Ole Miss Solves Arkansas, Schmidt

HOOVER, Ala. -- Ole Miss flipped the script on Arkansas starting pitcher Nick Schmidt during Wednesday's 9-4 loss against the fifth-seeded Rebels in the Southeastern Conference Tournament opener in Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

The underdog won all four games Wednesday. The fourth-seeded Razorbacks (38-18) lost their fourth straight game in the tourney. They play top-seeded Alabama (39-18), which lost 4-3 against LSU and was swept at Arkansas three weeks ago, in an elimination game at 1 p.m. today.

At Ole Miss less than two weeks ago, Schmidt dominated the Rebels for seven innings during a 12-3 win. He struck out 11 while walking two and allowing two runs on four hits.

But Schmidt wasn't himself and didn't look like the reigning SEC Pitcher of the Year from the onset on Wednesday. In six innings, he allowed four earned runs on six hits. He walked four batters, including three in the first two innings, and struck out only five, his second lowest total this season and least since striking out three in 4 2/3 innings against Cal-State Northridge on March 10.

Meanwhile, Ole Miss starter Will Kline was efficient in only his fourth start of the season. Despite walking five and giving up three runs on five hits, he matched a career-high with nine strikeouts before being relieved at the start of the seventh inning.

Kline and reliever Cody Satterwhite combined to fan 14 Razorbacks. That was the most since Vanderbilt's David Price struck out 17 in a 7-1 win against Arkansas on April 7.

In the first, Schmidt walked leadoff batter Justin Henry before giving up an RBI single to Chris Coghlan down the left-field line. A stolen base and another walk set up Alex Presley's sacrifice fly to center that spotted Ole Miss a 2-0 lead.

The Razorbacks answered with a run in the first on Danny Hamblin's sacrifice fly that scored Craig Gentry, who worked a leadoff walk. Arkansas then took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on Blake Parker's two-run double.

Parker's at-bat was quite impressive. After fouling off several breaking balls, he finally got a fastball and sliced it over right fielder Mark Wright's head.

The Rebels would regain a lead they would never relinquish in the fifth when C.J. Ketchum lined a Schmidt fastball up the middle with the bases loaded that scored two runs and made it 4-3.

Schmidt's outing would end after pitching a scoreless sixth inning. He was replaced by Brian McLelland, who allowed two runs in the seventh before Gentry, the Hogs' center fielder, made a catch in short center and fired a strike to home plate to end the inning with a double play.

But the damage was done and Ole Miss extended its lead to 6-3. The first run came across on an single by Ketchum and the second would score when Parker, Arkansas' third baseman, made a wild throw to second base on what should have been an inning-ending double play.

It was one of three errors committed by the Razorbacks, the most since coughing up four errors in a 13-6 win against Alabama on May 6.

Not that they needed it, but the Rebels added some insurance runs in the top of the ninth off reliever James Gilbert. Peyton Farr hit an RBI single through the left side of the infield and Mark Wright lined a two-run double down the left-field line to push the lead to 9-3.

The Hogs did show some signs of life in their final at-bat when Gentry and Jake Dugger hit back-to-back doubles to right to create the final margin.

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