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Hogs extend season, hand Rebels first NCAA Tournament loss

Three solid performances from Arkansas left-handed pitchers kept the Hogs’ season alive, as they defeated Ole Miss 3-2 Wednesday.

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OMAHA, Neb. — Eight combined innings of one-run ball from Arkansas left-handed pitchers Hagen Smith and Evan Taylor were almost for naught Wednesday night. Ole Miss was 180 feet of walking off the Razorbacks and ending their season, but a lineout to left field sealed a 3-2 decision for the Hogs, extending their NCAA Tournament another day.

The first three runs of the contest came on leadoff home runs.

Graduate right fielder Chris Lanzilli put the Hogs on top with his third blast of the College World Series in the second inning, but the Rebels got the run right back when designated hitter Kemp Alderman went yard.

Arkansas senior designated hitter Brady Slavens re-established the lead in the fifth with his 436-foot tank to dead center field, the longest CWS homer ever hit at Charles Schwab Field.

Smith finished his outing with five innings under his belt and 90 pitches to his name. The freshman walked four batters and struck out eight, only allowing two hits and one run.

Taylor took the ball for the next three frames, and he faced just one more than the minimum nine batters. Arkansas got the senior an insurance run in the eighth, cashing in on a leadoff double by Cayden Wallace. Graduate catcher Michael Turner poked a single through left side, making it 3-1.

After 30 pitches, Taylor trotted back out for the ninth, but he surrendered a single to Alderman on the first pitch, prompting a pitching change. Freshman right-hander Brady Tygart made his first CWS appearance, which did not last long. He plunked two batters in five pitches, loading the bases with nobody out.

Junior lefty Zack Morris, who did not make it out of the first inning during Monday’s game against the Rebels, was the next man out of the bullpen. He fanned pinch hitter Hayden Leatherwood and induced a short pop-up for two quick outs. Center fielder Justin Bench cut the Arkansas lead in half with an infield single, but shortstop Jacob Gonzalez could not complete the comeback, lining out to left to set up a decisive seventh game of bracket play.

The Razorbacks and Rebels are scheduled to play a rubber match at 3 p.m. Thursday on ESPN2. Right-handed aces Connor Noland and Dylan DeLucia will start for Arkansas and Ole Miss, respectively. The winner will advance to the CWS Finals against the Oklahoma Sooners.

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