t his day. Hopefully he can learn from this performance, and overcome that adversity. There’s not much positive to say, but we’ll do our best.
Hogs Hit for Naught
Hopeful Hog fans probably thought we’d see a lot of Razorback runs after Dominic Fletcher’s bomb gave the team an early two run lead, but that wasn’t to be. Offense did show up a little later in the game, as the Hogs only trailed three after a doubles parade by Trevor Ezell, Casey Martin, and Matt Goodheart, but Ole Miss couldn’t be caught. When your pitching staff has a rough day on the mound, it definitely makes it harder to catch up, but I’ll give credit where it’s due: Doug Nikhazy balled out. He handled the adversity of giving up an early homer well, striking out eight Razorbacks. We heard during the lead-up that the Rebels had a weaker bullpen, but the batters weren’t able to dig into it. Hopefully tomorrow, that isn’t the case.
Noland, Ramage, Kopps, and Trest Struggle
On his day this year, Noland has looked like a fantastic starting pitcher for a quality SEC squad. I have no doubt that he’ll maintain that high standard, but it just didn’t happen today. Noland gave up four runs on three hits, only making it 20 pitches before Dave Van Horn pulled him. Definitely not an ideal start, but that didn’t stop the bleeding. Kole Ramage gave up 4 runs as well, also on 3 hits, Kevin Kopps gave up 3 runs on 5 hits, and Elijah Trest gave up 2 runs on 1 hit. It’s rare to see that level of struggle from the Arkansas staff, but it happens. All of them will be able to bounce back. It was apparent though that Dave Van Horn decided that Ole Miss was too far ahead, as he seemingly saved Cody Scroggins, Jacob Kostyshock, and Matt Cronin for tomorrow. I don’t think that was a bad choice, though he did catch some flak for it. It’s a shame that the day went this way, but it provides for a nice bounce back narrative if the boys get it done tomorrow.
No point in dwelling on today. We’ve got a massive elimination game tomorrow that will probably be packed despite the NCAA putting it at a stupid time of day. Whenever we play it’s prime time, I guess. If the bats get Ole Miss to dig deep into their bullpen, and Patrick Wicklander lasts more than an inning, I have faith that his supporting cast can aid him in getting a win. 9 innings away from Omaha, folks. 9 innings.