Arkansas' flamethrower was beginning to look like the closest thing to a college version of Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman each time he stepped out of the Razorbacks bullpen.
On Friday, though, the Ole Miss Rebels brought Todd -- and his Diamond Hogs teammates -- back down to earth, roughing the junior college transfer up for two eighth-inning runs as the Rebs rallied for a 5-4 win against Arkansas on the opening day of the Dairy Queen Classic.
Playing in front of a small but vocal crowd of 432 inside the Metrodome, Arkansas and Ole Miss put together a good, old-fashioned Southeastern Conference clash right in the middle of Minnesota.
And the Rebels put together an inning which said loud and proud, Jess Todd, welcome to the SEC.
"(Jess) struggled because his arm is sore a little bit and he left some pitches up," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "The double down the line (by Andrew Clark), he made a good pitch there, the guy just went down and got it and did a good piece of hitting. But he just didn't have the bite on his slider like normal, but he'll get it going.
"Sometimes I think a game like that is what really shows him what he needs to work on and will get him ready for league play."
Arkansas (9-4) got five solid innings from starter Shaun Seibert, who left with the Razorbacks leading 2-1. After a solo home run by Clark tied things at 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh, the Diamond Hogs reclaimed a 4-2 lead in the top of the eighth before the Rebels (8-3) pulled off the rally against Todd in the bottom of the inning.
Chris Rhoads allowed a leadoff single to start things off for Ole Miss, but Todd followed by giving up a single to C.J. Ketchum, then the double to Clark. Add in a wild pitch and a Evan Button sacrifice fly and Todd was credited with the loss.
"Jess is a great pitcher," Seibert said. "I don't think this is going to get him down. I think he'll build off of it for the next outing, and we'll need him on Sunday."
Who knows? By Sunday, Todd may be back to his old self. On Friday, though, this fireballer sure looked human.
"(Todd) is really good and he's got great numbers and he's going to save a lot of games," Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. "It's just one of those things, it happens to guys. Luckily for us, it happened when we were playing them.
"You know, he may not blow another save for 11 weeks until we see these guys again. That's just baseball."
Dairy Queen Classic, Arkansas vs. Minnesota
WHEN: 12 p.m., Sunday
WHERE: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn.
RECORDS: Arkansas 9-4, 0-0, Minnesota 3-0, 0-0
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