FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Ole Miss Athletics/WTVA) - The Ole Miss offense came alive on Sunday as the No. 21 Rebels (20-9, 5-4) secured a Southeastern Conference road series victory with a 10-5 triumph at No. 8 Arkansas.
After a back-and-forth affair through the first five innings, Ole Miss took over with three runs in both the sixth and seventh. Meanwhile, Tyler Myers came through with a tremendous performance out of the bullpen, going 4.0 scoreless innings with just two hits allowed, no walks and four strikeouts to earn his first career save.
Ole Miss put a run on the board in the first, starting with a one-out walk by Grae Kessinger. Thomas Dillard then moved him to third with a rocket single through the right side, and Cole Zabowski drove the junior shortstop home with a single of his own into right.
Gunnar Hoglund carried that momentum into the bottom half, retiring the Razorbacks in order, striking out the first two batters he faced. Then Kevin Graham kept it going with a monster solo home run that clattered off the light pole in right field.
The Rebels found themselves in a two-on, one-out jam in the second, but Cooper Johnson erased his 10th baserunner of the season, and Hoglund induced an easy groundout to second to escape the jam.
Arkansas knotted the game at two in the fourth after a leadoff base hit and walk ended Hoglund's day and brought Connor Green out of the bullpen. The first run scored on a potential double play, but the hard-hit ball took a bad hop on Jacob Adams and skipped into center field. The Rebels successfully turned a six-four-three double play on the next batter, but the Razorbacks brought home the tying run in the process.
Ole Miss got the lead back in the fifth when Tyler Keenan reached on a leadoff walk and Thomas Dillard smoked a no-out double down the left field line. Then Zabowski continued his outstanding weekend, bringing both home on a base hit to left center.
The Razorbacks took the lead in the bottom half, first tying the contest on a two-run home run by Casey Martin. That brought Zack Phillips out of the bullpen. Arkansas then claimed the lead when Dominic Fletcher dropped a double in the left field corner to score Heston Kjerstad.
In the sixth, Ole Miss swung right back. Ryan Olenek started it off with a walk, followed by a Kessinger single to center. Keenan then drove home his 43rd run of the season with a base hit to right, and Zabowski stayed red-hot, putting the Rebs on top for good with a base hit back up the middle. Graham made it a two-run lead with an RBI groundout before the inning was over.
Holding the lead, Ole Miss called Tyler Myers out of the bullpen. The junior continued his hot streak on the mound, putting together a one-two-three inning.
The Rebels kept pouring it on in the seventh as Servideo sparked one final rally with a single up the middle. He eventually came around all the way to third after stealing second when Razorback catcher Casey Opitz's throw sailed into center field. Olenek promptly brought him home on a single to right. Kessinger kept it going with a double down the left field line, and Dillard made it a five-run Rebel lead, clearing the bases on a single to right field.
From there, Myers made sure that five-run cushion would be more than enough. The junior out of Houston, Texas, gave up a leadoff single to Martin to start the seventh, but he quickly erased him, getting Kjerstad to ground into a double play en route to a clean inning. He came through with a one-two-three eighth, punctuating it with a strikeout of Jack Kenley to end the inning.
In the ninth, Myers gave up a two-out single to Christian Franklin, but the drama ended there as he struck out Martin to give Ole Miss the SEC road series win.
After seven straight games away from home, the Rebels will return to Oxford to host North Alabama Tuesday at 11 a.m. CT for Kids Day at Swayze Field.
- Ole Miss improved to 20-9 overall and 5-4 in SEC play.
- The Rebels have now won four straight series over Arkansas.
- All nine starters reached base for Ole Miss, eight had a hit, six scored a run and five drove in a run.
- Tyler Myers has now gone 10 straight scoreless innings, allowing just four hits in that span while walking none and striking out nine. He also earned his first career save today.
- Grae Kessinger has reached base successfully in 17 straight games and had his 12th multi-hit game of the season.
- Ryan Olenek had his 12th multi-hit game of the season.
- Kevin Graham hit his third career home run.
- Tyler Keenan drove in his SEC-leading 43rd RBI of the season.
- Kessinger hit .421 for the week with five runs scored and two doubles.
- Cole Zabowski finished the week .412 at the plate with seven RBI.