The NCAA tournament resume is complete for better or worse. Whether Ole Miss has done enough to earn a national seed will be learned on Monday when the field is announced at 11:30 a.m. on ESPNU.
The biggest concern for the Rebels – and there are many when you lose a 6-0 lead – is Sam Smith’s sudden vulnerability as the third starter.
After going at least six innings for eight straight starts, Smith has gone less than five innings in four of his last five starts.
He put up three scoreless innings to start the game, but even then he was often pitching behind in the count.
The Smith concern is magnified by the unknown health of Christian Trent.
Coaches talked about stiffness and said they were not concerned when they removed him from his scheduled Thursday start. Bianco said after the game that Smith would have started a semifinal game against LSU. So they’re confident enough to hand him the ball had there been another game tomorrow, but Trent’s health is certainly something to watch, and Ole Miss fans remember the end of the 2009 season for Scott Bittle.
Smith didn’t pitch well, but Errol Robinson’s error on a fairly routine ball that could have been a double play could have been a game-changer. If the Rebels get two there the odds of another scoreless inning on the board are increased dramatically. Then all of sudden the Hogs get three.
Here’s the Ole Miss postgame;
The two close calls that went against Ole Miss were unfortunate. They cost the Rebels in this game, but those things tend to balance out over a season.
For those wondering, the call at third base and the Razorbacks’ eighth-inning double did not fall within the parameters of what is allowed for experimental replay in this tournament. Here’s what’s allowed, and it’s not much.
- Deciding if a home run is fair or foul.
- Deciding if a ball is a home run or stayed within the playing field.
- Fan interference on home run balls.
- Deciding if a ball is fair or foul.
After a lengthy discussion of umpires, Arkansas’ Brian Anderson was ruled safe at third in the fourth. The replay I saw in the press box showed him to be out.
The next man up for the Hogs, Alex Gosser, got a line drive to make Anderson the third run.
Also, the replay I saw looked like Joe Serrano was out at second in the eighth.
About the game …
Ole Miss jumped all over Arkansas starter Dominic Taccolini. He hadn’t pitched much this season and wasn’t expected to pitch long.
The Rebels had less success against James Teague, who had pitched even less this season than Taccolini – just 11 innings.
After racing to a 6-0 lead after three innings, the Rebels scored just one run the rest of the way.
Teague gave up just two runs over 4.2 innings and kept the Hogs close. This from a guy who had not thrown an SEC inning.
Teauge kept the game under control and handed it off to the Hogs’ more experienced Michael Gunn.
Teague’s second run came when he gave up a double to Austin Anderson to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Anderson eventually scored on a Sikes Orvis ground ball against Gunn.
While Arkansas completely turned the momentum in the game, Ole Miss reliever Preston Tarkington did a good job of guarding the door to the fort for a time. He allowed Smith’s last two runners to score in the fifth but gave up none of his own over a 3-inning stint. It won’t be surprising to see him get the call before Wyatt Short in a regional.
Ole Miss had 10 hits, three from Austin Anderson and two each from Braxton Lee, Auston Bousfield, Will Allen and Will Jamison.
Sikes Orvis was only 1-for-9 for the SEC tournament but had three RBIs, two of them today.