SEC BASEBALL:

UA hurt by brunt of bunts

2 miscues in 4th critical for Hogs

By: PARRISH ALFORD SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE
Published: Sunday, May 4, 2014
Arkansas pitcher Jalen Beeks (49) reacts to being pulled from the game afterthre and two-thirds innings with the Razorbacks trailing Mississippi 6-4 in an NCAA college baseball game at Oxford-University Stadium in Oxford, Miss., on Saturday, May 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Oxford Eagle, Bruce Newman)
Arkansas pitcher Jalen Beeks (49) reacts to being pulled from the game afterthre and two-thirds innings with the Razorbacks trailing Mississippi 6-4 in an NCAA college baseball game at Oxford-University Stadium in Oxford, Miss., on Saturday, May 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Oxford Eagle, Bruce Newman)

OXFORD, Miss. - Arkansas got the big inning Dave Van Horn was looking for, but it got it only once, and that wasn’t enough Saturday afternoon.

The Razorbacks gave left-hander Jalen Beeks a four-run cushion in the top of the first but couldn’t score again.

Beeks, meanwhile, allowed season highs of 10 hits and six runs as Ole Miss rallied to win 7-4 and clinch the SEC series before an announced crowd of 9,416 at Swayze Field.

The Razorbacks slapped hits left and right against Ole Miss left-hander Christian Trent, but Trent survived. He hit a groove after the first and combined with three Ole Miss relievers to throw eight shutout innings the rest of the way.

The Rebels (35-13, 15-8 SEC) go for the sweep at 1:30 today. The Razorbacks scored twice in the fifth inning in Friday’s 3-2 loss and have been held scoreless in 16 of 18 innings.

Arkansas (29-20, 10-13 SEC) roughed up Trent with six hits in the first but got just three more over the next four innings before he left in the sixth.

Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn lamented the lack of big hits from the Hogs in the opener, and they responded fast and in a big way Saturday.

Eric Fisher’s two-run single stunned the home fans, and Tyler Spoon and Blake Baxendale also had RBI hits in the first.

Just when it looked like it could have been cruise control for Beeks, the Rebels answered. Beeks had allowed as many as four runs in a game only once, but the Rebels scored three on four hits in the bottom half of the inning.

They couldn’t tie the game on a two-out hit by Errol Robinson when Spoon, the right fielder, threw out Brantley Bell at the plate to end the inning.

Bell had an RBI hit, another run scored on a wild pitch by Beeks, and Sikes Orvis drove home a run with a sacrifice fly.

After a marathon first inning it was a 4-3 game with two starters who entered with sub-3.00 ERAs.

“That was hard to swallow,” Van Horn said. “We spotted him a four-run lead, then he comes out and he just didn’t command the baseball. They’re a good hitting team.”

The Rebels took the lead in the fourth.

Orvis singled through the right side, and the two bunts that followed were misplayed by the Hogs. Nobody was covering first on Robinson’s bunt. When Preston Overbey laid one down right of the mound, Beeks retrieved it and looked at third before throwing late to first.

A big inning was born. Ole Miss finished it with three runs on six hits.

“The key to that game was there in the fourth inning when they scored three runs,” Van Horn said. “They laid down a push bunt, a great bunt, and he can fly. We didn’t have anybody there. Then they lay down another bunt, and it just doesn’t happen for us.

“That put some pressure on us, and we didn’t do a very good job with it.”

Fisher led the Razorbacks with three hit and is 5 for 7 on the weekend.

Will Allen was 3 for 4 for Ole Miss, and Orvis had two hits, one of them a home run in the fifth, his 12th.

“We feel like we can score runs, and we feel like we have a pitching staff that can hold opponents’ down,” said Ole Miss assistant coach Carl Lafferty, who handled interviews after Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco, who celebrated his 47th birthday Saturday, left quickly for a personal engagement. “It was early in the ballgame, and for the offense to come back and answer back … that was huge.”

Today’s game ARKANSAS AT OLE MISS

WHEN 1:30 p.m. Central WHERE Swayze Field, Oxford, Miss.

RECORDS Arkansas 29-20, 10-13 SEC; Ole Miss 35-13, 15-8 RANKINGS Ole Miss is ranked No. 11 by Baseball America and No. 10 by Collegiate Baseball TV CSS RADIO Razorback Sports Network statewide radio network. Not all games will be carried by affiliates. Check local listings.

THE WEEK AHEAD

TODAY at Ole Miss, 1:30 p.m.

MONDAY Off

TUESDAY Off

WEDNESDAY Off

THURSDAY Off

FRIDAY Texas A&M, 6:35 p.m.

SATURDAY Texas A&M, 6:05 p.m.

THURSDAY’S GAME Kentucky 15, Tennessee 1

FRIDAY’S GAMES Mississippi 3, Arkansas 2 Tennessee 8, Kentucky 2 Mississippi State 3, Auburn 0 Georgia 3, South Carolina 1 Vanderbilt 8, Missouri 3 LSU 5, Texas A&M 4 (10) Florida 7, Alabama 3

SATURDAY’S GAMES Mississippi 7, Arkansas 4 Tennessee 5, Kentucky 1Texas A&M 3, LSU 2 South Carolina 5, Georgia 2 Vanderbilt 5, Missouri 1 Florida 4, Alabama 3 Mississippi St. 3, Auburn 0

TODAY’S GAMES All times Central South Carolina at Georgia, noon LSU at Texas A&M, noon Mississippi St. at Auburn, noon Vanderbilt at Missouri, noon Florida at Alabama, 1:05 p.m.

Arkansas at Mississippi, 1:30 p.m.

Sports, Pages 25 on 05/04/2014

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