OXFORD – It could have been a teammate, it could have been God. Josh Laxer wasn’t quite sure.
The Ole Miss reliever had already hung his head when pinch-hitter Henri Lartigue lifted a lazy fly ball to left-center field with two outs in the ninth.
When Laxer raised his head he saw Arkansas-Little Rock left fielder Tanner Rockwell drift into the play, and the contact with teammate Bryson Thionnet was enough for the ball to drop to the ground.
No. 25 Ole Miss scored the tying run on the error and won it in the 10th on Brantley Bell’s walk-off hit, a 2-1 victory Friday night before 6,579 fans at Swazye Field.
It’s the fifth walk-off win in the last seven games for the Rebels (12-2).
Laxer fanned seven and allowed only an unearned run in four innings.
“Someone told me to look up. I don’t know if it was God or what, but I looked up, and he dropped it, sure enough,” Laxer said. “You don’t want to win or tie on something like that, but we’ll take the W.”
UALR left-hander Travis McDonald baffled the Rebels with a big breaking ball for 61⁄3 innings.
Laxer nearly kept the Trojans (8-3) off the board in the seventh, but Mitchell Scheuler led off with a hit and scored on a two-out throwing error by shortstop Errol Robinson.
The Rebels threatened in the fourth and sixth, but McDonald escaped unscathed each time and in both innings got the decisive outs against Colby Bortles and Preston Overbey.
In both innings Bortles struck out swinging, and Overbey popped out.
In the 10th, Austin Anderson led off with a double – his third hit of the game – and moved ahead on Auston Bousfield’s sacrifice bunt.
Overbey popped out with the bases loaded for the second out, but Bell, who was 2-for-3 off the bench, lined a base hit to center on an 0-2 pitcher from UALR reliever Sam Thoele.
Bulldogs lose twice
In Tucson, Ariz., Mississippi State lost 8-3 to UC Santa Barbara and 12-3 to Arizona at the Hi Corbett Classic.
The Bulldogs (11-6) were out-hit 17-6 in the first game, as the Gauchos (9-1) extended their winning streak to seven games. Ben Bracewell (2-1) took the loss, giving up eight hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Arizona (7-7) also pounded MSU pitching for 17 hits. Starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff (1-2) took the loss, allowing six runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
MSU plays UCSB again today at 3 p.m.