Ole Miss HC Mike Bianco Ejected, Rebels Drop Series Decider Against Arkansas

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OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss) – In a wild conclusion to the weekend series against top-ranked Arkansas at Swayze Field, No. 3 Ole Miss launched a valiant comeback but came just short of taking down the Razorbacks, ultimately falling 18-14.

The Razorbacks got out to an incredible start at the plate and were even up on the Rebels 11-0 at one point in the third inning. The Rebels, however, were never out of the fight, and plated 14 over the next five innings to even up the score 14-14 in the 7th inning. Despite the comeback, however, the Razorbacks came right back for four runs over the game’s final two frames and ultimately pulled ahead 18-14.

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For the third straight game, Ole Miss once again outhit the Razorbacks 14-13, but offense was hardly the problem for the Rebels in a game with 17 walks issued to opposing hitters. Ole Miss allowed 17 free passes to Razorback runners, which ultimately helped Arkansas pull away despite a powerful showing from the Ole Miss offense.

Braden Forsyth (0-1) picked up the loss despite a fairly positive outing in comparison to the eight other Rebel pitchers who pitched today. Offensively, both Justin Bench and Peyton Chatagnier led the pack with three hits apiece, but Arkansas’ bats were simply too much to overcome in a shootout defeat at Swayze Field.

Arkansas was all over Ole Miss in the game’s first three frames. Despite a quick first from Diamond in which the Rebel starter was able to earn a pair of strikeouts, the Razorbacks came right back out in the second and exploded for five runs. Arkansas hit two homers on Diamond in the second, a three-run and a two-run, before the Rebels were able to record an out, and chased Diamond after just 1.1 IP.

Josh Mallitz, the first arm out of the pen, quickly closed the inning with a first-pitch double play, but Arkansas came right back out and plated six more an inning later, with five of them credited to Mallitz. The Razorbacks busted through with three runs scored on the first Rebel relief arm, before he was relieved for Wes Burton, who was quickly welcomed with a three-run home run from Cayden Wallace.

Following the Wallace homer, however, Burton was able to settle in and turn in two effective innings of otherwise scoreless relief. Burton recorded three crucial strikeouts in his two innings of work, and was able to hold the Razorbacks scoreless in the fourth and fifth frames before turning the ball over to Jackson Kimbrell.

Meanwhile at the plate, Ole Miss finally broke through against the mighty Arkansas arms with a five spot in the third. Jacob Gonzalez led off the frame with a double into the right field corner right before Peyton Chatagnier and Hayden Dunhurst each plated a run on an RBI single. Justin Bench capped the third with a three-run home run into the visiting bullpen as the Rebels were able to cut the deficit to six.

The Rebels got one more back in the fifth after a leadoff Chatagnier double turned into a run on a Dunhurst RBI groundout, but Arkansas would extend its lead just one frame later.
As Ole Miss watched as the Razorbacks scored three in the sixth, they did so without their skipper in Head Coach Mike Bianco, who was ejected in the top of the fifth in an argument with the home plate umpire.

The sixth saw Rebel pitchers Kimbrell and Drew McDaniel both spent before Braden Forsyth was able to get out of the inning with a groundout that left the bases loaded and held the deficit at eight.

Despite the three-run top half from Arkansas, Ole Miss was able to respond with five of its own runs in the bottom half. Chatagnier drove three home on a two-out, bases-clearing double, before Graham came right back one batter later with a two-run homer driven deep into the student section at right.

The Rebels added three more in the seventh on RBI singles from Ben Van Cleve and Hayden Leatherwood, respectively, before Calvin Harris delivered the crucial game-tying RBI one batter later on a fielder’s choice that scored John Rhys Plumlee.

Swayze Field was as loud as could be in the seventh, but it quieted down as Arkansas responded with four over the game’s two final frames against the combined work of Taylor BroadwayLuke Baker, and Tyler Myers.

With the loss, Ole Miss fell to 24-8 and 8-4 in the SEC, and will look to rebound against Austin Peay in a home matchup at Swayze Field on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT.

Quick Hits
– Ole Miss fell to 24-8 on the year and 8-4 in the SEC.
– Ole Miss outhit Arkansas in all three games this weekend, despite dropping two out of three.
– The Rebels came back from an 11-run deficit at one point in today’s game, before ultimately tying the game at 14 in the 7th inning.
– Rebel pitchers walked 17 Arkansas batters today.
– Peyton Chatagnier recorded a new career high 4 RBI today.
– Wes Burton notched a new season long outing with 2.0 effective IP today.
– Rebel head coach Mike Bianco was ejected for the first time since 2014.