By Parrish Alford
HOOVER, Ala. – The Arkansas pitcher who shut down Ole Miss in Game 3 in Oxford dropped the Rebels into the loser’s bracket at the SEC tournament Wednesday afternoon.
Errol Robinson had a pair of hits, one of them a double, but there weren’t enough offensive highlights for the Rebels, who lost 2-1 at the Hoover Met before 5,941 fans.
Arkansas freshman right-hander Chris Oliver went 61⁄3 innings and scattered four hits. He left the game leading 2-0, but when Sikes Orvis scored the Rebels’ lone run it was charged to Oliver.
It was only the second run Ole Miss has scored off Oliver in 131⁄3 innings this season.
Ole Miss will face Vanderbilt in an elimination game this morning at 9:30. It would be a nice resume pick-up if the Rebels (40-17) can get it since Vanderbilt (41-17) is ahead of Ole Miss in the RPI rankings.
The Rebels trailed 1-0 much of the game and got on the board in the seventh. Orvis singled, and after a passed ball and wild pitch he was at third. From there pinch-hitter Colby Bortles drove him home with the Rebels’ only run-producing hit of the day.
There were plenty of other chances as Ole Miss put the leadoff man on base six times.
Ole Miss starter Chris Ellis (9-1) gave up a run in the first and one in the sixth and suffered his first loss of the year.
“We blew some opportunities early, a couple of pick-offs, and they’re just magnified because Oliver’s so good,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “The disappointing thing for us was to let Oliver have the lead, 1-0, then pitch with a lead the whole game. If we could have scratched the lead and gotten ahead … maybe that’s the difference.”
The possibility of big innings were snuffed in the first and third innings when Braxton Lee and Robinson were on base but picked off.
The Razorbacks (37-21) have allowed just one run in 18 innings here, and their pitching Wednesday wasn’t only about Oliver.
Reliever Jacob Stone pitched the final 12⁄3 innings and escaped major trouble in the eighth against two of the Rebels’ best hitters.
Robinson led off with a single and Stone entered after a sacrifice bunt by Lee. He gave up a two-out walk to Austin Anderson, but on each side of that fanned Auston Bousfield and Will Allen. He fooled Bousfield who couldn’t hold up on a check swing and got Allen looking at a fastball on the outer half of the plate.
“I missed a couple of pitches, fouled them straight back, and on that last pitch, really didn’t see it as well out of his hand,” Allen said. “You’ve got to be able to swing and fight it off especially in that situation with a guy in scoring position.”