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Rebels come up short in rubber match with Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) — In the rubber match of a SEC weekend series, the Ole Miss baseball team came up short in a 5-2 setback to Arkansas on Saturday afternoon, March 28. The Rebels (14-14, 4-5 SEC) scored the game's first two runs before the Razorbacks (14-13, 3-6 SEC) recorded the final five runs while keeping Ole Miss off the scoreboard.

Senior Austin Knight went 3-for-4 with a double and one RBI to lead Ole Miss at the plate. The three hits tied a career high for the Rebels' catcher as he also recorded a trio of hits versus Murray State, April 9, 2014. Connor Cloyd added a single that knocked in the first run of his Ole Miss career.

Freshman Will Stokes (0-2) was brilliant through four innings, retiring the first 10 batters he faced before running into trouble in the fifth inning. The right-hander left the game after 4.2 innings with the bases loaded; however, all three runs crossed the plate following his exit, and he had to take the loss.

One night after earning the save and sealing a Rebels' victory, sophomore Wyatt Short pitched 2.2 innings and allowed one run on two hits in relief. The solo home run surrendered by Short ended an impressive stretch for the southpaw as it was the first time he gave up a run over 13.1 innings in seven appearances.

Arkansas pitcher Jackson Lowery (2-0) pitched three innings of relief to pick up the win for the home team. Zach Jackson (2) finished the game to collect the save. On the offensive side, Tyler Spoon went 2-for-4 and hit a solo home run, while Bobby Wernes added a pair of hits as well for the Razorbacks.

Keeping up the trend of the series, freshman Kyle Watson drew a walk in the top of the second to become the Rebels' first baserunner for the third-straight game. The speedy freshman advanced to second after an errant pickoff attempt to get into scoring position. With two outs, Knight fought through a seven-pitch at bat to single up the middle and bring Watson across the plate. The RBI hit put Ole Miss on the board first for the second-consecutive contest, 1-0.

Stokes retired the first 10 hitters he faced before the Razorbacks squeezed a base hit through the left side of the infield with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Nonetheless, the seeing-eye single did not affect the freshman as he made a quick pickoff move to nail a runner at first and get out of the frame.

The Rebels added another run in the top of the fifth. Cameron Dishon stole second before motoring into third as the throw from the Arkansas catcher sailed into center field. With his teammate 90 feet away and the Arkansas infield playing in to prevent another run from scoring, Cloyd hit a chopper through the infield to right, plating Dishon and doubling the Ole Miss advantage. However, in the bottom half of the inning, Arkansas used three singles and two walks to score three runs, taking the lead for the first time, 3-2.

Ole Miss threatened to score in four-straight innings by getting two runners on base in each of the frames, but the Rebels were stranded on the base path. Arkansas added one run in the sixth and another in the eighth to end up with the 5-2 decision.

Up next, Ole Miss will remain away from home for its midweek game next week, making its shortest road trip of the season. The Rebels will battle Memphis, March 31, at AutoZone Park, home of the Memphis Redbirds, Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. CT.

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