OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - It took an enormous offensive output and another nerve-wracking save by Parker Caracci, but No. 4 Ole Miss baseball found a way to secure yet another series win and take control of the SEC West, edging No. 5 Arkansas, 11-10. The two teams combined for 19 runs in one three-inning stretch, but the Rebels (25-4, 6-3 SEC) got the pitching effort they needed in the end as Caracci shut the door late for his sixth save of the season in front of the fifth-largest crowd in Swayze Field history at 11,146.
Cole Zabowski and Tyler Keenan made use of the long ball to help the Rebels plate eleven runs throughout the game, while Keenan recorded one of his best games in Oxford, knocking three hits to go along with his trio of RBI. James McArthur (4-0) picked up the win after going 6.0 innings with only three runs allowed, while Parker Caracci earned his fifth save in the last nine days after 1.2 innings of work without a run allowed.
At one point in the sixth, the Rebels led by as many as six runs, but the Razorbacks stormed back with eight runs in the seventh and eighth to force the Rebels to expend their bullpen. Arkansas forced Ole Miss to use four different pitchers in the seventh, the most the Rebels have used in one inning this whole season, but the home team stormed back with a Keenan home run off the top of the left field wall in the eighth and did not look back.
The game led off not as the score may suggest, with only two runs combined between the teams for the first four innings, the one for the Rebels coming on a Nick Fortes sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Ole Miss let the bats fly in the fifth, which began on the Zabowski solo home run. Chase Cockrell and Keenan followed up the Zabowski home run with singles, and three more came around to score on after an error, sacrifice fly and RBI single from the bat of Thomas Dillard.
The Rebels loaded up the bases just an inning later with no outs and added another run when Jacob Adams got a free pass to first. Keenan and Cockrell got their second runs in as many innings when they came around to score on a sacrifice fly and RBI groundout, respectively.
The Arkansas bats came alive in the seventh, however, when McArthur exited after 81 pitches and a solo home run. The potent Razorback offense jumped on two of the Rebels' top arms, Will Ethridge and Dallas Woolfolk, who both saw action in the inning. Arkansas allowed Ethridge to go just 0.2 of an inning, giving him three earned runs on a home run and RBI single. Woolfolk took over for Ethridge, but after a single and hit batter, Bianco elected to go with Will Stokes.
Stokes was lifted for Caracci after another home run in the eighth cut the Rebel lead to one, but a Keenan three-run home run an inning prior helped keep the lead in favor of Ole Miss. Caracci went 1.2 innings, allowing just one baserunner on a leadoff double in the ninth. However, he shook off that inning-opening hit to ultimately pick up his sixth save to give the Rebels the game and series victory.
Ole Miss improves to 25-4 on the year and 6-3 in the SEC to catapult them to first place in the SEC West. The Rebels won three out of four over top-15 ranked opponents this week and will be back in action at Memphis on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT.