A come from behind win pushed the Ole Miss Rebels to beat the Arkansas Razorbacks and move on to play the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Tournament semifinals in Hoover, Alabama.
After an impressive outing from Doug Nikhazy yesterday, another freshman pitcher showed up big for Ole Miss in Hoover. Gunnar Hoglund had his longest career start on the mound for the Rebels, going 6.1 innings. He retired the first nine batters he saw.
Hoglund held one of the most explosive offenses in the SEC to only three hits. He exited in the seventh only giving up two walks and two runs, but striking out six. His two runs allowed came off of a two run homer from Matt Goodheart in the fourth inning.
Austin Miller came in for relief with one out in the seventh and kept Arkansas off the board to lead the way for Parker Caracci to come into the game in the ninth and close it out.
Caracci had a rough final few outings in the end of the regular season, but has been back to his saving ways in this tournament, closing out his second game of the week and securing the win for the Rebels.
The offense took a while to produce hits again tonight. Grae Kessinger had his first hit of the tournament with a single to start out the game in the first. He was 0-10 in the tournament prior to this game.
The Rebels had nothing else until the fifth inning when Kevin Graham hit a solo home run to put the Rebels on the board. Ole Miss has now scored five of their seven runs in the tournament in the fifth inning.
The difference in the game came in eighth inning. Zebulon Vermillion came in to pitch for the Razorbacks. After walking Cooper Johnson, giving up a sacrifice bunt to move Johnson over and hitting Jacob Adams to put two on with one out, Arkansas turned to their strong closer, Matt Cronin. Cronin pitched on Wednesday against the Rebels and struck out all four batters he faced. Cronin had also not given up a run in his last four appearances.
That changed in this game. Thomas Dillard was next up to bat and hit a single to left center field to score Johnson from second, move Adams to third and tie the game. Kessinger then stepped up to the plate and hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Adams and take the final lead in the game.
The Rebels will face Georgia at noon on Saturday in the semifinals for a chance to repeat and play for the SEC Championship on Sunday.