FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Sixth-ranked Ole Miss (19-1, 1-0 SEC) posted the best start in program history on Friday night, using 10 hits and a pair of long balls to defeat No. 11 Arkansas (13-6, 0-1 SEC) by a score of 7-1 in the conference opener at Baum Stadium.
Ole Miss had previously started a season 18-2 through the first 20 games in 1960, 1964 and 2004.
Preston Overbey went 2-for-4 on the night with a second-inning grand slam to power the Rebels to the early lead. Sikes Orvis then helped extend things in the fifth with his first home run of the season, a solo shot, that helped spark a three-run innings as Ole Miss took the 7-1 lead that would hold for the final margin of victory.
Bobby Wahl (5-0) picked up the win, allowing one run on three hits with five walks and five strikeouts through 7.0 innings of work. It was the longest outing of the season for the junior right-hander.
Trey Killian (2-2) took the loss as the freshman allowed seven runs on five hits with two walks through 3.0 innings of work. He did not strike out a batter in the start.
“I’m proud of the way we came out ready to compete today,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “The challenge all along has been to remember we don’t have to do anything different tonight on a Friday in SEC play at a tough stadium. We’ve done what we did all year and handled the pressure and were relaxed and composed and put an inning together to answer their early run. We swung the bat well throughout the lineup tonight and then Bobby (Wahl) was able to settle in and pitched much better down the stretch.”
Arkansas struck first turning a lead-off double into a run in the first inning to take the early lead on the Rebels. Jacob Mahan doubled down the third base line to start things off and took third on a groundout to second from Dominic Ficociello. He then scored when Tyler Spoon singled to left center to give the Razorbacks the 1-0 edge.
Ole Miss responded in a big way in the top of the second, loading the bases with two outs before Preston Overbey delivered a grand slam to left. A one-out single from Andrew Mistone put the first man on, before a two-out single from Will Allen and a walk of Will Jamison would load the bases. Overbey then took the 2-1 pitch and sent it deep over the wall in left field to put Ole Miss on top 4-1.
Arkansas threatened in the bottom of the inning by loading the bases with two outs, but the Rebels got out o the inning with no damage on a fly ball to center to end the attempted rally by the Razorbacks.
Ole Miss extended the lead in the fourth, kicking things off with a solo home run from Orvis to start the inning before plating two more runs down the stretch. Following the lead-off shot from the Rebel first baseman, Allen and Jamison again reached on a single and a walk to put two men on. A wild pitch moved both into scoring position to set up an RBI groundout from Tanner Mathis and a double to left from Auston Bousfield to take the lead to 7-1.
Wahl continued to hold the Razorbacks off the board through the seventh inning, allowing only three base runners total from the third through the seventh. Scott Weathersby then took the mound to finish out the game, pitching the eighth and ninth with one walk, three strikeouts and did not allow a hit.
The two teams will continue the series with game two at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday at Baum Stadium.
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