FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – It took 13 innings and almost everyone on the bench, but the Rebels made the plays when needed as No. 6 Ole Miss (20-2, 2-1 SEC) rallied to force extra innings on the way to a 6-4 win over No. 11 Arkansas (14-7, 1-2 SEC) Sunday at Baum Stadium.
Tied at four heading into the 13th inning, the Rebels got things started with a leadoff walk from Tanner Mathis. Auston Bousfield then put down a sac bunt and the Razorbacks went for Mathis at second, but bounced the throw in behind Mathis who advanced safely as Bousfield reached first safely.
Austin Anderson then lay down another sac bunt attempt down the third base line, advancing both runners to scoring position. The throw to first on the bunt sailed past the first baseman, allowing Anderson to reach safely while Bousfield moved to third and Mathis scored to put the Rebels on top.
A sac fly from Stuart Turner to right field brought Bousfield home and gave Ole Miss the 6-4 cushion it would need to pick up the series-clinching win.
“It was a great college baseball game and a big win for us on the road,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Both teams played their hearts out and it’s what the SEC is all about. It was a grind it out kind of game that could have gone either way. That last inning we were able to get the leadoff walk and put down the bunts and do the things to pull us through.
“The challenge today was coming back out today after winning on Friday then getting our rear end kicked on Saturday,” Bianco said. “Could we answer the bell and could we do it on the road? We played really hard and neither team played really well, but obviously we’ll take it.”
Brett Huber (2-0) picked up the win in relief, holding the Razorbacks hitless through the final 1.2 innings. He entered the game with one out and a man on first in the 12th inning and allowed the Rebels to pick up the win.
Huber entered the game in relief of right-hander Tanner Bailey, who turned in his best outing of his career as he worked 5.1 innings in relief, scattering five hits and striking out nine batters while not allowing a walk.
Brandon Moore (1-2) suffered the loss for Arkansas, allowing the two unearned runs on one hits with three walks and a strikeout through 4.0 innings of relief work.
Ole Miss struck first, scoring two runs in the top of the fourth. Turner reached on a fielding error at short and Andrew Mistone walked to put two men on before a Will Allen double to the wall in left field brought the first run home. The second run came home on a sac fly to center from Will Jamison and the Rebels held the 2-0 lead.
Arkansas cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning on a two-out single through the left side from Jake Wise. The Wise hit brought home Joe Serrano who had reached on a single to open the inning. Serrano moved into scoring position on a two-out single from Matt Vinson to set up the RBI-single from Wise that cut the lead to 2-1.
The Rebels moved back in front by two runs in the fifth on a single up the middle from Stuart Turner that scored Tanner Mathis from second. Mathis reached on a single and took second on a groundout to first from Austin Anderson to set up the two-out RBI from Turner.
Arkansas put together a three-run rally in the seventh to briefly claim the lead. The Razorbacks put the first three men on base with a single, a double and a walk before Jacob Morris would deliver a one-out single to left to bring home the first run. A fielder’s choice gave the Rebels the second out on a force play at home but left the bases loaded with two outs. Serrano then singled over the glove of a leaping Anderson at short to bring home two runs and give the Razorbacks the 4-3 lead.
Ole Miss returned the favor and tied the game in the eighth inning, loading the bases with back-to-back singles and a hit batter before pinch hitter Lance Wilson drew a bases-loaded walk to even the score at four. Arkansas would get out of the inning, however, when the shortstop snagged a flare from Bousfield on the run in shallow left to get out of the inning.
The Rebels and Bailey held the Razorbacks in check the rest of the way until Ole Miss could mount the game-winning rally in the 13th to claim the series.
Ole Miss will have the midweek off before returning home to continue Southeastern Conference play with a three-game series against Texas A&M. The set will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday evening at Swayze Field.
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