OXFORD, Miss. (arkansasrazorbacks.com) – Led by timely hitting and superb defense, No. 5 Arkansas (25-6, 8-4 SEC) clinched its fourth consecutive regular-season series win against Ole Miss (18-12, 2-10 SEC) in a 6-4 triumph on Saturday afternoon at Swayze Field.
With the win, Arkansas has now started 8-4 or better in SEC play for six consecutive seasons. It marks the best stretch of starting 8-4 or better in SEC play since LSU did it from 1991-98 under legendary head coach Skip Bertman.
The Razorbacks have now won four straight series against the Rebels for the first time since 2000-03 as well as consecutive series at Swayze Field for the first time since the 2008 and 2010 seasons.
Caleb Cali’s solo homer in the top of the third opened the scoring in Saturday’s series finale. Arkansas went up, 1-0, on Cali’s blast, which was his second in as many days and extended the Hogs’ home run streak to 27 consecutive games.
Arkansas starter Will McEntire, pitching less than a week after being diagnosed with the flu, began his outing with three scoreless innings, but Ole Miss broke through for a run in the fourth to tie the game at one.
The Razorbacks retook the lead in the top half of the fifth with a pair of runs, thanks to a wild pitch and Peyton Stovall’s RBI single. The Rebels punched right back in the bottom half of the frame, however, knocking McEntire out of the ballgame before evening the game at three with a two-run home run.
McEntire allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out two in his 4 2/3 innings of work. The right-hander threw 60 pitches, including 40 for strikes, before giving way to Dylan Carter (1.1 IP, 1 R), who was the first reliever to emerge from the Razorback bullpen and earned the win to improve to 5-0 on the year.
Tied at seven in the top of the seventh, Tavian Josenberger’s clutch two-out, two-strike single to right scored Cali, who led off the inning with a single, from second to put Arkansas back in front. Stovall, the very next batter, laced a single through the right side to score Josenberger, who advanced home on a fielding error by the Ole Miss right fielder.
Ole Miss cut its deficit to one in the bottom of the seventh, but the Arkansas offense had more left in its tank. Jace Bohrofen began the eighth with a leadoff double to left before Kendall Diggs brought him home with an RBI single to right, extending the Razorbacks’ advantage to 6-4.
Arkansas’ third two-run lead of the game would hold. True freshman Gage Wood spun the final three innings, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk while fanning a career-high four.
The Batesville, Ark., native, aided by Jared Wegner’s spectacular diving catch and Josenberger’s tremendous running catch in the bottom of the ninth, locked down his second career save to secure the Hogs’ series-clinching win in Oxford.
A five-game week in on deck for Arkansas, beginning with a two-game midweek series against in-state foe Little Rock at Baum-Walker Stadium. First pitch between the Razorbacks and Trojans is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, on SEC Network+.