Diamond Hogs and Rebs tangle in key SEC series

One of the most anticipated series in all of college baseball is on tap beginning tonight at 6 p.m. at Swayze Field in Oxford, Miss. as the No. 1 Arkansas Razorbacks (24-4) face No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels (23-6).

The series is huge for the SEC West where the two clubs are tied with 7-2 records, trailing No. 2 Vanderbilt (8-2) by a half game in the overall standings.

While it’s still fairly early in SEC play, this series will decide who is chasing who in the SEC Western Division for at least the foreseeable future.

Next up for the No. 1 Razorbacks

Opponent: at No. 3 Ole Miss
When: 6 p.m. Friday, April 9
Where: Oxford, Miss.
Streaming: SEC Network

Upcoming games

4 p.m. Saturday: No. 3 Ole Miss SEC Network Plus
1:30 p.m. Sunday: No. 3 Ole Miss SEC Network Plus

Razorbacks skipper Dave Van Horn plans to put southpaw Patrick Wicklander (1-1, 2.13 ERA) on the mound, while Rebel head coach Mike Bianco is going with righty Gunnar Hoglund (3-1, 2.47 ERA). Interestingly enough, both pitchers started in Game 3 of the 2019 Super Regional, which Arkansas dominated, 14-1.

The National Weather service is calling for a 100 percent chance of showers and thunder showers this evening, which could force a doubleheader to be played on Saturday.

Oxford has not been hospitable to the Razorbacks in recent history with Arkansas not winning a series at Ole Miss since 2010. In fact, the Rebels have taken the last four regular-season series with the Hogs; however, the Razorbacks did top Ole Miss in 2019 Super Regional in Fayetteville to earn their spot in the College World Series.

The Rebels will be without starting first baseman Tim Elko, who is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Elko was a stud for Ole Miss, was leading the SEC in RBI with 36 when he suffered the season-ending injury.

The series will have huge consequences on the SEC race, and could have an affect on both team’s eventual seeding in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. It, no doubt, is the biggest series so far this season not only in the SEC but also in the nation.