By Chase Parham/Special to the Journal
OXFORD – When Ole Miss baseball coach Mike Bianco decided on Monday to move R.J. Hively from the starting rotation to the bullpen, even his most hopeful thoughts likely didn’t match the script that unfolded on Saturday.
Hively stranded two inherited runners in the seventh inning and pitched 22⁄3 scoreless innings for his first career save, as No. 22 Ole Miss blanked No. 17 Arkansas, 1-0, and clinched the weekend series in front of a Swayze Field record crowd of 10,603.
“Just a great day,” Bianco said. “It couldn’t have worked out any better. With possibly the best college baseball atmosphere in the country, (Hively) just rode that with the fans.”
The Rebels (27-12, 9-8 SEC)won the series opener, 8-2, over the Razorbacks (27-12, 8-9 SEC) a game that began Friday but was stopped in the fourth inning due to rain and resumed Saturday at 2 p.m. Ole Miss goes for the sweep at 1:30 p.m. today.
Hively struck out the side in the ninth inning and preserved a dominant performance from Ole Miss starter Mike Mayers.
“There’s something inside me that loves coming out of the pen,” Hively said. “There’s nothing better than coming in with the game on the line. I just didn’t want to ruin it for (Mayers).”
Mayers (4-2) allowed just two hits in 61⁄3 innings with four strikeouts and two walks. Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek (6-2) took the tough-luck loss, yielding one run on five hits in 61⁄3 innings.
“Days like this are why you come to Ole Miss,” Mayers said. Alex Yarbrough, who has an 18-game hitting streak, drove in Andrew Mistone for the lone Ole Miss run with a single in the sixth inning. Mistone singled and moved to third on two sacrifice bunts.
It’s Ole Miss’ first 1-0 win since April 11, 2006, a Mayor’s Trophy victory over Mississippi State.
Tupelo native Will Kline was the winning pitcher that night.
With Hively out of the rotation, Ole Miss hadn’t named a starter for today. The Razorbacks will start senior right-hander D.J. Baxendale. Hively should be available for a short relief stint.
“The good news is although we threw a lot of guys in the first game, most of them only threw an inning or so,” Bianco said.
In the game continued from Friday, Matt Snyder hit two home runs, Yarbrough had four hits – including three doubles – and Aaron Greenwood (1-0) got the win with 22⁄3 relief innings where he allowed one run.
Ole Miss starting pitcher BobbyWahl didn’t return on Saturday. Arkansas starter Brandon Moore left after just 21⁄3 innings on Friday, getting the loss while allowing six runs on seven hits.