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No. 5 Arkansas comes to Oxford as Rebels are mired in terrible SEC start

Remember the 2022 College World Series? That was fun

2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Baseball Championship Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

The Arkansas Razorbacks and its very calm and normal head coach Dave Van Horn will invade Swayze Field starting Thursday with a three games series against Ole Miss.

Undoubtedly, the Hogs (23-5, 6-3 SEC) will be looking to exorcise some 2022 College World Series demons and avenge the Rebels (17-11, 1-8 SEC) ousting them just before the finals. By the way, Ole Miss won those CWS finals meaning the Rebels are the defending national champions if I remember correctly and I do.

Since the conclusion of the 2022 season, Arkansas has seemingly reloaded and have been clicking along yet again. Ole Miss has had one of its worst starts to SEC play in decades. Sucks to type it and sucks even more to watch it.

Projected starters

Thursday, April 6, 6:30 p.m. CT

Ole Miss: RHP Jack Dougherty - 2-2, 5.79 ERA

Arkansas: LHP Hunter Hollan - 4-1, 3.50 ERA

Friday, April 7, 6:30 p.m. CT

Ole Miss: LHP Xavier Rivas - 4-2, 5.61 ERA

Arkansas: TBA

Saturday, April 8, 2 p.m. CT

Ole Miss: RHP JT Quinn - 3-0, 5.79 ERA

Arkansas: TBA

The Rebels pitching staff had a markedly better weekend at Texas A&M last week and lowered its SEC team ERA by nearly a run. It’s still sitting above 7.00, however, which is not good news. Additionally, the Rebels team batting average is sitting just above the Mendoza line in SEC play at .230 - not going to piece many wins together like that.

All the Ole Miss fans know this team is struggling, and it’s partially a lot of young arms coming in during big moments against very tough competition. It’s partially the bats are just not coming alive and keeping innings going. When you think of some of the veteran leaders of this line-up (Kemp Alderman, Peyton Chatagnier, TJ McCants), SEC competition has held these three collectively to 17 hits in 100 at bats. YIKES.

So yeah, maybe it all turns around starting on Thursday night, but I really think head coach Mike Bianco is scrambling for answers right now. This team has not quite met the mark against the fiercest competition, and unless the core of the team snaps into form, it’s going to be another long series.