1 Win Away From Return to Omaha
Fayetteville, AR Story and photos by Mike Price
The Arkansas Razorbacks are hosting their 2nd straight Super Regional and in their 8th overall, this time vs the Ole Miss Rebels. Pitcher Isaiah Campbell started the game and gave up a 1 out home run to Grae Kessinger but settled down after that, only allowing 5 hits and 2 earned runs on 2 solo homers. Campbell went 8 1/3 innings with 7 strike outs, 1 walk on 102 pitches. This was his 2nd straight game going at least 8 innings. He is now 12-1 on the year.
The Hogs responded to the homer with 4 runs of their own in the bottom of the 1st inning. Trevor Ezell got things started with a double and Casey Martin and Dominic Fletcher each followed that with a single. Fletcher’s single drove in Ezell to tie the game. Jack Kenley came up to bat with 2 on and lifted a first pitch fastball out of the park over the right field wall to put the Hogs ahead for good 4-1.
The Hogs added 2 more runs in the bottom of the 2nd with Christian Franklin reaching first then advancing to 3rd on a Ezell double. Martin hit a pop fly to center field, scoring Franklin and advancing Ezell to 3rd. Matt Goodheart grounded out to first but scored Ezell in the process to make it 6-1.
After a quiet 3rd inning, Franklin again reached base after being hit by a pitch then moved to 2nd on a balk. Martin drove in Franklin on a single hit back up the middle to center field. At this point, Ole Miss went to the bullpen and brought in Tyler Myers. Matt Goodheart took his 2nd pitch over right center for a 2 run homer to make it 9-1. The Rebels got out of the inning after Kjerstad hit into a double play after Fletcher walked.
Ezell started the bottom of the 6th inning with a homer to right field. The Hogs loaded the bases on singles by Goodheart and Fletcher and a walk by Kenley. Casey Opitz drew a walk to score Goodheart and make it 11-1.
Isaiah Campbell brought the crowd to their feet to start the 9th by returning to the mound. He did give up one more homer, this time to lead off hitter Thomas Dillard. He got the next batter to pop up to Jacob Nesbit right in front of home plate before exiting to a standing ovation for his last likely appearance at Baum Walker Stadium. Marshall Denton came in to face 3 batters and close out the game only giving up a walk.
The Hogs finished with 11 hits, including 3 home runs and 5 walks. Trevor Ezell was robbed of a potential home run in the bottom of the 7th but finished 3 for 5. Goodheart and Kenley both finished with 3 RBIs.
Game 2 is Sunday afternoon at 2 PM CT and is available on ESPNU. Game 3, if necessary, is Monday at 3 PM CT on ESPN2.