High On The Hog

Before Friday, Logan Williams' most memorable baseball moment came in high school inside Baum Stadium, home of the Razorbacks. During this weekend's series opener against those same Razorbacks, that occasion was erased and again Arkansas' flagship university could be tied in. They were the helpless victims.

Williams, a Natural State native, came through with the biggest blast on a night of big-time offense, as No. 21 Ole Miss (28-15, 11-8) scored in six of the eight innings and blistered Arkansas 12-4 before an announced attendance of 5,603.

Ole Miss moves three games ahead of its closest competition in the Western Division, as Auburn defeated Alabama to now hold the second slot with a conference record of 8-11, same as the Tide. The Razorbacks are 7-11, and LSU is 7-11-1.

With the Rebels clinging to a one-run lead in the fifth frame and two men on base, Williams worked deep in the count before sending a Dallas Keuchel pitch deep into the night air. The freshman, who was seeing his first league action, hammered the offering out of Swayze Field and energized his teammates, turning the nail-biter into a laugher.

In all, the Demascus, Ark., product finished 1-3 in his designated hitter role with the three RBI and single run scored.

"You always want to perform well against your home state," Williams said. "This was definitely the most excited I have been. I had a home run in the state championship in high school at the University of Arkansas. It was nothing like this, nothing compares."

Sparked by the long ball, Ole Miss outscored the Hogs 9-1 the rest of the way, as Scott Bittle continued to amaze on the mound, and the Rebel offense received contributions from many different hitters.

Lance Lynn (6-1) picked up the win with 5.2 innings of work, where he struckout six, walked five and allowed six hits. The Razorbacks struck for four runs off the starter, but only one of those was earned. The Rebels committed two errors and dropped two pop-ups to make things difficult on the pitchers.

Relieving Lynn with a runner on second and two outs in the sixth, Bittle went the rest of the way, retiring seven of the 10 outs by punchout. The junior allowed one hit but was dominant in extended relief.

"You pretty much know it is over when he comes in," Lynn said of Bittle. "It isn't even fair."

While Williams' home run was the most noteworthy, Logan Power and Cody Overbeck went back-to-back with solo shots in the first inning to stake the Rebels to an early lead. Power was the lone Ole Miss batter to compile three hits, while Jordan Henry, Overbeck, Zach Miller and Matt Smith all registered two apiece.

Keuchel (3-2) took the loss for Arkansas after surrendering eight earned runs on nine hits.

The Razorbacks picked up lone runs in the second and sixth innings and two in the fifth. Ole Miss put up two in the first, one in the fourth, four in the fifth, two in the sixth, two in the seventh and one in the eighth. All four runs in the fifth came with two outs.

"It was a really solid offensive effort, and then Lance deserved better that he got," Mike Bianco said. "The errors and miscues happen, but we worked through them and swung the bats well."

Ole Miss and Arkansas will continue the series at 4 p.m. Saturday. Drew Pomeranz is scheduled to start for the Rebels.

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