The Razorbacks (34-18) entered the night in a four-way tie for first place. Of the leaders, only Alabama won. The Tide (14-14) is alone in first. Ole Miss (34-18), Arkansas, Auburn and Mississippi State are all 13-15 in second. LSU is 12-16.
The Hogs lost a one-run decision Saturday at South Carolina on a solo homer in the ninth. They are 8-6 in one-run games in SEC play, 13-7 for the season.
With DJ Baxendale mowing down the Rebels, Collin Kuhn gave the Hogs the lead with a solo home run in the sixth, a towering fly ball that made it to the UA bullpen by just a few feet.
That's when the Rebels did just enough against Baxendale. The sophomore righthander had faced just one over the minimum through six. He allowed a one-out walk in the fourth and a stolen base for his only real danger to that point.
Arkansas wasted its best chance in the seventh. With one out, Matt Reynolds walked, Matt Vinson singled to left and Jarrod McKinney walked to load the bases. Tim Carver hit a bouncer just to the right of the second base bag for a second-to-short double play to end the inning.
The Hogs went one-two-three in the eighth. Reynolds singled through the left side in the ninth but was stranded at first when Vinson struck out.
"We had chance to tie it up and maybe even blow it open in the seventh, but we didn't get the key hit," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "DJ pitched well. They just got the big hit and we didn't."
The Hogs couldn't solve Ole Miss lefty Matt Crouse and righthanded reliever Jake Morgan. Crouse (7-4) gave up six hits in 6 1/3 innings. Morgan got his sixth save. He hasn't allowed an earned run in 11 appearances on the season after coming back from elbow surgery.
Van Horn went for the safety squeeze when McKinney faced Morgan with runners on first and third in the seventh. McKinney pulled back twice on balls, once on a called strike. Then walked on a 3-2 pitch. Van Horn said he didn't want to squeeze with the bases loaded before Carver hit into the double play.
"We called it with (McKinney) up, but I don't like it with the bases loaded," he said. "You've got a better chance of not hitting into the double play than squeezing in that situation."
The Hogs hit the ball hard early in the game, but it was always right at a fielder.
"We did, but we didn't hit it hard when it counted," Van Horn said. "We didn't get it done."
Van Horn didn't know the results around the league Thursday night in the battle for first place. And he didn't care.
"We aren't paying any attention to that and don't care," he said. "Our players know what they have to do. They just have to go out there and win. That's what we were trying to do tonight. We've got a big game tomorrow."
Bo Bigham said, "It's the biggest game of the year, but that's the way it is all year. We know we have to win. This was tough tonight because everyone wanted to win this one. We battled. That's tough for DJ because he pitched well enough for us to win on almost any other night. He got the bad end of the stick tonight, that's for sure."
Baxendale knew he didn't do enough, either.
"I didn't make enough big pitches in the seventh," he said. "It looked like we were going to cruise until then. I do know our guys battled at the plate. They hit some that looked good but went right to their fielders."
Collin Kuhn rounds third after a sixth-inning home run.
James McCann doubles in the fourth inning.
Photo by Marc F. Henning