The No. 21 Rebels (34-20, 15-13) supplied the final blow in a back and forth affair and knocked off the No. 9 Razorbacks (37-17, 17-11) 5-4 to clinch a berth in the SEC Tournament in front of an attendance of 8,033. Meanwhile, Arkansas is still a win away from owning the division title. Ole Miss can swipe the championship itself with two more victories this weekend and another Miss. State loss.
Rebel starter Will Kline tied a career-high with 13 strikeouts and pitched effectively for six innings before closer Cody Satterwhite (4-2) locked down the win with three scoreless frames. Kline was saddled with his eighth no decision of the season but was quick to point out that the win was important no matter how it happened.
"This was just huge tonight any way we could get it," Kline said. "I think this was one of my better outings this year and then Cody showed some guts in by finishing it. We hit the ball well and did what we needed to. Tonight was just so important for all reasons."
Ole Miss is now 2-0 this year against Arkansas with the first triumph also coming in a 5-4 final in Minneapolis, Minn., during the Dairy Queen Classic. The Rebels have taken 8 out of the last 9 against the Hogs.
Razorback ace Nick Schmidt (9-3) received the loss and suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time since his first two starts of the 2006 season. The left-hander allowed five runs on six hits in 7.1 innings, but it was the first pitch by his relief that decided the game.
With the score tied and the bases juiced in the eighth, Arkansas catcher and Ole Miss jeering target Brian Walker let a fastball from Travis Hill slip through the five hole, allowing Jordan Henry to race home with the winning run. Jordan Henry led off the inning with a bunt single to keep alive his streak of reaching base in 43 consecutive games.
The Hogs struck first in the opening inning with Kline walking Jake Dugger and Logan Forsythe drilling a triple off the centerfield wall. However, the Tupelo native regrouped on the hill by striking out the side and leaving Forsythe stranded.
The Rebels were held at bay until the fifth frame when a power surge ignited the Ole Miss offense. Cody Overbeck fell behind 0-2 before launching a home run over the leftfield wall. Zach Miller followed with a single, and Logan Power cleaned him up with his own shot over the wall to give the Rebels a 3-1 advantage. It was Overbeck and Power's 13th and 10th home runs of the year respectively.
"Just a big night for (Overbeck)," head coach Mike Bianco said. "Certainly when you're facing a guy like Schmidt you're not going to get a lot of hits and tonight he was real sharp. You're going to need a home run, you're going to need to bunch the hits, and Cody was big tonight. I thought Power's homerun was tremendous as well."
The Rebels seized the momentum following the three-run inning, but Arkansas captured it right back with a three-spot of its own in the bottom half. A walk and a Forsythe double set the table for pinch-hitter Wayne Horse. Hrozek sat on a three-one fastball and laced it down the right-field line for a home run that gave the Razorbacks a 4-3 advantage. It was the Hogs first pinch-hit roundtripper since Dugger did it against Auburn on April 3, 2005.
Trailing by the lone run, Golden Spikes contender Zack Cozart took matters into his own hands during the sixth inning. Cozart reached on a hit by pitch and advanced to second on a balk after countless throws over by Schmidt. Then, Cozart swiped third allowing Overbeck to continue his RBI tear with a sacrifice fly to knot the score.
"Zack was on third and stole a base to get there," Overbeck said. "I just tried to put the ball in play and luckily he gave me a pitch that I could do something with."
Afterward, Arkansas was held scoreless but was not without its chances in the last three frames. During Satterwhite's initial inning, the Hogs had a runner on third with two outs, but he attempted to steal home and was easily gunned down to end the threat.
In the eighth, a hit by pitch, a stolen base and an error by Rebel catcher Brett Basham placed another runner at third with two down, but Jordan Henry secured a fly ball that dropped Arkansas to its final three outs.
Finally in the ninth, two walks set the table for the Razorbacks with one down before Satterwhite coaxed a pop-up from three-hole stick and struck out clean-up hitter Casey Coon to lock down game one for Ole Miss.
The Rebels will take the field to try for the series win and inch toward a division title at 7 p.m. Friday, but Bianco is still undecided as to who will get the starting nod.
"It's either going to be Lance or Bukvich," Bianco said. "We're thinking about it. One is Lance on short rest. We want to check and see how he felt throwing the ball and then talk about the game a little bit in terms of a righty/lefty match-up."
Rebels halt Hogs to clinch Hoover berth
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