Win or Go Home

HOOVER, Ala. – Ole Miss heads to Thursday of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in a "win or go home" situation after losing to seventh-seeded Arkansas 2-1 on Wednesday.

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The second-seeded Rebels play sixth-seeded Vanderbilt, which lost to LSU 11-1 in game one on Wednesday, at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Junior left-hander Christian Trent (2.44, 8-0) will be on the mound for the Rebels, while junior right-hander Tyler Beede (7-6, 3.42) is the projected starter for the Commodores.

The Wednesday Game

Ole Miss had plenty of chances but could never find an effective offense against Arkansas starter Chris Oliver, a right-hander.

Six of nine innings the Rebels got the leadoff batter on base in the contest but managed only one run all day. They left seven players on base.

But the Razorbacks were also fairly ineffective offensively, leaving nine runners stranded.

The Rebels were able to get out of a serious jam in the first inning as Chris Ellis allowed a leadoff single by Arkansas' Clark Eagen, then hit batter Joe Serrano, and gave up another single to Andrew Benintendi to load the bases. A fly ball to center field by Arkansas cleanup hitter Brian Anderson got a run home, but Eric Fisher flew out to left, and Tyler Spoon struck out swinging.

The Rebels simply weren't themselves on this day offensively. It was pinch-hitter Colby Bortles who came off the bench in the seventh inning for a base hit that drove in Sikes Orvis for the lone Rebel run.

Ole Miss missed out on some excellent opportunities early. Will Allen led off the second with a double, and Errol Robinson led off the third with a double. But Ole Miss wasn't able to follow up on either situation for runs.

Arkansas threatened in the top of the eighth. But the Rebels were able to get out of it with a one-out popup bunt caught by relief pitcher Scott Weathersby. He then threw to third base for a double play to keep the Rebels within only a run.

Weathersby went 2.2 innings, striking out three Razorbacks with two walks, a hit, and no runs.

Ellis had gone 6.1 innings and after the early struggles was his usual reliable self. He allowed two earned runs on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

Quoting the Participants

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco:

"I thought it was one of those typical Friday nights in the Southeastern Conference. Both pitchers on short rest pitched great. It comes down to a timely hit and executing offensively. We blew some opportunities early. It's magnified when a pitcher is as good as Oliver is. He pitched very similar to this in Oxford a few weeks ago (in an 11-1 Arkansas win on Sunday). We knew how good he would be. I thought Chris (Ellis) was excellent as well."

Errol Robinson
Danny Parker

Bianco on Arkansas' pitching:

"That's them and they've always pitched. This team is no different. Oliver is a good one that's pitched well and beaten a lot of teams in the Southeastern Conference."

Bianco on the decision to bunt J.B. Woodman with two on and no outs in the second inning:

"They were on first and second and we moved them up. Basically we've done that all year to move them up in scoring position. Today was one of those games where runs were at a premium and you've got to score. It didn't work out (as far as scoring any runs)."

Bianco on Ellis as the game moved on:

"He had some bad fortune early, but he minimizes and does what he's done all year long. He just doesn't give up runs. He makes pitches and gets out of innings. He's a warrior out there. Today it didn't look like he was maybe going to be on, and he's out there a hundred pitches later."

Bianco on Scott Weathersby:

"He's able to throw the fast ball on both sides of the plate. He's able to throw the curve ball into the strike zone. He's able to throw a changeup. When you do that, it's tough on the hitters. He's a great athlete and he dives and catches that squeeze bunt. He's been big for us the last three or four weeks."

Ole Miss starter Chris Ellis on his first inning:

"The first inning's been a little bit of trouble for me all year. The first guy I threw a curve ball to him and he hit it up the middle. I almost fell on my face on the mound. I ended up hitting the next guy, and they did a good job capitalizing on it."

Ole Miss catcher Will Allen on facing Arkansas starter Chris Oliver:

"He's a stud. He's got a great arm. All of his pitches he was throwing into the strike zone and keeping all of us off balance. We got some good swings and hit some balls right at some guys. Unfortunately that's baseball and it's going to happen. But when we get opportunities, we've got to get that done. That's what the great teams do."

Allen on the Thursday game being a "win or go home" situation:

"Obviously we've got the early game against a very good team. Our team will be ready to play. We're a very good team, a very talented team. We've got all the confidence in the world. We'll come out and play hard."

Arkansas starter Chris Oliver:

"Getting the offspeed pitch over, that played a huge part in it today. I had the fastball a little more when we played in the conference series at Ole Miss. (The Rebels') approach was different today They had a lot better approach today."

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