OMAHA, Neb. — The Razorbacks suffered their first loss in more than two weeks Monday night, as they offered ineffective pitcher after ineffective pitcher against a scorching hot Ole Miss team. The Rebels pushed Arkansas to the brink of elimination with a 13-5 thrashing.
The Hogs were hoping for a repeat performance from junior pitcher Zack Morris, who kept No. 7 Oklahoma State off the scoreboard in his last start in the decisive seventh game of the Stillwater Regional. The lefty faced seven batters, surrendering an RBI single and a bases-loaded walk to give the Rebels an early 2-0 lead.
Senior left-hander Evan Taylor took the reins from there, inducing a groundout to strand three runners before allowing a mammoth two-run homer to Rebel first baseman Tim Elko in the second.
Arkansas cut the Ole Miss lead to one run in each of the first two innings. Graduate catcher Michael Turner’s RBI double made it 2-1 in the first, and a pair of productive outs from freshman first baseman Peyton Stovall and junior left fielder Zack Gregory made it 4-3 in the second.
Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, the Rebels continued to light up every new pitcher they tried. Senior righty Kole Ramage allowed a two-run double to nine-hole hitter Calvin Harris in the third, and Harris took sophomore right-hander Jaxon Wiggins deep for a two-run home run and an 8-3 lead in the fifth. Harris was the second of six consecutive Ole Miss hitters to reach in the frame, as shortstop Jacob Gonzalez and left fielder Kevin Graham both collected RBI singles before Arkansas made another pitching change.
After two scoreless innings, the Rebels pounced for three more runs in the eighth. Sophomore right-hander Gabriel Starks allowed a walk and two hits consecutively, and all three runners came home to score.
Stovall belted a two-run homer in the ninth to make it 13-5, but that was all Arkansas had to offer.
The Hogs will play the No. 14 Auburn Tigers in an elimination game at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The winner will have to beat Ole Miss twice to advance to the College World Series Finals. The contest will be broadcast on ESPN.