OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics) – For only the eighth time in 49 games this season the Rebels didn’t come out on top when scoring first as No. 10 Ole Miss (35-14, 15-9 SEC) fell to Arkansas (30-20, 11-13 SEC) by a score of 11-1 to miss out on a series sweep of the Razorbacks.
Ole Miss claimed the weekend series with wins on Friday and Saturday to move into first place in the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference with two weekends to play.
After scoring in the first inning, the Rebels couldn’t keep things going as Razorback pitcher Christopher Oliver stymied the Ole Miss batters and the Arkansas offense put together four big innings to pick up the win.
Sam Smith (5-4) took the loss, allowing five runs – four earned – on six hits with a strikeout through 3.0 innings of work in the start. Jeremy Massie held the Razorbacks in check through the next 4.0 innings, putting zeros up on the board until the eighth inning when Arkansas would again cross the plate.
Oliver (6-4) picked up the win, allowing the one run on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 7.0 innings of work.
“Sam (Smith) just didn’t have any command today,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Last week, he just ran into a very hot team, a team that was due to hit for two games. It would have been tough for anybody to pitch that day. We had trouble putting up zeroes in any frame of the scoreboard. Today was different. Sam just had a tough day on the mound. For Sam to have success he has to command the ball. They really made him pay for it. On the other end, (Chris) Oliver was terrific. Just a tough day.”
Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning when Braxton Lee came home on a groundout from Will Allen to put the Rebels on top 1-0. Lee was hit by the first pitch of the game and took second on a single from Auston Bousfield. A double steal then moved both men into scoring position before the Allen ground ball brought him home.
Arkansas answered with two runs in the second with a two-out rally to move on top of the Rebels. Tyler Spoon was hit by a pitch to put him on before Blake Baxendale would deliver a two-out single. Back-to-back RBI singles from Bobby Wernes and Michael Bernal brought the two runners home and Arkansas led 2-1.
The Razorbacks pushed three more runs home in the third, using back-to-back singles to put the first two batters on and a sac bunt from Brian Anderson to move them into scoring position. Eric Fisher then drove them both in with a single through the right side. A bunt single from Spoon advanced Fisher to second and a throwing error on the play allowed Fisher to scamper to third. He then scored the third run of the inning on a ground ball to first from Clark Eagan.
Ole Miss turned to left-hander Jeremy Massie in the fourth with the Rebels trailing 5-1. The southpaw gave the home team a chance, keeping the Razorbacks off the board through the next four innings, but Ole Miss couldn’t string together the hits against Arkanasas’ Oliver to rally.
The Razorbacks then got on the board again in the eight, pushing two runs home before adding four more runs in the ninth to claim the victory in the series finale.
Ole Miss will return to action next weekend, hosting the Georgia Bulldogs in a three-game series at Swayze Field. First pitch for the series opener is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday night. Saturday’s contest is set for a 4 p.m. start with Sunday’s finale slated for a 1:30 p.m. first pitch.