By Jeff Roberson
After the Rebels’ 14-9 win against Arkansas to claim the series, you might say the David Parkinson experiment worked out just fine.
Parkinson, a sophomore left-hander making his first Southeastern Conference start, went 5.1 innings, allowing one run on three hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
After that, things got a little crazy, obviously. Check the final score.
Back to Parkinson, though. He had actually only worked in relief for the Rebels in this, his first season with the program after transferring from Florence-Darlington Technical College in South Carolina.
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said Parkinson was solid and did exactly what the coaches were looking for.
“Terrific. It’s hard to say we could ask for much more,” Bianco said after his team improved to 24-7 overall and 5-6 in the SEC. “A guy that’s been in the bullpen, gets his first start in SEC play against a very good offense and really pitches well. He was able to stay in there, find his motion, and make some pitches.”
The Rebels claimed the series with the victory after winning 7-3 Friday night. Game three is at Noon Sunday.
After Parkinson allowed nothing in the opening frame, the Rebels put two runs on the board in the first inning and added two more in the second to give their starter some breathing room.
Henri Lartigue singled to score Tate Blackman and Olenek to kick start things for Ole Miss. Olenek had doubled and Blackman had singled to set the early tone for the night.
After Parkinson again got the Razorbacks out with no damage, Errol Robinson singled and scored on a Connor Cloyd double. Back to back groundouts from Woodman and Olenek got Cloyd home to make it 4-0 after two innings.
The Rebels stretched the lead to 8-1 through seven complete innings. After the Razorbacks scored their lone run in the fourth, two spot innings in the sixth and seventh for the Rebels put this one basically out of reach with a seven-run edge. Or so most might have thought.
Still, as crazy as it got, this game was more about Parkinson than anything for Ole Miss. The Rebels need to solidify some starting pitching beyond Brady Bramlett in the first game.
“I was tired,” Parkinson said as he wound down in the sixth. “I know I can go as far as I need to, because I know the bullpen behind me is going to come in and shut it down.”
And eventually that is what happened.
Freshman Ryan Olenek was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI.
“Just seeing it well,” he said. “We’re pretty confident right now. We’re pretty good offensively.”
As for who will start on the mound Sunday, Bianco told the print media reporters on the field after the game a decision still had not been made.
Ole Miss pitching held Hog hitters to only four until the unfortunate eighth when things began to unravel a bit for Brady Feigl, who had replaced Parkinson in the sixth.
A one-out error in the eighth on center fielder Kyle Watson ultimately allowed the inning to extend, and the Razorbacks got four runs in the frame to make things a game again.
Will Stokes relieved Feigl and got a quick out to end the eighth.
In the bottom of the eighth Ole Miss tacked on six runs, including a double and a run scored for Watson, to pull away from Hogs and send things to Sunday, looking for the sweep.
Will Stokes and Dallas Woolfolk wrapped things up for UM on the mound.
Ole Miss ended the game with 16 hits. Arkansas (20-11, 4-7) had 13 hits.
Next Saturday when the Rebels play game two at Alabama, will Parkinson start? With one behind him, he’s ready if called upon.
“I felt just like any other game,” said Parkinson, now 1-0 on the year. “I had a little more anticipation because I knew when I was going to (pitch) and sometimes I don’t know. Definitely it was a good feeling, and to have an offense that can produce like that.”