The No. 8 Rebels spit, sputtered and stumbled during regulation and finally succumbed to the visitors an inning later, as Central Arkansas (8-11) added its name to the growing list of smaller programs that have knocked Ole Miss (13-6) off its once-mighty perch.
The Bears escaped a ninth-inning jam and notched the winning run minutes later off closer Justin Cryer for the 4-3 victory Tuesday in front of 4,028 at Swayze Field. The Rebels have lost four of their last six, including a 1-3 mark in the last four midweek contests.
"Probably the most disappointing loss since I have been here," Mike Bianco said. "Enough with the excuses. You can't blame baseball for this. We had every opportunity to score runs and would not swing or pull the trigger. On the mound, it was decent, but we are supposed to be good. Certain guys have to step up, and we didn't do it."
Fuller Smith led Ole Miss with a four-for-four performance in only his fourth start of the season. The senior captain connected for two doubles and one run scored. While Ole Miss scattered ten hits as a team, the timing was very poor.
The Rebels left 15 runners on base and wasted away a tremendous opportunity to take the win in the bottom of the ninth. Cody Overbeck doubled to open, and the Bears responded with two straight intentional walks to load the bases with nobody out. But it worked out, with UCA pitcher Matt Humphrey striking out Zach Miller and Tim Ferguson to end the inning.
"It was a frustrating day," Ferguson said. "We missed a lot of opportunities and couldn't put it together. It was one hit here or there."
Humphrey (2-2) pitched the 10th as well for the victory.
Cryer (1-2) suffered the loss after allowing two hits and three walks in one official inning of work. He failed to record an out in the decisive frame. Rory McKean finished the game and kept the damage at one run.
"Cryer didn't throw strikes, it was pretty obvious," Bianco said.
Phillip Irwin started for Ole Miss and lasted five innings, giving up three runs on six hits. White-hot reliever Scott Bittle spelled Irwin and produced three innings of shutout baseball before Cryer entered.
Logan Power and Overbeck joined Smith with multiple hits. Overbeck has now hit safely in all 19 games this season.
Ole Miss led 2-0 before the Bears tied it in the fifth and took the lead in the sixth inning. A half-inning later, the Rebels tied it for the last score before the free baseball.
The Rebels will look to rebound Wednesday against Arkansas-Little Rock at 5:30 p.m. A starting pitcher has not been named.
Beary Bad Night
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