When the Rebels got one run in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead in Friday night's game, it was as if the life was drained out of the ballpark.
Why? Because the Rebels had the bases loaded with no outs and that was all the scoring they could muster.
The 22nd-ranked Ole Miss Rebels came out on fire against the 10th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks, both on the mound and at the plate. But it was the visitors from Fayetteville who rolled in this one 12-3 before 4,236 at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
Rebel starter Craig Rodriguez took care of the Hogs in the top of the first. In the bottom of the frame, Justin Henry singled, C.J. Ketchum singled, and Chris Coghlan walked. And that was about it.
Zack Cozart struck out. Alex Presley flew out to left for the Rebels' lone run, scoring Henry. Then Mark Wright struck out.
For the Rebels it was lights out.
Arkansas put up a 3-spot in the top of the second, the big shot a 393-foot three-run home run over the right field wall by Jack Duggar, which followed a leadoff double by Danny Hamblin that nobody in the outfield could get to and a single by Wayne Hrozek to center.
After the Rebels went lightly three up, three down in the bottom of the second, the Hogs put three more runs on the scoreboard in the top of the third. All that activity came with two outs. As a matter of fact, all the runs came with one swing of the bat, yet another three-run shot out of the ballpark.
Duggar singled with two outs, followed by a single from Logan Forsythe. Then came Brian Walker's shot over the left field wall that made it 6-1 Hogs.
Arkansas added two runs in the fourth on yet another home run, this time a two-run shot over the right field wall by Hamblin after James Ewing had singled.
Down 8-1, the Rebels couldn't make a run at the Razorbacks at all as Schmidt gave up only four hits in seven innings of work allowing two earned runs with 12 strikeouts and two walks to move to 8-2 on the season.
A seventh-inning home run over the right field wall by Justin Brashear, his 10th of the season to lead the team, was the only run the Rebels could muster the rest of the way off Schmidt. The Rebels' third run of the game came on another solo home run, this time a ninth-inning pinch-hit shot over the left field wall by Peyton Farr off UA reliever Chris Rhoads.
"I thought Schmidt after the first inning was the best he's been all year," said Razorback head coach Dave Van Horn. "He used the changeup and breaking ball and spotted the fast ball in and out. He really pitched tonight. When you're up 6-1 you can relax, and he did a good job."
Rebel sophomore shortstop Zack Cozart said give Schmidt all the credit after the Razorbacks outhit the Rebels 17 to 8 on the night.
"He pitched a good game," said Cozart, 0-for-4 in the contest. "We knew coming in he had good stuff. We just didn't compete enough at the plate, myself included. We have to find that intensity and fire in our eyes we had a couple of weeks ago and keep competing."
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said the Rebels are not playing as well as they are capable of playing at this point in the season.
"The bottom line is we're not doing anything to win the baseball game," he said. "We're not hitting enough. We're not pitching enough. We're just not playing well right now."
Rodriguez said he wasn't as good as he's been either.
"I just fell behind some of the batters (who hit home runs), and they knew what was coming," said the Rebel junior who allowed nine earned runs on 13 hits with five strikeouts and no walks in falling to 3-3 on the year. "They knew fast ball was coming. I was 2-0 on two of the three. I also left some 0-2 pitches up. They hit the ball. I have to make better pitches and hit more spots. I just haven't pitched as well the past couple of weeks."
Bianco said Rodriguez just couldn't finish.
"He had two outs and nobody on and ended up giving up three (runs), then he had two outs and nobody on and gave up two," Bianco said. "It looked like he was going to get his rhythm, get those outs, and come back to the dugout in good shape. He had a couple of tough innings there and it just didn't happen."
But tomorrow is another day. The Rebels (31-19 overall and 13-12 in the SEC) and Razorbacks (35-15, 15-10) play at 3 p.m. in a televised game on Fox Sports Net South.
"We need somebody to step up on the mound and we also need to get some runs," Bianco said. "We need somebody to get us going offensively. We just haven't done enough at the plate or on the mound to win. It was crucial as far back as the first inning. Bases loaded for us with no outs and we score one run. Then they answer with three. For several weeks we were on the other end of that. Now we're on the wrong end of it. We have to change that."
Hogs rip Rebs 12-3 in opener
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