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Nobody Had Razorbacks or Ole Miss Meeting in CWS Second Round

A month ago, the Hogs, Rebels were considered under-achievers, but now talent has emerged

OMAHA, Neb. — Arkansas's magic number is now four.

Saturday's parade around the bases in a 17-2 win is eye-popping, but means absolutely nothing when the second game rolls around Monday.

It will be against a familiar opponent with Ole Miss rolling over Auburn.

It was a match-up I really didn't consider in May. The guess is I wasn't alone in that thought.

Both were considered serious under-achievers.

Michael Turner-CWS Stanford

The Rebels opened a lot of polls No. 1 in the country while the Razorbacks were in everyone's Top 10. When you start there, big things are expected.

Ole Miss fell out of everyone's thought process after getting swept by Alabama in April. The Crimson Tide did the same thing to the Hogs' hopes in May, but at least it wasn't a sweep.

Many considered the Rebels a team that literally slipped in the back door to the NCAA Tournament. They've only slid into extra bases since then.

Now the talent everyone projected at the beginning of the year is emerging.

"Once we got into postseason play, they didn't want to fail," Dave Van Horn said later.

The Hogs got another masterful pitching performance by Connor Noland on Saturday, giving the staff ace 21 1/3 innings with only two earned runs since the tournament began. 

Noland shrugged off a first-inning homer by Stanford's projected first round draft pick  Brock Jones and simply shut down the Cardinal.

He used his fastball more when Stanford was looking for the change-up. Noland had them off balance all afternoon and came within one out of making it through a complete eight innings, which is about as good of a start to the CWS that Dave Van Horn could have expected.

It still wasn't his best.

"He's had maybe a little better stuff a couple of times," Van Horn said, but even had to admit the stage wasn't too big for his senior starter that's hung around for four wild and wacky seasons going from Friday starter to trying to fit in somewhere.

Connor Noland-Robert Moore-CWS Stanford

"As far as competing, the temperature, the stage we're on, you add all that up and probably nothing's been better," Van Horn said.

It was what the Hogs needed.

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Now Ole Miss will see a completely rested bullpen. Sorry, Kole Ramage and Zebulon Vermillion played their role to perfection Saturday, but the big guns out of the bullpen have become Hagen Smith and Brady Tygart.

The Rebels actually beat Noland in late April, but lost to Smith, then Jaxon Wiggins to drop a late-season series. They haven't seen this pitching staff that's hitting on all cylinders right now.

The Hogs also haven't seen Ole Miss playing like they are now, either.

All of which means the CWS will have some intriguing match-ups the next couple of days with Texas-Texas A&M playing Sunday, then the Hogs-Rebels on Monday.

First-round drama in Omaha.


HOGS FEED:

HOGS SET RECORDS IN BLOWOUT OPENING WIN OVER STANFORD

RESEEDING THE CWS FIELD

FRESHMEN REPORT TO CAMP AHEAD OF SCHEDULE DEVELOPMENTALLY

PREVIEW: ARKANSAS, STANFORD TO REMATCH IN OMAHA

SOONERS SEND AGGIES TO LOSERS' BRACKET

CWS OPENS FRIDAY WITH 2010 BIG12 FEEL

WHO WILL RAZORBACKS HIT THE ROAD TO FACE IN BIG 12-SEC CHALLENGE?


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