OMAHA, NE. (KNWA) – If Arkansas does win its first baseball national championship, it’s going to have it the hard way.
Ole Miss scored multiple runs in four of the first five innings and routed the Razorbacks 13-5 Tuesday night at Charles Schwab Field.
The win means the Rebels (39-22), now 7-0 in the NCAA Tournament, need just one more victory to clinch a spot in the championship series that begins Saturday.
Arkansas (44-20) must win three elimination games to do so, beginning with a contest against Auburn Tuesday night at 6 p.m.
Ole Miss, who has won 15 of its last 18 games, will be off until Wednesday as it awaits the winner of that Arkansas-Auburn battle.
The Razorbacks used six pitchers, including five in the first five innings with starter Zach Morris, Evan Taylor, Kole Ramage all giving up at least two runs.
Elijah Trest was the only one of the first five Arkansas hurlers to keep Ole Miss off the scoreboard while pitching 2 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball.
The Rebels got a solid start from freshman lefty Hunter Elliott (5-3), who went 6 1/3 innings while allowing one earned run on six hits and throwing 100 pitches – 61 for strikes.
Elliott pitched six innings against Arkansas earlier in the season while getting a no decision in a game that the Razorbacks ended up winning 6-3.
Arkansas won two of three from Ole Miss in Fayetteville on April 29-May 1, but it was all Rebels on Monday night.
Ole Miss jumped out front 2-0 in the first as Justin Bench led off the single and eventually scored on Kevin Graham’s two-out single.
Morris then forced in Graham on a bases-loaded walk and that turned out to be his last pitch of the night.
Taylor came in and delivered one pitch that stranded three Ole Miss runners and finished off the first with the bases loaded.
Arkansas cut that to 2-1 in the bottom of the first when Braydon Webb singled and scored when Michael Turner’s double was lost in the sun by left fielder Graham.
Bench doubled with one out in the second and walked home an out later when Elko blasted a two-run homer way over the left field fence.
Elko’s home run, his 23rd of the season, came off of Taylor, went an estimated 416 feet and put the Rebels up 4-1.
Arkansas fought back with pair of its own in the second beginning with Robert Moore singling and racing to third on Jalen Battles double.
Peyton Stovall’s ground out brought home Moore and then Battles cut it to 4-3 as he plated on Zach Gregory’s sacrifice bunt.
Arkansas turned to Ramage in the third only to see Ole Miss score two more runs.
Hayden Dunhurst walked and Garrett Wood singled in the third before Calvin Harris’ doubled plated both to give Ole Miss a 6-3 advantage.
Harris’ two-run homer – only his second of the season – pushed that lead to 8-3 in the fourth.
Bench had four hits and Harris three as Ole Miss rapped out 13 total.
Battles and Webb both had two hits each for Arkansas, who beat Stanford 17-2 on Saturday.
Auburn eliminated Stanford 6-2 earlier on Monday.
Jacob Gonzalez and Graham both added RBI singles later in frame two push it to 10-3.
Harris’ two-run double off Gabriel Starks and a run-scoring ground out in the eight gave the Rebels a baker’s dozen.
Austin Ledbetter finished out the game on the mound for Arkansas.
Arkansas did add to their score in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run homer, but it wasn’t enough to win this one.
The Hogs fall to Ole Miss and head to the loser’s bracket. They will take on Auburn in an elimination game on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.