Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Walt Beazley)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The No. 15 Arkansas baseball team dropped a hard fought series finale to No. 8 Ole Miss, 6-4, on Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
The Rebels take two out of three games in the series and improve to 20-2 overall and 2-1 in SEC play. Arkansas drops to 14-7 overall and 1-2 in league play.
With the game tied at four entering the 13th inning, Ole Miss put together a two-run rally without the benefit of a hit to win the game. Tanner Mathis drew a leadoff walk. Auston Bousfield then laid down a sacrifice bunt in front the plate. Jake Wise attempted to throw out Mathis at second, but the throw was low and couldn't be handled by shortstop Brian Anderson for an E2 to put runners on first and second. Austin Anderson then laid down a sacrifice bunt up the third base line. Brandon Moore fielded the bunt and threw the ball down the right field line, allowing Mathis to score and advancing Bousfield to third. A sacrifice fly off the bat of Stuart Turner drove home Bousfield with the Rebels' second run of the inning.
Arkansas was unable to get anything going in the bottom of the 13th against Ole Miss closer Brett Huber as the Rebels hung on for the 6-4 win in the series clincher.
Arkansas out-hit the Rebels 10-9 in the game. Matt Vinson had a team-high three hits with a run scored, while Joe Serrano and Jake Wise each had two hits. Serrano drove in two runs and had a run scored, while Wise also added a RBI.
Along with his strong performance at the plate, Vinson also made an outstanding diving catch down the left field line. Anderson hit a fly ball down the left field line. Vinson raced over to the line and made a diving headlong grab, sliding into foul territory as he made the grab.
For Ole Miss at the plate, Will Allen had three hits and drove in a run. Turner added a pair of RBI, while Sikes Orvis was 2-for-4 in the contest.
Ole Miss reliever Brett Huber (2-0) earned the win. Huber struck out one and retired each batter he faced in 1.2 innings of work.
Moore (1-2) took the loss out of the Arkansas bullpen. The right hander gave up two unearned runs on just one hit over four innings.
Neither starter factored into the decision. Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek gave up three runs, just one earned, on four hits with four strikeouts in 4.2 innings. Ole Miss starter Sam Smith gave up a run on three hits in five innings.
After a scoreless first three innings, Ole Miss struck first with two runs in the fourth inning. Turner reached on a fielding error by Brett McAfee to start the frame. A walk to Andrew Mistone put runners on first and second. After a strikeout of Orvis, Allen doubled over Vinson's head in left field, scoring Turner with the game's first run. A sacrifice fly to center off the bat of Will Jamison plated Mistone to put Ole Miss up 2-0.
Arkansas answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Serrano started the inning with a single. With two out, Vinson lined a single to center to put runners on first and second. Wise then grounded a hit into left field, plating Serrano from second.
Ole Miss regained a two-run lead in the top of the fifth on a RBI single to center field by Turner, scoring Mathis.
The Razorbacks took their first lead of the day with three runs in the seventh. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Jacob Morris blooped a single into left field, scoring Vinson. After the next two batters were retired, Serrano came through with a clutch two-RBI single just over the head of the Ole Miss shortstop to score two runs and put Arkansas in front 4-3.
The lead was short-lived however as Ole Miss tied the game with a run in the eighth on a bases loaded walk to Lance Wilson. The walk to Wilson was the last run either team would score until Ole Miss broke through in the top of the 13th.
The Arkansas baseball team continues SEC play next weekend at No. 6 South Carolina. Game times for the weekend series are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, 2:15 p.m. on Saturday and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Chad Crunk: Arkansas Media Relations