The two spots are less than a mile away, and the moods are normally very similar. Both the Oxford Square and Swayze Field usually feature the same jovial jubilation when occupants are present – a feeling of fun and excitement for the hometown faithful.
This weekend began as more of the same. The same that is until Saturday.
While the annual Double Decker Arts Festival enveloped the Square and was a rousing success with great food, lively music and flowing libations, Swayze Field simply acted as the site for a clumsily completed night of Rebel baseball.
No. 21 Ole Miss rocked the Razorbacks on Friday and seemed to hold all of the series' momentum, but Arkansas withstood a Rebel charge in the first contest Saturday before leaving nothing in doubt during the finale.
The bitter pill to open the day's action left a mark for the next nine innings as well.
"The first game today took a lot out of us emotionally," Brett Basham said. "It deflated us, and you could tell we were lifeless in that second game."
The Razorbacks (26-18, 9-11) rocketed a home run on the game's first at-bat and didn't let up, as Arkansas swept the day and won the weekend with a methodical 12-4 victory during the doubleheader's nightcap.
With three weeks remaining in the regular season, Ole Miss (28-17, 11-10) will hold a one-game Western Division lead over either Alabama or Auburn after Sunday's action. Arkansas is one-and-a-half games back. It was the first time the Razorbacks have taken a series from the Rebels since 2003.
Rebel pitchers yielded nine total home runs on the day, including four in game three. Two Razorback runs in the first inning set the tone, and a four-run sixth sent the majority of the 5,645 still-present spectators to the exits. A final offensive inning plating four more in the ninth finalized the affair.
"Today nobody could handle them (Arkansas)," Mike Bianco said. "We had no answers, and they were just unconscious. We've never been hit like that. We couldn't keep the ball in the ballpark."
Blunders and mental miscues highlighted Ole Miss' second loss of the day, with base running mistakes and poor defensive decisions mostly to blame for the sour setting. The Rebels committed three errors, including two on back-to-back plays in the ninth inning, and ran themselves out of opportunities on offense.
Ole Miss pushed three runs across in the sixth frame and added a Jordan Henry solo shot in the ninth to complete its scoring. Fuller Smith, Logan Power, Cody Overbeck and Brett Basham all notched multiple hits, but nine runners were stranded, and the hits were sprayed instead of lumped together.
As for Arkansas, the only things sprayed were the balls leaving the yard. Logan Forsythe added two home runs to his total of three for the day and knocked in five RBI, and Tim Smalling rapped one more longball for a total of four on the day. Chase Leavitt also added one of his own for good measure.
The Rebels used three pitchers, but none of the trio could stop the bleeding. Cody Satterwhite took the loss, suffering three earned runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings. Satterwhite (3-4) struckout six and walked four.
Relieving the right-hander were Brett Bukvich and Rory McKean. Bukvich was torched for three hits and four runs in one inning, and McKean yielded five runs on three hits in 3.1frames.
"Some of the pitches were from behind, but the truth of the matter is they were locked in," Bianco said. "They were going to have a great day at the plate today, and it was a bad day to play them two games."
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