The “Greatest Show on Dirt” continues in Omaha. In the first four games of the Men’s College World Series, all of the non-national seed teams – all playing as the visiting teams – won the opening games. And they all had something in common – each team scored at least one run in the top of the 1st, and once they took the lead, there never was a lead change in any of the four games.
On Saturday, Arkansas slaughtered No. 2 Stanford 17-2. Then in the evening game, Ole Miss continued their postseason hot streak and beat No. 14 Auburn 5-1.
Here’s a recap of both of Saturday’s games:
Arkansas (1-0) 17 - #2 Stanford (0-1) 2
If a team is going to win the national championship, they are going to have to excel at all three phases of the game – batting, pitching, and fielding. Arkansas did just that in their win over Stanford. The bats were hot as the Razorbacks got 17 runs on 21 hits. The 17 runs were the most in any College World Series game since 2008.
Defensively, they played errorless ball. Both middle infielders, shortstop Jalen Battles and second baseman Robert Moore, had some incredible ground ball catches and throws. Add some great double plays, and you could probably have enough to fill SportsCenter’s Top 10 just between the two of them.
Then there was pitching. Connor Noland was on fire. He pitched 7.2 innings and gave up six hits, two runs (both earned), one walk, and one strikeout. And he did this with just 79 pitches – just about ten pitches per inning.
Noland now ranks up there with one of the pitchers to throw the fewest number of pitches at the Men’s College World Series. Also on this list is TCU’s Jared Janzak, who, through 81 pitches in 7.0 innings, pitched in the 2017 game in a 3-0 loss to Florida.
Here are the pitchers at the MCWS since 1999 with the fewest pitches with at least seven innings pitched:
Joe Demers (Washington)
Connor Noland (Arkansas)
Jared Janczak (TCU)
Davis Martin (Texas Tech)
After the game, Noland had this to say:
Winning pitcher – Connor Noland (8-5); Losing pitcher – Alex Williams (8-4)
Ole Miss (1-0) 5 - #14 Auburn (0-1) 1
Ole Miss didn’t waste any time getting things started on Saturday. In the top of the 1st, with two on and two outs, Kemp Alderman singled to right field but was able to advance to second on a throwing error which allowed both runners to score. They added another run in the top of the 3rd when Kevin Graham had a solo homer. This became the 100th home run of the season for the Rebels, making them the 20th team to reach that mark. For comparison, in 2021, only three teams reached that mark.
Pitcher Dylan DeLucia had an incredible evening. He pitched a gem of a game going 7.2 innings and giving up four hits, one run (earned), and ten strikeouts. He threw 114 pitches and had a 4.07 ERA.
Auburn did not get their first hit until the 5th inning. And it was the three straight hits to open the bottom of the 7th that set up the Tigers’ only run.
Winning pitcher – Dylan DeLucia (7-2); Losing pitcher – Joseph Gonzalez (7-4)
Next up: On Sunday, it’s back to Bracket One with Texas and Texas A&M meeting at 1 p.m. CT in an elimination game. Oklahoma and Notre Dame play in the winner’s bracket at 6 p.m. CT. Then on Monday, Stanford and Auburn will play at 1 p.m. CT in an elimination game. Arkansas and Ole Miss play in the winner’s bracket at 6 p.m. CT.
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