Courtesy: Zach Lawson, Athletic Media Relations
OXFORD, Miss. - Zack Cox and Tom Hauskey both went deep for the No. 10 University of Arkansas baseball team but it wasn’t enough to push past Ole Miss in a 3-2 loss Saturday night at Oxford-University Stadium. The Rebels scored three runs over the first two innings and held on for the win which moves Arkansas and Ole Miss back into a tie for first place in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. The home run for Hauskey, a solo shot in the ninth inning, was the first of his Razorback career.
Ole Miss (34-14, 15-8 SEC) jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in home half of the first. With one out, Alex Yarbrough doubled down the line in left field. Matt Smith followed with his 12th home run of the season, a two-run shot to right field off Razorback starter DJ Baxendale. The Rebels put two more runners on base during the inning but Arkansas (36-11, 15-8 SEC) escaped further damage after a pair of fly ball outs.
The home team tacked on a run in the bottom of the second. With runners on the corners and TJ Forrest on in relief, Smith singled to deep shortstop to plate Tim Ferguson, the Rebels’ third run of the game. Tim Carver saved another run with a diving stop of the middle and a flip to second to record the third out of the inning.
Cox put the Razorbacks on the board with a solo home run to lead off the fourth inning. Cox hammered a 1-1 offering from Ole Miss starter Aaron Barrett into the visiting bullpen beyond the fence in right field. It was his eighth home run of the season, sixth during Southeastern Conference play. Cox has now hit safely in seven straight and 21 of the past 22 games.
Forrest was sharp in his relief outing against Ole Miss, keeping the Rebels off the scoreboard to keep Arkansas close. The right-handed senior logged 4.1 innings, his longest appearance of the year, and matched his season high with five strikeouts.
Arkansas put together a two-out push to threaten in the sixth. Cox had a base hit up the middle to extend the inning and moved into scoring position after Brett Eibner drew a walk. Barrett buckled down and got Andy Wilkins to strike out looking to end the inning. Cox’s base knock was his 68th single of the year, tying the single-season record for singles (Matt Erickson, 1996).
With one out in their half of the seventh, the Razorbacks had James McCann on first and Travis Sample on third. Tim Carver, the Hogs’ next hitter, chopped a ball back to the pitcher who threw to home. The Rebels’ catcher ran down Sample to apply the tag for an out and then flipped the ball to the shortstop covering at third to erase McCann trying to slide in to the bag.
Geoffrey Davenport worked a scoreless seventh and eighth to keep the Razorbacks within two runs. He struck out three Rebel hitters while allowing just one hit and one walk. Davenport worked out of one-out jam with a runner on third in the eighth. He got Kevin Mort to foul out to Wilkins at first and then struck out Miles Hamblin for the third out to send the Hogs into the top of the ninth.
Eibner just missed a home run as Ole Miss leftfielder Taylor Hashman put the squeeze on the fly ball on the warning track with his back against the fence for the first out. After a foul out by Wilkins, Hauskey stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter and cranked a solo shot off Rebels reliever Brett Huber, but it was as close as Arkansas would get.
Game three of the Western Division showdown is scheduled for Sunday afternoon on the Rebels’ home field. First pitch of the series finale between Arkansas and Ole Miss is set for 1:30 p.m. The Razorbacks have yet to name a starter for Sunday’s contest, while RHP David Goforth (1-2, 8.15 ERA) is penciled in for Ole Miss.