HOOVER, Ala. - The 15th-ranked Arkansas baseball team used a walk off wild pitch in the 10th inning to defeat No. 21 Ole Miss, 2-1, on Wednesday morning in the Razorbacks' first game of the 2013 Southeastern Conference Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
"It was a very well played game," Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. "Both pitchers and bullpens did a tremendous job. We got out of some jams. We both hit some line drives. We had the unfortunate play that would have been a two-run single and given us a two-run lead going into the ninth and it hits a runner in the foot. It just figures that the game would end on a wild pitch, the most exciting play in baseball next to the sacrifice fly. From our standpoint, we were glad to see it."
Arkansas improves to 36-19 on the season, while Ole Miss is 37-21 on the year. The Razorbacks will now play at 4:30 p.m. against the winner of the game between second-seeded LSU and No. 7 seed Alabama
After each team scored a run in the first inning, neither team was able to break through with another run until the bottom of the 10th when the Razorbacks scored the game-winning run. With one out, Brian Anderson hit a ground-rule double to center field, putting a runner on second base. Dominic Ficociello then blooped a single into right field, moving Anderson to third. Tyler Spoon was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. After Jacob Mahan struck out for the second out of the inning, the first pitch to Eric Fisher was in the dirt and got past Ole Miss catcher Stuart Turner, allowing Anderson to score from third on the wild pitch with the game-winning run.
The Arkansas offense pounded out 11 hits in the victory, led by Matt Vinson, who went 3-for-5 with a run scored. Brian Anderson, Dominic Ficociello and Joe Serrano each had two hits, while Tyler Spoon was 1-for-4 with a RBI.
Austin Anderson had two hits to lead Ole Miss' six-hit attack. Stuart Turner was 1-for-3 with a RBI, while Will Jamison, Tanner Mathis and Andrew Mistone each had a hit.
Arkansas reliever Jalen Beeks (6-1) earned the victory after striking out two and giving up just one hit. Ole Miss reliever Aaron Greenwood (3-5) pitched well out of the bullpen, but took the loss. Greenwood gave up a run on five hits and struck out four in 3.1 innings.
Neither starter factored into the decision. Arkansas starter Barrett Astin tied a career-high with eight innings and gave up a run on five hits with four strikeouts. Sam Smith worked six innings for Ole Miss and allowed a run on six hits with four strikeouts.
Ole Miss jumped out to an early lead with a run in the top of the first. Mathis began the inning with an infield single and then advanced to third after back-to-back ground outs. Turner came through with a two-out RBI single to right, scoring Mathis.
Arkansas answered with a run in the bottom of the first. With one out, Vinson singled into left and advanced to second after a ground out by Anderson. Ficociello was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second, bringing Spoon to the plate. Spoon went the opposite way, singling into right to score Vinson from second and tying the game at one.
The Razorbacks had a great chance to break the 1-1 tie in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with one out. Spoon roped a liner, but right at the Ole Miss second baseman for the second out of the inning. Eric Fisher then stepped to the plate and hit a grounder that appeared destined for right field. However, the batted ball hit Jacob Mahan, who was the runner at first, for the third out of the inning and keeping the game tied at one until the 10th.