FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – A day after using the long ball to pick up a win in the series opener, small ball and miscues did in the Rebels as No. 6 Ole Miss (19-2, 1-1 SEC) fell to No. 11 Arkansas (14-6, 1-1 SEC) by a score of 10-1.
Ole Miss got nine hits on the afternoon, paced by a 3-for-4 day from Auston Bousfield, but the Rebels were never able to string hits together to answer Arkansas runs. The loss evened the weekend series at a game each after Ole Miss won the first game 7-1 on Friday night.
Mike Mayers (2-1) suffered the loss for the Rebels, allowing seven runs – five of them earned – on nine hits with three walks and five strikeouts through 5.1 innings of work.
Randall Fant (1-0) picked up the win as he held the Rebels to one run on seven hits with five strikeouts through 6.0 innings on the mound.
“Arkansas played well today and Fant was good at keeping us off balance,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We had some innings with some good at bats, but we could never chain it all together. I’m disappointed in our effort. We didn’t compete well enough and defensively I was just disappointed. We have to play better than that. You won’t win every game and Arkansas beat us, but we have to play better baseball.”
For the second straight day, the Razorbacks struck first with a single run in the first inning. A lead-off walk put Jacob Mahan on base before a sac bunt and a groundout would move him to third. Mahan then scored on a ground ball to first when it was ruled that Mayers missed the bag with his foot for the third out, allowing the batter to reach and the run to score. The Rebels ended the inning with a groundout back to the mound but trailed 1-0.
Arkansas extended the lead in the second, using a lead-off single and a sac bunt to put a man in scoring position again. The Razorbacks then used a single to left and a push bunt to get the run home and take the 2-0 lead on the Rebels.
Another single loaded the bases before Arkansas would get a third run home when the Rebels looked to turn two on a ground ball to second, but the first base ump again ruled the ball didn’t arrive in time for the final out of the inning, giving the Razorbacks a 3-0 lead.
Ole Miss got on the board in the fourth inning on a single up the middle from Sikes Orvis that brought Auston Bousfield home from second. Bousfield reached on a single to left and got into scoring position on a single up the middle from Stuart Turner to set up the RBI single from Orvis.
The Rebels threatened again in the fifth inning, putting the first two batters on with back-to-back singles. Ole Miss couldn’t get a man home, however, as the Razorbacks got a force out at third on a bunt, a fly out and a strikeout to end the inning.
Arkansas extended the lead again in the bottom half of the inning, putting the first two men on base with a hit batter and a single. A bunt back to the mound was misplayed and then thrown away, allowing both runners to score and Arkansas’ Matt Vinson to go to third on the play. Mayers then retired the next three batters to get Ole Miss out of the inning, but trailed 5-1.
The Razorbacks built on the lead in the sixth inning, plating two more runs on a one-out double to right center from Tyler Spoon that ended the day for Mayers and brought in left-hander Matt Denny from the bullpen. Ole Miss trailed 7-1 with a man on second when Denny took the mound.
Arkansas added to the lead in the seventh, using a wild pitch on a strikeout to get a man home from second with two outs. The ball in the dirt got away to the backstop along the third base line and instead of a third out ending the inning, the Razorbacks converted to score the run.
A walk of the next batter followed by a single to left and a throwing error from left field to the plate brought two more men home and the Rebels trailed 10-1 before getting out of the inning. The Razorbacks then held the Rebels in check down the stretch to even the series.
Arkansas and Ole Miss will conclude the weekend series with the finale on Sunday. Game three is set for a 1 p.m. start time.