FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — It took 13 innings and almost everyone on the bench, but the No. 6 Ole Miss Rebels made the plays when needed Sunday to defeat No. 15 Arkansas 6-4. The victory earned the Rebels the Southeastern Conference series opener against the Razorbacks, who won Saturday’s game 10-1. Ole Miss opened the three-game series with a 7-1 win Friday. Ole Miss improved to 20-2 overall, while Arkansas fell to 14-7.
Tied at four heading into the 13th inning, the Rebels got things started with a leadoff walk from Tanner Mathis. Auston Bousfield then put down a sacrifice bunt and the Razorbacks went for Mathis at second, but bounced the throw behind him.
Austin Anderson then lay down a sac bunt down third base line, advancing both runners to scoring position.
The throw to first on the bunt sailed past the first baseman, allowing Anderson to reach safely while Bousfield moved to third and Mathis scored to put the Rebels on top.
A sac fly from Stuart Turner to right field brought Bousfield home and gave Ole Miss the 6-4 cushion it would need to pick up the series-clinching win.
“It was a great college baseball game and a big win for us on the road,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “Both teams played their hearts out and it’s what the SEC is all about. It was a grind it out kind of game that could have gone either way. That last inning we were able to get the leadoff walk and put down the bunts and do the things to pull us through.
“The challenge today was coming back out today after winning on Friday then getting our rear end kicked on Saturday,” Bianco added. “Could we answer the bell and could we do it on the road? We played really hard and neither team played really well, but obviously we’ll take it.”
Brett Huber (2-0) picked up the win in relief, holding the Razorbacks hitless through the final 1.2 innings.
He entered the game with one out and a man on first in the 12th inning and allowed the Rebels to pick up the win.
Huber entered the game in relief of right-hander Tanner Bailey, who turned in his best outing of his career as he worked 5.1 innings in relief, scattering five hits and striking out nine batters while not allowing a walk.
Brandon Moore (1-2) suffered the loss for Arkansas, allowing the two unearned runs on one hits with three walks and a strikeout through four innings of relief work.
Ole Miss struck first, scoring two runs in the top of the fourth.
Turner reached on a fielding error at short and Andrew Mistone walked to put two men on before a Will Allen double to the wall in left field brought the first run home. The second run came home on a sac fly to center from Will Jamison and the Rebels held the 2-0 lead.
Arkansas cut the lead in the bottom half of the inning on a two-out single through the left side from Jake Wise. The Wise hit brought home Joe Serrano who reached on a single to open the inning. Serrano moved into scoring position on a two-out single from Matt Vinson to set up the RBI-single from Wise that cut the lead to 2-1.
Back and forth
The Rebels moved back in front by two runs in the fifth on a single up the middle from Turner that scored Mathis from second. Mathis reached on a single and took second on a groundout to first from Anderson to set up the two-out RBI from Turner.
Arkansas put together a three-run rally in the seventh to briefly claim the lead.
The Razorbacks put the first three men on base with a single, a double and a walk before Jacob Morris would deliver a one-out single to left to bring home the first run.
A fielder’s choice gave the Rebels the second out on a force play at home but left the bases loaded with two outs.
Serrano then singled over the glove of a leaping Anderson at short to bring home two runs and give the Razorbacks the 4-3 lead.
Ole Miss returned the favor and tied the game in the eighth inning, loading the bases with back-to-back singles and a hit batter before pinch hitter Lance Wilson drew a bases-loaded walk to even the score at four.
Arkansas would get out of the inning, however, when the shortstop snagged a flare from Bousfield on the run in shallow left to get out of the inning.
The Rebels and Bailey held the Razorbacks in check the rest of the way until Ole Miss could mount the game-winning rally in the 13th to claim the series.
Ole Miss starter Bobby Wahl improved to 5-0 on the year by logging seven innings of work. He was aided by a grand slam from Preston Overbey after the Razorbacks gained a 1-0 advantage.
Arkansas took control of the contest in the middle innings by scoring seven of its 10 runs in the ffith, sixth and seventh innings overall. Mike Mayers took the loss for the year and is now 2-1 on the season. (March 18, 2013, Page 2B)