By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
– Looking back: On the final weekend of the regular season, the Rebels put themselves in position to qualify for the SEC tournament with an outstanding combined pitching performance from starter Matt Crouse and reliever Jake Morgan in a 2-1 win.
But the Rebels were never able to get much done offensively against Arkansas pitching, totaling just five runs over the 23 innings of the series. Games 2 and 3 were played in a doubleheader on Saturday, which the Rebels lost 2-0 and 5-3.
The Rebels led until the sixth inning in Saturday’s second game but gave up three runs to the Razorbacks then.
– Looking ahead: A win in either game on Saturday would give clinched a spot in the SEC tournament for Ole Miss. Instead, the Rebels failed to qualify for the first time since 2002. Their season may be complete, though they maintain an outside chance to gain an at-large berth when NCAA tournament bids are announced a week from today.
– Who’s hot: In what was possibly his final appearance for Ole Miss, senior right-hander Jake Morgan pitched 22⁄3 scoreless innings Friday night for his sixth save. It was only the fifth SEC appearance for Morgan, who missed most of the conference season with shoulder soreness. Morgan has not allowed an earned run in 25 innings pitched this season.
– Who’s not: The Ole Miss bullpen – excluding Morgan, of course. Two seven-inning games on Saturday could have strengthened the pitching staffs. The Rebels didn’t call on their bullpen in Game 1, as starter David Goforth went the distance in a 2-0 loss. The Rebels needed their bullpen in Game 2, but relievers Bobby Wahl and Brett Huber were unable to hold a 3-2 lead.
– RPI watch: The Rebels have a simulated RPI ranking of 41.
– Bottom line: Few times this season were the Rebels able to play strong in all three phases. Usually the culprits were defense and relief pitching, but the defense – even with a crucial late error in Game 3 – and the pitching were good enough to find a win on Saturday. The Rebels couldn’t muster the offense for an SEC-tourney-clinching win, and now their season may be over.