Hogs Can’t String Together Hits, Fall To Rebels
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The eighth-ranked Arkansas baseball team couldn’t string enough hits together Saturday afternoon as 21st-ranked Ole Miss rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Razorbacks 4-3 and force a rubber match on Sunday at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Arkansas (22-5, 6-2 SEC) scored all three of their runs in the fourth inning off home runs by Jack Kenley and Christian Franklin, but only had one other hit in the final five innings. At the time of Franklin’s solo home run, the Razorbacks had the 3-1 lead, but saw it dwindle as the Rebels (19-9, 4-4 SEC) scored runs in the fifth and sixth innings to tie it at 3-3.
In the top of the ninth, Ole Miss took the final lead of the game when Grae Kessinger doubled home pinch runner Carl Gindl to give the Rebels the 4-3 lead. Unfortunately, Arkansas went three-up and three-down in the bottom of the ninth as Ole Miss closer Parker Caracci picked up his seventh save of the season.
Sophomore Casey Martin went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, his second three-hit game of the year. Two of his three hits were doubles, setting a career high and extended his hit streak to five games.
Kenley, Franklin and Jacob Nesbit each had one hit in the game as well. Kenley’s home run was his fifth of the year, tying for the team lead, while Franklin’s was his fourth.
Freshman right-hander Connor Noland had a nice bounce-back start after not making it through two innings last week at Alabama. Noland gave up only two earned runs in 4.2 innings on Saturday against Ole Miss, scattering seven hits and striking out three.
Saturday’s loss drops Arkansas to 4-2 in one-run games this year and 3-1 in games that it has scored three or less runs. It also breaks a streak of seven-straight home wins dating back to March 10 against Louisiana Tech.
“It was just one of those games we never could get anything going, offensively. We couldn’t string together two hits. It was one hit here, one hit there, maybe a walk and a wind-blown home run. A couple of outs, we hit another wind-blown home run. Other than that, not much offense. We had a couple of chances early to score a run or two. I think we had a runner at third, less than two, we didn’t get him in. Had a first and second, nobody out, middle of the order out, we didn’t get anybody in. We had a couple of shots and we just didn’t do it. Give them credit. They pitched better than we did. But at the same time, we had an opportunity to stay in the game and win the game and we just didn’t do it on the offensive side.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on the 4-3 loss to Ole Miss
“I thought he threw the ball pretty good. He worked out of a couple jams and had a breaking ball really working well. He started spotting the fastball in on some of the righties and made a mistake. (Tyler) Keenan was going to be his last hitter if he got him out or not and he left a changeup first pitch. It was supposed to be down and away and it was kind of up and in. He clubbed it out of the park. But, he gave us a chance to win the game. When he came out of the game, we were winning. He gave us everything we wanted, so I’m proud of him for kind of bouncing back after a couple of weekends where he didn’t throw real well and he made a big move forward this week.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on Connor Noland
“A lot of times it comes down to Sunday. Probably about seven, eight times out of 10 weekends you’ve got to figure out how to win on Sunday to win a series. It’s always a big game on Sunday, no matter what the situation is, but when it’s 1-1 it’s obviously big for both teams.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on playing a rubber match on Sunday against Ole Miss
“I guess there’s no excuses as good as we’ve been hitting. It’s a little frustrating, but then again, that’s baseball. That’s just how it goes. That’s a good team we just played. They made good pitches and we didn’t make swings. That’s on us. We’ll come back tomorrow. We’ll figure it out and we’ll hit like we have been.” – Casey Martin on the offense’s struggles on Saturday
“Coach (Van Horn) preaches on Sundays, they (teams) win championships. We kind of preached on that a little bit. Even though today didn’t go as we planned, we’ll come out tomorrow and we’ll get the dugout in it, we’ll get the hitters in it and pitching will be there like always. I think we’ll show up and do what we always do just like last Sunday. You got to bring it on Sundays, that’s just part of the game.” – Casey Martin on what it will take to win Sunday’s rubber match
Arkansas and Ole Miss will face off in the rubber match of the three-game series on Sunday at Baum-Walker Stadium. First pitch is slated for 1:30 p.m. and will be televised on SEC Network+.
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