OXFORD, Miss. – No. 10 Arkansas ripped three home runs and pounded out 17 hits while Nick Schmidt fanned 11 in a 12-3 Razorback win over No. 22 Ole Miss on Friday night in front of a paid attendance of 4,236 at Swayze Field.
The Razorbacks won their fourth straight game to improve to 35-15 overall, 15-10 in SEC play and 17-8 against top-25 competition this season. The win, coupled with Alabama’s loss to Florida, moved the Hogs into a tie for the SEC West lead with the Crimson Tide. UA owns the tiebreaker over Alabama after last weekend’s sweep.
Arkansas and Ole Miss continue their series Saturday at 3:07 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports (channel 27 on Cox Cable in Northwest Arkansas). The game can also be heard on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network and inside the RazorZone at Hogwirde.com.
Schmidt allowed just four hits over seven innings and fanned 11 to improve to 8-2 on the season. It was his sixth double-digit strikeout performance of the season and lowered his opponent batting average to .196.
Schmidt has 115 strikeouts on the season, which ranks as the third-highest total in a single season in school history. Schmidt also became 10th pitcher in school history to fan 200 batters in a career and now ranks ninth with 204.
Craig Rodriguez (3-3) allowed 13 Razorback hits and nine runs in six innings of work. He surrendered three home runs while fanning five.
The Hogs entered the night hitting just .196 during SEC play on Friday night. Arkansas, however, exploded for an SEC-high 17 hits to break open the game early. It was the most Razorbacks’ hits since getting 17 on March 11 against Cal State Northridge.
Brian Walker continued his red-hot ways with a three-hit performance that included his fifth home run of the season and three RBI. He is 10 of 15 with two home runs, two doubles and eight RBI dating back to the final at bat of the Oral Roberts game on May 2.
Danny Hamblin led the way with four hits in five at bats and three RBI, while James Ewing went 3 for 4 with two RBI.
Jake Dugger put the Razorbacks on top 3-1 in the second inning with his second three-run home run in as many games. He blasted a 2-1 pitch from Rodriguez an estimated 393 feet to right-center field.
The home run capped three straight hits by the Hogs, who got a leadoff double by Hamblin and a single up the middle by Wayne Hrozek. Arkansas got six hits in the inning but left the bases loaded.
Walker followed with his second hit of the night in the third inning – a three-run home run to left-center field to give the Razorbacks a 6-1 lead.
Hamblin kept the home run barrage going with two outs in the fourth inning with a two-run blast to the opposite field, giving Arkansas a 8-1 lead. It was the 15th home run of the season, tying Hamblin for 10th on UA’s single-season home run list.
Ole Miss jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly to left field by Alex Pressley. Schmidt worked around two hits and a walk to allow just the one run, while striking out two.
James Ewing led off the seventh inning with a double down the left-field line and Hamblin followed with an RBI single up the middle for a 9-1 lead. It was Hamblin’s 63rd RBI of the season and his third hit of the night.
UM catcher Justin Brashear connected for his 10th home run of the season with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. It was just the fifth home run allowed by Schmidt this season and cut the Hogs’ lead to 9-2.
The Hogs added a run in the eighth on a fielding error by Rebels’ second baseman Henry. The error plated Walker, who singled up the middle to lead off the inning. Ewing followed with a two-RBI double into the left-field corner as Arkansas opened up a 12-2 lead.
Pinch-hitter Peyton Farr hit a solo home run in the ninth to cut the UA lead to 12-3. Chris Rhoads threw the final two innings for Arkansas, allowing a run on four hits.