OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics) – The Rebels fell behind early, but the pitching staff settled in as the offense heated up and No. 10 Ole Miss (35-13, 15-8 SEC) rallied to clinch the weekend series with a 7-4 win over Arkansas (29-20, 10-13 SEC) Saturday at Swayze Field.
After surrendering four runs in the top of the first, the Rebels rallied with three runs in the bottom of the first and the pitching staff took over from there to put zeros on the board in the next eight innings as Ole Miss rallied for the win.
Christian Trent (7-0) picked up the win, allowing four runs on nine hits with four strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work. The southpaw allowed only two baserunners in the next 15 batters faced after surrendering the four runs in the first with one out to keep the Rebels alive in the game.
Ole Miss’ Josh Laxer picked up his fifth save of the season, allowing one hit as he worked the ninth. He was one of four pitchers used on the afternoon as the Rebels ‘ bullpen allowed only three hits and tallied 4.0 scoreless innings of work down the stretch.
Jalen Beeks (5-4) took the loss for the Razorbacks, allowing six runs – five earned – on 10 hits with two walks and a strikeout in 3.2 innings of work.
“In the first inning, if you look at what they did offensively, they squared up some balls,” said Ole Miss assistant coach Carl Lafferty. “I was proud of Christian (Trent). To really mature in this league and be a quality starter, you’re going to have to have innings like that where it just doesn’t go your way. Guys who are really elite in this league come up and do what Christian did and put up four more zeroes for us and keep us in the game and allow our offense to answer, which it’s done all year.”
Arkansas got on the board first, putting together a big first inning as the Razorbacks went to work following a pop out of the first better. Six consecutive singles brought four runs home before Trent would get a foul fly and a groundout to first to end the inning with the Rebels down 4-0.
Ole Miss went to work in the home half of the frame, putting together an answering rally to cut the lead to one run.
Three straight batters reached with one out to load the bases for the Rebels before freshman Brantley Bell delivered the first run with an RBI single to right that scored Auston Bousfield and kept the bases loaded. A wild pitch then brought Austin Anderson home and moved Bell and Will Allen into scoring position. Sikes Orvis then capped the inning with a sac fly to left to score Allen and the Rebels trailed 4-3 after the first inning.
After keeping the Razorbacks off the board in the second and third, Ole Miss again went to work in the fourth with another three-run inning.
The Rebels again loaded the bases with a single up the middle from Orvis and back-to-back bunt singles from Errol Robinson and Preston Overbey to start the inning. J.B. Woodman then singled up the middle to score Orvis and advance both Robinson and Overbey. The Rebel second baseman went too far as he rounded second, getting caught in a rundown between second and third, but the play allowed Robinson to score and Ole Miss held the lead for the first time on the afternoon.
A bunt single from Braxton Lee allowed the speedy leadoff hitter to reach and advance Woodman to second. A fielding error on the play allowed Woodman to take third and he scored a batter later on a sac fly from Bousfield as the Rebels held a 6-4 lead after the fourth inning.
Ole Miss extended the lead in the fifth when a solo shot to right field from Orvis took the lead out to 7-4.
That score would hold the rest of the way as the Rebels picked up the win and clinched the weekend series heading into the Sunday finale. Ole Miss and Arkansas will play the final game of the series at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in a game televised by CSS.