Ole Miss falls to Arkansas in the SEC Semifinals, 3-2. Ole Miss had plenty of chances in this one, but mental mistakes and questionable base running cost them a third straight trip to the conference final.
Keeping up with the trend of the week, Cody Adcock pitched his career best game. In 4.1 innings he allowed 5 hits and 2 runs to score. A 2-run homerun with 1 out in the 1st put the Hogs up early. It looked like Adcock would struggle, but he rebounded for 12 more outs without a run. Jackson Kimbrell, unfortunately, took his first loss of the season in a solid 1.2 inning effort. A 2 out double plated the go-ahead run in the 6th and that’s all Arkansas needed.
Wes Burton put together 2.2 scoreless innings and struck out 5 today. He gave way to Austin Miller who struck out the only batter he faced. The pitching staff elevated their game all week and today was no different.
Ole Miss did their damage in the 5th. 2 runs scored off a double hit by Jacob Gonzalez before the Rebs would eventually leave the bases loaded. After the double, Kevin Graham was intentionally walked with 1 out. Elko struck out (I guess he can’t be perfect ALL the time) and Dunhurst popped out to the pitcher to end the frame.
The Rebels probably should have plated 3 runs in the inning and had another out to work with, but a very questionable full count pitch was called a strike and Ben Van Cleve was sent back to the dugout instead of being issued the walk he deserved.
The 4th inning had something cooking for the Rebs too. Runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out resulted in 0 runs after a “strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out” caught Graham at 3rd. Then later in the 6th, the Rebs blew another chance. TJ McCants singled the tying run over to 3rd, but he was thrown out at 2nd trying to stretch a base hit into a double for the third out. Ole Miss was doubled up in both the 1st and 7th innings to scratch away any run scoring chances there and went down without a fight in the 8th and 9th innings.
With 6 hits sprayed throughout the lineup, none were bigger than the double by Gonzalez. Unfortunately, he was the only one to come up clutch in this one. Elko went 1-4 with 3 Ks on the day making this an incredibly rare bad day for him.
Arkansas was extraordinarily beatable today. The Rebels, during this tournament, have taken advantage of other teams’ mistakes. The Rebels, however, could not take advantage of the countless opportunities they had today and they will be sent home 1 run short of a championship appearance.
Ole Miss has locked up a top 16 ranking and the right to host a regional tournament. The exact seeding will be determined on Monday. This game (or more likely a win against Tennessee in the championship) could have been enough to get them considered for a top 8 seed and the right to host a Super Regional the following weekend.
All things considered, the SEC Tournament was a productive showcase for Ole Miss who erased some of the weak moments in the middle of the season. It certainly would have been nice to win this tournament again and potentially replace Mississippi State as a top 8 National Seed, but the baseball gods have other plans.
Hopefully in the coming weeks the pitchers can stay as hot as they have been and the hitters can follow their lead. A few less mental mistakes could be the difference between Omaha meaning a CWS appearance for the Rebs and it meaning Ole Miss At Home Again.