By Ole Miss Media Relations
OXFORD – The Rebels had control of things early, but a late rally by the Trojans aided by a pair of fielding errors did the home team in as No. 15 Ole Miss (21-9) fell to UALR (18-13) by a score of 9-6 at Swayze Field on Wednesday.
Ole Miss held a 5-2 lead heading into the seventh, but UALR put together a big inning as the Trojans used a pair of two-run home runs and a fielding error to push five runs across the plate and take a lead on the Rebels they would never relinquish.
Eric Callender (1-1) suffered the loss in relief as he allowed three runs – two earned – on four hits in 1.1 inning of work. The junior entered the game with the Rebels holding to a 5-4 lead and with no outs and a man on first. He gave up a two-run shot to Nate Brown in the first at bat to put the Trojans on top. Callender entered in relief of Trent Rothlin who came into the game in the fifth to relieve starter Matt Crouse.
Ryan Juris (3-3) picked up the win in relief for the Trojans, entering the game in the sixth and holding the Rebels to one run on four hits with a strikeout in 2.1 innings of work.
“Tonight was more of the same; we never took control of the game much like this weekend,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We never took control on the mound and never had an easy inning. Offensively, we got double digit hits, but only six runs. [UALR] was able to convert more of their hits into runs, and had that big five run inning to bust the game open.
“We have to get confidence back in one or more areas of our game, from pitching, fielding, or hitting. Right now, we don’t have a lot of confidence in any of those areas, and we need to get a spark to get things going again.”
Ole Miss jumped out to a quick start with two runs in the first inning. Tim Ferguson walked to open the home half of the inning and took second on a wild pitch. He then scored on a single up the middle from Matt Smith. A second wild pitch moved Smith to third and a throwing error by the catcher on the play allowed the Rebel to move to third. Smith then scored on a third wild pitch in the inning to give Ole Miss the 2-0 lead.
UALR responded with a run in the second, scoring on a bases loaded walk to cut the lead in half at 2-1.
Ole Miss pushed a third run across in the second inning when Taylor Hightower came home on a fielding error at third on a grounder from Kevin Mort. Hightower doubled before moving to third on a single from Miles Hamblin.
A home run from Matt Smith in the third pushed another run across the plate for the Rebels as Ole Miss took a 4-1 lead.
The Trojans answered with a run in the fifth that cut the lead back to two at 4-2, but Ole Miss again responded with an RBI sac bunt from Mort that scored Matt Tracy and put the lead back to three at 5-2.
UALR then used the five run seventh inning to claim the lead and never trailed again. The Trojans would add an eighth run in the eighth inning to go up by three before Ole Miss would score a single run in the bottom of eighth.
UALR pushed a ninth run home in the ninth inning for the final 9-6 margin of victory.
Ole Miss returns to action on Friday when the Rebels will take on Georgia at Foley Field in Athens, in a game televised by ESPNU at 7 p.m. CDT. Set to pitch for the Rebels is left-hander Drew Pomeranz, while Georgia is expected to counter with right-hander Justin Grimm.