Brian Anderson doubled, then scored on a wild pitch -- past one of the nation's top catchers -- to lift Arkansas past Ole Miss, 2-1, in 10 innings in the second round of the SEC baseball tournament in the early game Wednesday.
Arkansas (36-19) had just missed a chance to take the win when Jacob Mahan missed on a 3-2 pitch, a ball up and out of the strike zone. That would have forced in the winning run.
Eric Fisher had come on in the eighth as a pinch hitter and was robbed of a base hit when his bouncer headed for the hole struck Mahan, the base runner breaking off first. That got the Rebels (37-21) out of a bases loaded jam.
Anderson started the 10th with a blast that one-hopped the 410-foot fence in almost straight away center for a ground rule double. It was the game's only extra base hit. He had to hold at third on Dominic Fiociello's bloop single to right when the second baseman made a bid for a catch. Tyler Spoon was issued an intentional pass before Mahan went down on strikes to reliever Matt Denny.
The game ended on the first pitch to Fisher, a slider in the dirt that Ole Miss catcher Stewart Turner couldn't block. Anderson scored easily.
Arkansas lefty Jalen Beeks, who worked the final two innings, improved to 6-1 with the victory. UA starter Barrett Astin was spectacular, giving up only one run in the first.
Ole Miss reliever Aaron Greenwood, 3-5, took the loss, taking over for starter Sam Smith in the seventh.
Ole Miss, the sixth seed, advanced with a 4-1 victory over Kentucky in the first round on Tuesday. Arkansas, the third seed, had a first-round bye.
The Razorbacks advance against No. 2 seed LSU at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. LSU defeated Alabama, 3-0, in the second game Wednesday.
"It was a very well played game," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "Both pitchers and bullpens did a tremendous job. We got out of some jams. We both hit some line drives.
"We had the unfortunate play that would have been a two-run single and given us a two-run lead going into the ninth and it hits a runner in the foot. It just figures that the game would end on a wild pitch, the most exciting play in baseball next to the sacrifice fly. From our standpoint, we were glad to see it."
The Hogs improved to 10-3 in one-run games this season.
"We play a lot of tight games," Van Horn said. "It's almost like its normal now. I do feel like we're swinging the bats a lot better. We actually found the big hit, but it hit a foot and not right field. That's how the game works sometimes. You just try to keep it under control."
Both teams scored single runs in the first. The Rebels put together two hits against UA starter Barrett Astin with Stewart Tuner driving in the run with a single to right. He was out trying to stretch it into a double. The Hogs tied it on Tyler Spoon's RBI single to right to score Jacob Mahan, on with an infield hit. Mahan moved up on a fielder's choice.
The Hogs left the bases loaded in the fifth. Joe Serrano hammed a line drive off the chest of the third baseman. Matt Vinson singled to center, with Serrano going to third. After Anderson walked on a 3-2 pitch, Ole Miss starter Sam Smith struckout Dominic Ficociello on a ball in the dirt.
Astin cruised through seven innings on 81 pitches and got two quick outs in the eighth. Will Jamison lined a single to left, then moved to third when Astin's wild pitch got past backup catcher Jean Rameriz, starting for the ill Jake Wise. Ficociello snared Will Allen's liner to end the inning.
In the UA eighth, the Hogs left the bases full again. Anderson lined a one-out single to right center, then moved to third on Ficociello's lined single to right. Anderson was safe at third on a close play. Spoon hit a hard liner, but right at the second baseman for the second out.
Mahan was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Eric Fisher hit a liner that hit Mahan breaking off first for the third out. It appeared the shot would have been into right for a hit.
Arkansas reliever Jalen Beeks worked through trouble in the ninth. There was a single off his foot, then an error by Mahan at third on a wild throw for an error that Fisher came off the bag to snare. Beeks got the third out on a strikeout with Rameriz holding a foul tip.
Van Horn praised Astin's performance.
"He located his fastball extremely well," Van Horn said. "It had a lot of sink. If you noticed, there were a lot of groundballs. His curveball had a lot of bite on it. He threw a slider cutter. That's two of the last three games that he's given us eight innings."
Senior captain Matt Vinson said it doesn't matter how the Hogs win.
"A win is a win; we'll take it," Vinson said. "We would have liked to have gotten the job done in the previous at-bat but it didn't happen and we got the win on the wild pitch. It was good."
Vinson admitted that the Hogs have had to scratch for runs the last couple of years, but anyway they can get to a matchup with LSU is fine.
"It's great; we always want to go out into these games and get the win," Vinson said, "and it has been a bit of a struggle the last couple of years but we feel good about tomorrow."
Arkansas 2, Ole Miss 1
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