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Noland, DeLucia come up big for Arkansas, Ole Miss in CWS openers

 Chris Lee   in Baseball

Runs are coming at a record pace, but Arkansas and Ole Miss rode pitching to big wins on Saturday

Connor Noland photo courtesy of Arkansas athletics.

In a year in which offense rules the day, Arkansas and Ole Miss both got great pitching in wining their first College World Series games on Saturday at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Neb.

Starters Connor Noland (Arkansas) and Dylan DeLucia each threw 7 2/3 innings as the Razorbacks trounced Stanford by a 17-score, and Ole Miss disposed of Auburn, 5-1. 

The Razorbacks got the Southeastern Conference’s day off to a good start, pitching with a big lead most of the day thanks to home runs from Cayden Wallace and Chris Lanzilli.

Peyton Stovall, who's been outstanding in the NCAA tournament, added two of Arkansas's 21 hits and a team-leading four RBIs. Wallace and Lanzilli each drove in three runs for Arkansas while Robert Moore led the team with three runs scored. 

Noland put on a clinic, needing just 79 pitches while departing with an 11-2 lead. Arkansas needed just seven pitches from Kole Ramage and 11 from Zebulon Vermillion, leaving its staff in good shape with the Razorbacks’ next game not coming until Monday. 

Stanford got a first-inning home run from Brock Jones, but Arkansas otherwise navigated what's perhaps the tournament's most powerful lineup (Stanford has hit 118 home runs.) Unsurprisingly, Razorback pitchers also got help from an Arkansas defense that played errorless ball. 

Likewise, DeLucia saved the Rebel bullpen as closer Josh Mallitz needed just 15 pitches to finish Ole Miss’s evening. 

Both hurlers did outstanding work against two offenses that had been among the best in the NCAA tournament. After May struggles, the right-hander has allowed three earned runs in 21 1/3 NCAA tournament innings

DeLucia turned in his second great start in a row after being a part of the Rebels' outstanding pitching effort last weekend at Southern Miss. It's part of a stunning turnaround on the mound for the Rebels, whose first two shutouts of the season came last week in Hattiesburg.

Auburn didn’t get to DeLucia until it had three straight hits against him to start the seventh, at which point coach Mike Bianco went to the mound or a talk. DeLucia then struck out Brooks Carlson on an 0-2 breaking ball, got a pop-up to right and an infield pop-up to second baseman Peyton Chataginer to escape with a 5-1 lead. 

DeLucia kept going strong, getting a strikeout with his 100th pitch in the eighth. Next came his 10th strikeout to Mike Bello. After a man reached, Ole Miss went to Mallitz, who got out of the inning with catcher Hayden Dunhurst picked a runner off first. Mallitz then struck out the 3-4-5 hitters in the Auburn order in the ninth, which included SEC Player of the Year Sonny DiChiara

Ole Miss took a 2-0 lead in the first thanks to Kemp Alderman's two-RBI single. Kevin Graham added a solo home run in the third.

Auburn got good relief pitching from Carson Skipper (four innings, one run) but the Tigers couldn't break through against DeLucia and Mallitz. 

The Rebels and Razorbacks face each other on Monday in Omaha at 6 Central. Arkansas won two of three against the Rebels earlier in the season in Fayetteville. 

Auburn and Stanford will play an elimination game at 1 on Monday.