A road trip to Fayetteville is very rarely ever a good idea, but this weekend might be the worst possible timing of an Arkansas road series in a couple decades.
Ole Miss (23-17, 6-12 SEC) will take the field against the No. 4 Razorbacks (32-9, 12-6 SEC) looking to find some kind of baseball magic. If you’re a believer in baseball being a weird, chaotic sport that is unpredictable as it gets, you can most certainly be an Ole Miss fan this weekend.
But this David vs. Goliath series is unlikely to produce anything but a third straight series win for Arkansas. The Rebels pitching staff hasn’t yet found enough answers to compete at a high level for a three game series though its offense has given the team some chances at times. Two extra inning losses come immediately to mind and a 9-8 loss to South Carolina as well - flip those three games and suddenly this season is not on life support.
I’m not going to let myself be fooled into hoping this series goes the Rebels way however. Just avoid the sweep at this point and take a 7-14 record into the final three series with Missouri, LSU and Texas A&M and battle for the final spot in Hoover. That’s where we’ve gotten as a team this year.
So here’s who to expect as starters this weekend:
Ole Miss: RHP Dylan DeLucia - 3-0, 4.40 ERA
Arkansas: RHP Connor Noland- 5-2, 2.54 ERA
Ole Miss: LHP Hunter Elliott - 1-3, 3.19 ERA
Arkansas: LHP Hagen Smith - 6-2, 3.83 ERA
Ole Miss: RHP Derek Diamond - 3-3, 6.29 ERA
Arkansas: RHP Jaxon Wiggins - 5-1, 5.55 ERA
The good news is head coach Mike Bianco has gotten away from TBA as a starter in two or more weekend games. The bad news is the Rebels need another complete game gem from DeLucia and a lot of bullpen work the other two games to keep this series interesting.
On the flip side of all this, it would be enjoyable to celebrate in ridiculous fashion at the smallest accomplishments just to see Dave Van Horn’s head simmer to an explosion due to the disrespect to the game. Spike the ball after every out, do secret handshakes with every hit, and if you hit a home run, flip the dadgum bat to the freaking moon.