HOOVER, Ala. (WCBI/Ole Miss Athletics) – The Rebels raced out to an early lead, but couldn’t hold the Razorbacks off down the stretch as No. 10 Ole Miss (41-18) fell to No. 20 Arkansas (38-22) by a score of 8-7 in an elimination came Saturday at the SEC Tournament.
Ole Miss will now await the announcement of host sites and bids for the NCAA Tournament that starts next weekend. Host sites will be announced at 8 p.m. CT on Sunday with the announcement of the field of 64 at 11 a.m. Monday on ESPNU.
Wyatt Short (3-3) suffered the loss in relief, allowing two runs on three hits with a walk and a strikeout in 1.0 innings of work. Short left the game with a man on base in the ninth who went on to score the game-winning run.
Michael Gunn (4-2) picked up the win in relief, holding the Rebels scoreless through 1.2 innings with a walk and a strikeout before Jacob Stone picked up his third save of the season by pitching the ninth.
“It’s a disappointing game to end the tournament, especially when we had a six run lead through three innings of play,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “It was a tough outing for Sam and we didn’t help him any defensively. Arkansas capitalized on those opportunities. They didn’t relent and they made the plays when they had the chance.”
Ole Miss got off to a quick start with three straight singles to get on the board in the first. Braxton Lee beat out an infield single to the left side before stealing second. Back-to-back singles from Auston Bousfield and Austin Anderson then brought him home as the Rebels took the 1-0 lead.
A fourth straight single to open the inning loaded the bases and Arkansas called time for a mound visit. Orvis then battled to a full count before drawing a walk to score Bousfield and keep the bases loaded.
A sac fly to left from J.B. Woodman brought a third run home, but Arkansas was able to turn two as Will Allen couldn’t get back to the bag at second in time. Ole Miss got another single, but the Razorbacks ended the frame with a deep fly ball to left. The Rebels held a 3-0 lead after the first, however.
Ole Miss extended the lead in the second inning when Allen came to the plate with two men in scoring position and two outs on the board. The Razorbacks turned to the bullpen for right-hander James Teague and Allen drove a two-RBI single deep to left center to take the lead out to 5-0.
The lead moved to 6-0 in the third when Robinson delivered a groundout down the first base line on a check swing with runners at the corners. Woodman scored on the play after reaching on a walk and moving to third with a single from Jamison and a fly ball deep to center from Overbey.
Arkansas struck back in the fourth, capitalizing on a fielding error to put together a three-run inning and cut the lead in half.
A walk and a fielding error on a ball to short put the first two men on base to start the inning. Another walk loaded the bases before a single to shallow center brought the first run home. A sac fly to center field brought the second run home as Ole Miss got the first out on the board and left men at the corners.
The Rebels got a ground ball to third with an opportunity to turn a double play, but after the out at second, the fielder fell down and the third run in the inning scored before Ole Miss would get out of the inning two batters later holding to a three-run lead.
Arkansas continued to chip away at the lead in the fifth, using a double, a single and a double to bring a run home to start the inning. Ole Miss turned to its bullpen at that point, calling on right-hander Preston Tarkington out of the bullpen with two in scoring position and no outs on the board in a 6-4 game.
A groundout to short got another run home as the Rebels traded the run for an out, but a line drive to first brought the tying run home as the Hogs found new life and tied the game 6-6 in the fifth.
The Rebels moved back in front in the seventh when Orvis brought Anderson home from third on a ground ball to third. Anderson opened the inning with a double to right field before taking third on a groundout from Allen. The Orvis groundout brought him home and gave Ole Miss the lead back at 7-6.
Arkansas tied things back up in the top of the eighth, using a one-out double to spark a rally. The next batter delivered a single to right and a throwing error on the play allowed the batter to get into scoring position with one out on the board. Short then delivered a strikeout and a flyout to end the inning with the game tied once more at 7-7.
The Razorbacks claimed the game with a final rally in the ninth, sparked by a close call at second to open the inning. A ball hit to left was ruled a double after the umpire ruled the tag wasn’t applied in time at second to start the inning. A sac bunt moved him to third and then a sac fly brought him home as Arkansas took the 8-7 lead.
Ole Miss was unable to rally again in the ninth, falling by one run in the elimination game.
#20 Arkansas 8, #11 Ole Miss 7 (May 23, 2014 at Hoover, Ala.)
Arkansas………… 000 330 011 - 8 10 0 (38-22)
Ole Miss………… 321 000 100 - 7 12 2 (41-18)
Pitchers: Arkansas – Dominic Taccolini; James Teague(2); Michael Gunn(7); Jacob Stone(9) and Alex Gosser. Ole Miss – Sam Smith; Preston Tarkington(5); Wyatt Short(8); Josh Laxer(9) and Will Allen.
Win-Michael Gunn(4-2) Save-Jacob Stone(3) Loss-Wyatt Short(3-3) T-3:09 A-0
S. Smith faced 3 batters in the 5th.
W. Short faced 1 batter in the 9th.