HOOVER, Ala. – The 20th-ranked and No. 7 seed Arkansas baseball team (37-21) came out on the winning end of a pitcher’s duel Wednesday afternoon, picking up a 2-1 victory over 10th-ranked and No. 2 seed Ole Miss (40-17) in the second round of the SEC Tournament.
For the second straight game, the Arkansas pitching staff rose to the occasion and shut down the opponent as Chris Oliver (8-4) tossed 6.1 innings and gave up just four hits and no earned runs, while walking two and striking out one. He gave way to an inning of work for Michael Gunn, before Jacob Stone earned his second save of the year with 1.2 scoreless innings and two strikeouts.
The Razorbacks broke out the bats early, using a pair of singles and hit by pitch to load the bases with no outs in the first inning. Brian Anderson followed and lined a sacrifice fly to centerfield, sending Clark Eagan to the plate for a 1-0 Arkansas lead.
Both teams put up zeroes until the top of the sixth inning when Eric Fisher led off with a single to right field, stole second base and raced home on a wild pitch to double the Razorback lead to 2-0.
The Rebels cut that lead in half in the seventh inning, manufacturing their only run of the game, but Gunn induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Ole Miss had a chance to tie or take the lead in the eighth inning, but Stone came in out of the bullpen and recorded a pair of crucial strikeouts with the go-ahead runner aboard to slam the door and send Arkansas to its fifth straight win.
The Razorbacks advance in the winner’s bracket and will take on 8th-ranked and No. 3 seed LSU on Friday at 4:30 p.m. in the third round of the championship. The contest will be televised on CSS, CST and ESPN3.
For more information on Arkansas baseball, follow @RazorbackBSB on Twitter.
Head Coach Dave Van Horn Quotes
Opening comment: "First, I thought it was a great game. The two teams basically mirrored each other. We hit a lot of balls hard. It was like neither team could get the big hit. Brian (Anderson) hit a ball about as hard as you can in the first inning with the bases loaded and we get a sacrifice fly out of it. I thought the pitching for both teams was outstanding. We were fortunate to win. We have played a lot of one run games this year so we were actually very comfortable with it."
The Razorbacks improved to 25-33 all-time in the SEC Tournament. Arkansas opened the SEC Tournament with back-to-back wins for the second straight year and the fifth time in 20 SEC Tournament appearances. Arkansas advances to take on 8th-ranked and No. 3 seed LSU Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The Razorbacks dropped two of three to the Tigers on the road during the regular season. Arkansas earned its 11th victory of the year against a ranked opponent, including the fifth over a top-10 team. The Razorbacks improved to 6-4 all-time against the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament. Arkansas earned its fourth win in seven tries against Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament. Arkansas turned a double play in the seventh inning to give the Razorbacks an SEC-leading 56 on the year. The Razorbacks have won five straight games and eight of their last nine against SEC opponents. Arkansas has allowed two runs or less in 32 of 58 games this season. In 6.2 innings pitched, Chris Oliver recorded his sixth start in 15 tries without allowing an earned run. Oliver recorded a season-high two pickoffs, to give Arkansas an SEC-leading 18 on the season.