HOOVER, Ala. (WCBI/Ole Miss Athletics) – The Rebels had chances but couldn’t take advantage of them, leaving seven men on base and four of them in scoring position in a tight contest, as No. 10 Ole Miss (40-17) fell to No. 20 Arkansas (37-21) by a score of 2-1 at the SEC Tournament on Wednesday.
Ole Miss will now face No. 19 Vanderbilt in an elimination game at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
Chris Ellis (9-1) suffered his first loss of the season, allowing two runs on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work. Right-hander Scott Weathersby continued to be solid out of the bullpen, working 2.2 scoreless innings with a hit, two walks and three strikeouts to give the Rebels a chance to rally.
Chris Oliver (8-4) picked up the win, however, as Ole Miss was unable to complete the rally. Oliver allowed one unearned run on four hits with two walks and a strikeout through 6.1 innings of work. Jacob Stones picked up his second save of the season, working the final 1.2 innings with a hit, a walk and two strikeouts.
“Today’s game was like a Friday night in the SEC,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “That was two great pitchers going at each other on short rest out there. It comes down to timely hitting and taking advantage of opportunities. We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we got, and in a game like that mistakes are magnified.”
Arkansas got off to a quick start against the Rebels, loading the bases with a pair of singles around a hit batter to start the first inning. Brian Anderson then hit a sac fly to center to bring the first run home and give the Razorbacks the early lead. Ellis then responded with another fly out and strikeout to end the inning and limit the damage to one run.
Ole Miss got a chance to respond in the second, putting two men in scoring position with a sac bunt from J.B. Woodman. Will Allen opened the inning with a double down the third base line before Sikes Orvis drew a walk. Woodman then put the sac bunt down the first base line to advance both runners, but a fly out and a strikeout left the men stranded and kept the Rebels off the board.
The Rebels again got a rally started in the third with a leadoff double from Errol Robinson, but he was picked off second to end the threat. Arkansas then got a pair of fly outs to end the inning as Ole Miss remained scoreless.
Arkansas extended the lead in the sixth inning to take a 2-0 advantage on the Rebels. A leadoff single from Eric Fisher started the inning before he stole second. A groundout to second with one out moved Fisher to third before a wild pitch brought him home to take the lead out to two runs.
Ole Miss struck back in the seventh inning with an RBI single from Colby Bortles that cut the lead to 2-1. Sikes Orvis opened the inning with a single before a passed ball and wild pitch moved him to third. With one out on the board, pinch hitter Colby Bortles singled to right to bring him home and put the Rebels on the board. A double play ended the inning, however, and the Rebels trailed by one after the seventh.
The Razorbacks looked to add to the lead in the eighth with a leadoff double from Brian Anderson. He took third on a sac bunt and brought Tyler Spoon to the plate. Ole Miss intentionally walked Spoon to set up the double play.
Arkansas attempted a suicide squeeze with Bobby Wernes, but the Rebels made the play. Werenes popped the bunt up down the first base side and the Rebels’ Weathersby dove in full extension to make the play and catch the ball for an out. He then jumped to his feet and threw to third to complete the double play as Spoon was out on the force and the inning ended without a run scoring.
The Rebels again got a runner in scoring position in the eighth inning after a leadoff single from Robinson and a sac bunt from Lee. Ole Miss couldn’t get him home as a strikeout, a walk and a strikeout ended the prospects of a rally and sent things to the ninth down 2-1.
Ole Miss couldn’t complete the rally, falling to the Razorbacks in the one-run contest.
#20 Arkansas 2, #10 Ole Miss 1 (May 21, 2014 at Hoover, Ala.)
Arkansas………… 100 001 000 - 2 8 0 (37-21)
Ole Miss………… 000 000 100 - 1 7 0 (40-17)
Pitchers: Arkansas – Chris Oliver; Michael Gunn(7); Jacob Stone(8) and Alex Gosser. Ole Miss – Chris Ellis; Scott Weathersby(7) and Will Allen.
Win-Chris Oliver(8-4) Save-Jacob Stone(2) Loss-Chris Ellis(9-1) T-2:51 A-5941
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