FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – With a simple scenario of win and advance to the SEC Tournament or lose and sit and wait for the determination of NCAA fates, it was complex final innings of both games of a doubleheader on Saturday that decided things for the Rebels.
Ole Miss (30-25, 13-17 SEC) fell to No. 18 Arkansas (36-18, 15-15 SEC) in both games by two runs. The Rebels dropped the first game 2-0 and the second game 5-3 as Arkansas made big plays at the plate in the seventh inning of both games to prevent Rebel rallies.
“Our offense had a few chances today and we couldn’t get the big hit,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Both games, Arkansas made the critical plays. Both games were nail biters, they just executed more times than we did.”
Bobby Wahl (0-2) took the loss in relief for the Rebels in the second game of the afternoon, allowing two runs on one hit with three walks and three strikeouts in 1.2 innings of work.
Barrett Astin (5-1) picked up the relief win for the Razorbacks in game two, working 4.0 scoreless innings and allowed two hits with three walks and struck out three batters. Astin grabbed the save in game one. D.J. Baxendale picked up his third save of the season as he worked the final 1.0 inning with a walk, but held the Rebels scoreless and hitless after starting and taking the loss on Thursday in the series opener.
Ole Miss got off to a quick start in the second game of the doubleheader, loaded the bases with one out before Matt Tracy singled to left to bring a run home. A squeeze bunt from Hamblin in the next at bat led to a fielding error as a second run came home in the inning and kept the bases loaded with the Rebels up 2-0 before the Razorbacks could get out of the inning.
Matt Snyder took the lead out to 3-0 for the Rebels in the third inning with a solo home run – his ninth of the season – with one out in the frame.
Colin Kuhn then cut the lead to one in the bottom of the inning with a two-run shot to left with two-outs to pull Arkansas to 3-2 of the Rebels.
The Razorbacks tied things up in the sixth, using a balk call to put two men in scoring position with one out before a squeeze bunt pushed a run home and left men at the corners with the game knotted at three. A single to right pushed the go-ahead run home and a throwing error to home allowed both trailing base runners to move into scoring position
A sac fly to center field from Kuhn drove in a third run in the inning and Arkansas moved out to a 5-3 lead on the Rebels.
Ole Miss would threaten in the seventh, getting a man to third, but a play at the plate on a wild pitch that saw Jordan King attempt to score and a groundout ended the Rebel rally and the series with the 5-3 Razorback win.
Game 1 – Arkansas 2, Ole Miss 0
The Razorbacks scored early in game one and added a second run late on the way to a 2-0 win in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader.
David Goforth (4-8) suffered the loss as he allowed two runs on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work, turning in a complete-game for the Rebels in the shortened day of action.
Randall Fant (3-3) snagged the win for the Razorbacks in the first game, working 6.1 innings and holding the Rebels scoreless through 6.1 innings with a walk and three strikeouts.
Arkansas got on the board first, using a sac fly to left to push a single run home in the first inning. Bo Bigham singled and advanced to second on a walk of Kuhn. Both runners advanced on a sac bunt from Dominic Ficociello before the sac fly to left from James McCann brought Bigham home for the 1-0 lead.
The Razorbacks added to the lead in the sixth inning when Kuhn hit a solo home run to left field to put Arkansas on top 2-0.
The Rebels mounted a rally in the top of the seventh, putting two men on with one out in the inning. Matt Tracy then singled through the right side, but Alex Yarbrough was thrown out at home trying to score from second on the hit. It left men at the corners with two outs.
Arkansas then grabbed the win with a groundout to the next batter to even the series at a game each heading into game two of the doubleheader.
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