HOOVER, Ala. – No. 17 Ole Miss stole eight stolen bases and No. 14 Arkansas committed three errors as the Rebels captured a 9-4 win on Wednesday night in front of an announced session crowd of 12,838 at the Hoover Met.
The loss drops the Razorbacks (38-18) into the loser’s bracket and sets up a showdown with top-seeded Alabama (39-18) at 1 p.m. Thursday. The Crimson Tide will send their ace Wade LeBlanc to the hill with the Hogs countering with Daryl Maday. The Rebels improved to 38-20 on the season.
Nick Schmidt, who was named SEC Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday, struggled to find the strike zone throughout his 16th start of the season. The lefty walked four and allowed four runs on six hits over six innings of work to fall to 9-3 on the season.
Will Kline (4-2) baffled Razorback hitters all night, allowing just five hits and three runs over six innings of work. Cody Satterwhite pitched the final three innings to earn his second save of the season.
Schmidt issued a leadoff walk to Justin Henry and Chris Coghlan drove him in with a double into the left-field corner. After a stolen base by Coghlan and a walk by Zack Cozart, Alex Presley hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to put the Rebels on top 2-0.
The Razorbacks answered with a run in the bottom half of the first inning on a sacrifice fly to center off the bat of Danny Hamblin. Craig Gentry and Jake Dugger drew walks to open the inning and then executed the double steal to get into scoring position.
Blake Parker continued his hot hitting and gave Arkansas its only lead of the night in the fourth inning. Parker laced a two-out, two-strike double off the right-field wall to score James Ewing and David Hum and give Arkansas a 3-2 lead.
Ole Miss got the lead right back in the top half of the fifth on C.J. Ketcham’s two-RBI single up the middle. Parker made a diving stab at third base to save a run for the second out of the inning and Schmidt fanned Mark Wright to end the inning.
Ole Miss plated its fifth run in the seventh inning with another RBI single by Ketcham off new UA pitcher Brian McLelland. Another Razorback error gave the Rebels a 6-3 lead as Parker threw a potential double-play ball into right field.
Ole Miss got to James Gilbert in his second inning of work as a bunt single by Cozart with one out in the top of the ninth inning led to three Rebel runs on four total hits and up the lead to 9-3.
Gentry and Dugger laced back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the ninth to cut the lead to 9-4 but Satterwhite closed things out with strikeouts of Ewing and Hamblin.
Ewing and Gentry both collected two hits as the Razorbacks managed just eight hits on the night.
DIAMOND HOG NOTEBOOK
· The loss was the third of the season for sophomore left-hander Nick Schmidt, which is a new career high. He posted an 8-2 record as a freshman.
· Danny Hamblin’s first-inning RBI was his 67th of the season. His sacrifice fly to centerfield tied Jeff King’s 1986 mark. King also holds the school record with 82 in 1985.
· Arkansas has now lost four consecutive SEC Tournament games dating back to a 3-2 loss to South Carolina on May 29, 2004. The Hogs are 14-22 all time in SEC Tournament play.
· UA is 3-9 in SEC Tournament games since advancing to the 1999 championship game.
· The Razorbacks are 2-2 in the SEC Tournament against Ole Miss.