FAYETTEVILLE – Four errors in the first three innings were too much to overcome for the No.16 Arkansas Razorback baseball team as it lost to the No. 9 Ole Miss Rebels at Baum Stadium on Thursday night, 7-5.
The Razorbacks (32-18, 14-13 SEC) got a four hit performance from senior Ben Tschepikow and pounded 13 hits, but could only score five runs as they left 11 runners on base. Ole Miss (38-15, 18-10 SEC) remains just one game behind LSU for the SEC Western Division lead.
You have to give our guys credit for battling back the way they did after falling behind 7-1,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “The pitching was a lot better in the last six innings. It’s hard to overcome a good team when you’re down 7-1. We had a couple of shots, got a couple of big hits, but just couldn’t finish it.”
Arkansas made errors in each of the first three innings including two in a five-run third to spot the Rebels with a 7-1 lead. Ole Miss scored just two earned runs in the game on 11 hits but solid pitching was able to keep the Razorbacks from scoring an equalizer late in the contest.
Tschepikow was perfect at the plate with four hits in five plate appearances including a walk and was joined by Andy Wilkins who belted three hits in the loss. Senior Scott Lyons contributed two hits and led the Razorbacks with a pair of RBI.
Ole Miss scored two runs in the first inning on a throwing error and completed their scoring with five in the third. The fateful inning started with a pair of singles which was followed by a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt allowing one run to score. A sacrifice fly scored the second run of the inning and the second out was recorded a sacrifice bunt. A ground ball in the infield appeared to get Arkansas out of the inning, but a throw in the dirt left all runners safe and plated another run. A double down the left-field line completed the Rebel scoring.
Arkansas retaliated with a single run in the first inning on a RBI double by Lyons and picked up a pair in the third on a solo home run by the shortstop and a RBI single by Collin Kuhn which scored Wilkins.
The Razorbacks would tally single runs in both the fifth and sixth innings as Wilkins led off the fifth with a double and score two batters later on a Tschepikow single. Wilkins would drive in Arkansas’ run in the sixth with a single that brought Tim Carver around from second base after he opened the inning with a walk.
Arkansas’ ninth inning kept fans in their seats as Tschepikow singled past the first baseman with one out. Kuhn stepped to the plate with two gone and hit a 1-0 pitch down the left-field line that curved just foul evening the count. Ole Miss closer Jake Morgan would eventually get Kuhn to fly out and end the game.
“I thought Collin’s hit in the bottom of the 9th inning was going to stay fair,” Van Horn said. “But it just went slightly right at the last second. I thought it would at least stay fair and give us a shot.”
Following the opening inning disasters in the field, Arkansas starter Dallas Keuchel pitched very well as he allowed just four hits over the next three-plus innings. The Razorbacks’ ace completed his night with a loss on the mound, but allowed just two earned runs over 6.2 innings of work, walking three and striking out six. Mike Bolsinger finished the game with a strikeout and two hits over 2.1 innings.
“Dallas battled,” Van Horn said. “He hung in there and gave us a chance to save our bullpen a little bit. We scored a couple of runs and he went out there a got a zero. Then we got another run and went back out there and got them out. He kept us in the ballgame. Mike did a good job there in the end, but we just couldn’t come through with the hits.”
The Razorbacks and Rebels continue their series on Friday night at Baum Stadium with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch. Fireworks are scheduled to follow the game. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.