Like It Is:

Arkansas vs. Ole Miss highlights SEC success

By: Wally Hall
Published: Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Mike Bianco (left), Ole Miss head coach, shakes hands with Dave Van Horn, Arkansas head coach, after Ole Miss defeated Arkansas 3-2 Friday, May 24, 2019, during the SEC Baseball Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala.
Photo by Ben Goff
Mike Bianco (left), Ole Miss head coach, shakes hands with Dave Van Horn, Arkansas head coach, after Ole Miss defeated Arkansas 3-2 Friday, May 24, 2019, during the SEC Baseball Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala.

As the week progresses, much will be written about the super regional featuring Ole Miss and the University of Arkansas at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville.

What is already known is six of the 10 SEC teams that made the College World Series advanced, and only one super regional has SEC teams playing each other -- the one in Fayetteville.

Auburn, who is at North Carolina, is the only SEC team other than Ole Miss who is still playing but not hosting a super regional.

Vanderbilt is hosting Duke, and if this was a spelling bee both could win, but these two academic giants will have to slug it out on the baseball field.

LSU hosts Florida State. Mississippi State hosts the winner of Stanford-Fresno State.

Game times will be announced today.

When Arkansas and Ole Miss meet in anything, it is as close to a rivalry as one can get without calling it a bitter rivalry. That dates back decades when the Razorbacks and Rebels met in nonconference football games.

The Rebels hold a 3-2 lead in baseball games played this season.

. . .

Louisville relief pitcher Michael McAvene was called out at the plate by umpire Ken Langford.

McAvene was on the mound, and his ouster was a reaction to a close call that could just as easily have been a strike as it was a ball.

"That's horrible," McAvene said a little less than 60 feet away.

He didn't scream it. There were no other words. He could have been saying it to himself, but regardless Langford ejected him as quickly as he could.

The NCAA upheld the rule that pitchers can't question balls and strikes. Apparently, they aren't allowed an opinion, either.

McAvene was hit with a four-game supsension for those two simple words. There is no appeal.

The only thing known about Langford is he called a game between Texas Tech and Arkansas, but his quick trigger will no doubt make him well known for a few days.

It was Langford who got angry over two words. There was no warning. Just immediate ejection.

It will be surprising if Langford ever calls another game, or at least a Louisville game, and he probably shouldn't call another NCAA Tournament game.

In this case, he was supposed to be the adult. Instead, he reacted like he had been called a four-letter word and ejected a kid in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and a full count on the batter.

Langford was horrible.

. . .

Expect a short field for Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

At best, 10 horses probably will go to post, and all but two of them will be long shots.

War of Will, the convincing winner of the Preakness, most likely will be the favorite. War of Will was interferred with when Maximum Security jumped a puddle and veered into his path in the Kentucky Derby.

Tactitus was placed third in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness. At the head of the stretch in the Derby, he was seventh but rallying.

However, a horse to keep an eye on is Master Fencer, who was 12th at the head of the stretch and placed sixth in the Derby; however, he ran the fastest final quarter, 24.60, of all the horses in the race.

Master Fencer was bred in Japan and the first to run in the Kentucky Derby, where he finished 4 lengths behind Maximum Security, who ultimately was placed 17th for interference.

He may not have been bred in the bluegrass (blueblood) state of Kentucky, but his bloodline includes Deputy Minister, Sunday Silence and Wild Again.

One thing is for sure: With just 10 horses, there should be no worry about interference.

Sports on 06/04/2019

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