BLOG: The No. 22 Rebels will go for their first Southeastern Conference sweep of the season — and first versus Arkansas since 2009 — today.
First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m. The game will be televised on Cox Sports.The Rebels head into today’s series finale in the driver seat after claiming two wins over the visiting Razorbacks on Saturday.
Due to closing out the second game yesterday, R.J. Hively’s usual spot in the weekend rotation will be filled by freshman Sam Smith.
The right-hander is no stranger to starts, having made seven of them this season, but his 11th appearance will mark his first start against an SEC opponent.
On the year, Smith is 2-2 with a 4.01 ERA. In 33.2 innings, Smith has struck out 27 and walked seven. Opponents are hitting .293 off the Lake Charles, La., native.
Smith has struggled against SEC competition, allowing two runs without recording an out on March 31 against Florida and three more runs in 3.2 innings against Mississippi State on Tuesday.
While the Rebels would like to see Smith go the distance, it’s more realistic to anticipate them using a “Johnny Wholestaff” approach on the mound today.
Opposite Smith will be veteran right-hander D.J. Baxendale.
Baxendale is 6-2 on the year with a 3.88 ERA. In 48.2 innings, Baxendale has struck out 41, walked 12 and opponents are hitting .268 off of him.
The Arkansas junior is no stranger to Ole Miss. Last season, Baxendale was saddled with the loss after surrendering two runs in 8.1 innings while also striking out eight against one walk.
Two days later, Baxendale pitched one scoreless frame to earn his third save of the season.
As a freshman in 2010, Baxendale took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits and two walks in just 1.2 innings.
No. 17 ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (27-12 overall, 8-9 SEC)
SS Tim Carver (.324 BA/.361OBP/.393 SLG)
DH Jacob Mahan (.282/.370/.282)
1B Dominic Ficociello (.340/.439/.500)
3B Matt Reynolds (.315/.448/.500)
RF Sam Bates (.263/.345/.485)
LF Derrick Bleeker (.247/.322/.444)
2B Bo Bigham (.243/.293/.318)
CF Jacob Morris (.255/.377/.453)
C Jake Wise (.225/.333/.294)
RHP D.J. Baxendale (6-2, 3.88 ERA)
No. 22 OLE MISS REBELS (27-12, 9-8)
LF Tanner Mathis (.349/.461/.383)
SS Austin Anderson (.237/.356/.329)
2B Alex Yarbrough (.425/.473/.608)
1B Matt Snyder (.377/.433/.658)
C Will Allen (.342/.370/.450)
DH Zach Kirksey (.287/.397/.660)
CF Auston Bousfield (.285/.357/.321)
RF Preston Overbey (.282/.351/.398)
3B Andrew Mistone (.256/.324/.333)
RHP Sam Smith (2-2, 4.01)
ARKANSAS 4, Ole Miss 0 (Top 1): Arkansas wasted no time getting to the Rebel freshman, plating four runs on five hits (two of which were doubles) in the top of the first… Ole Miss second baseman Alex Yarbrough’s single up the middle in the bottom of the first extended his hitting streak to 19 games and placed him in sixth place in Ole Miss’ record books. Brian Pettway is the Rebels’ leader. He hit safely in 28 consecutive games spanning the 2004-05 seasons.
ARKANSAS 7, Ole Miss 0 (Top 2): The visiting Hogs continued their bombardment of Ole Miss’ pitching in the second, plating another three runs on four hits.
Arkansas 7, OLE MISS 1 (Bottom 3): Ole Miss broke through in the third when shortstop Austin Anderson drew a one-out walk, advanced to third on a single by Yarbrough and scored on a single by first baseman Matt Snyder.
ARKANSAS 8, Ole Miss 1 (Top 4): Arkansas shortstop Tim Carver led off the fourth with a double and eventually came around to score on a sacrifice fly to center by first baseman Dominic Ficociello.
ARKANSAS 9, Ole Miss 1 (Top 6): Catcher Jake Wise led off the sixth with a single and later scored on a groundout from designated hitter Jacob Mahan.
ARKANSAS 11, Ole Miss 1 (Top 7): The Razorbacks continued to rack up the runs in the seventh, scoring another two runs on four hits against Blair Wright. Josh Laxer entered the game with two on and two out and was able to induce a groundball on his first pitch to end the bleeding.
Arkansas 11, OLE MISS 2 (Bottom 7): Snyder tacked on another run in the seventh, scoring left fielder Tanner Mathis from third despite grounding into a double play.
Arkansas 11, OLE MISS 3 (Bottom 9): Pinch hitter Sikes Orvis wrapped up the game’s scoring in the final frame by scoring Snyder on a single.
———BY THE NUMBERS———
Smith (2-3) was hit with the loss for Ole Miss (27-13 overall, 9-9 SEC) after allowing five runs on six hits in one inning of work. Arkansas (28-12, 9-9) relief pitcher Cade Lynch (2-1) allowed one run in three innings of work after Baxendale was pulled in the fourth inning to earn the win.
NO TIMETABLE: Following the game, Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco confirmed that closer Brett Huber is suffering from a “tender elbow” and there’s no timetable set for his return. Huber hasn’t pitched since throwing one scoreless inning at Georgia April 14. Bianco also made a point of saying R.J. Hively‘s move to the pen was independent of Huber’s recent soreness.
BACK AT IT: Ole Miss returns to action Tuesday, traveling to play Memphis at AutoZone Park. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.
(April 22, 2012)