By Adam Brown
Ole Miss’s rally in the ninth inning came up just short as the Rebels fell 3-2 to the Arkansas Razorbacks on Wednesday, setting up a winner take all scenario with the winning team advancing to the finals on Thursday afternoon.
Ole Miss (39-23) was down 3-1 going into the bottom of the ninth. The Rebels got back in action with a hit from Kemp Alderman and back-to-back hits-by-pitches to Peyton Chatagnier and Hayden Dunhurst, loading the bases with no outs. After two outs recorded on Hayden Leatherwood and a pop out by TJ McCants, Justin Bench drove one run in on a single to the left side to make it 3-2. Jacob Gonzalez gave the ball a ride to left that ended the game.
The Rebels started southpaw John Gaddis, who allowed only two runs to the Razorbacks in 5.0 innings of work.
Gaddis worked around a lead off double to open the game by Brandon Webb.
Arkansas jumped out to an early advantage after a solo home run by Chris Lanzilli in the second.
The Rebels quickly answered with a solo home run by Alderman in the bottom of the frame.
Alderman finished the game going 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and a RBI.
Gaddis kept the Razorbacks off the board until the fifth as he retired nine of next 11 sluggers faced with a hit and a walk mixed in.
Arkansas led the fifth off with a home run by Brady Slavens to take a 2-1 advantage.
Razorbacks pitcher Hagen Smith kept Ole Miss off the base path for most of the game. Smith worked 5.0 complete innings, allowed a run on two hits with eight strikeouts and four walks.
Arkansas turned it over to Evan Taylor in the sixth and he carried them into the ninth. Taylor surrendered a run on two hits while recording four strikeouts and no walks.
Ole Miss turned to Jack Washburn in the sixth, and he worked the next two frames, allowing a run on two hits while striking out three with a walk. Jack Dougherty came in for the final two innings and held Arkansas in check with two strikeouts in the eighth with bases loaded to end the frame.
The Rebels pitching staff recorded 10 strikeouts on the night.
Ole Miss will pitch Dylan DeLucia against the Razorbacks on Thursday for the right to play Oklahoma in the National Championship Series. Ole Miss and Arkansas will take the diamond at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN 2.