FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The Ole Miss baseball team used a three-run second inning as well as solo home runs by junior Cameron Dishon and sophomore Colby Bortles to even up the series against the Arkansas Razorbacks with a 5-4 victory Friday night, March 27, at Baum Stadium. The win brings the Rebels (14-13, 4-4 SEC) back to .500 in SEC play and gives them a chance to claim a conference road series in tomorrow's finale.
"To be able to bounce back after some losses, I really thought our guys did a good job tonight," said Ole Miss Head Coach Mike Bianco.
Dishon led the Rebels at the plate with a career-high three hits, including a solo home run for his second of the season. The Ole Miss right fielder crossed the plate twice and recorded a pair of RBI, knocking in the game's first run as well as his own on his blast to left field.
Bortles hit his third homer of 2015 in what ended up being the game-winning run. Freshman Will Golsan also added a big two-RBI single with the bases loaded in the second inning. As a team, the Rebels tallied nine hits on the evening, including six with two outs.
Redshirt sophomore Brady Bramlett (4-1) allowed two runs on seven hits and a pair of walks, while also striking out five Razorbacks (13-13, 2-6 SEC), to earn the victory on the mound. Senior Scott Weathersby struck out four over three innings of work, and lefty Wyatt Short (3) closed out the ballgame in the ninth for his third save of the season.
"I thought Brady really competed," noted Bianco. "He was able to work the strike zone tonight. They (Arkansas) were able to run his pitch count up."
The Rebels were able to get to Arkansas starting pitcher Trey Killian (0-2) as the right-hander surrendered five runs on six hits and four walks. At the plate, Andrew Benintendi hit a two-run homer, and Bobby Wernes had a 2-for-4 night.
Ole Miss struck first, using a two-out rally to plate three runs in the second. Kyle Watson and J.B. Woodman started things off with walks before Dishon found a hole in the left side of the infield. Watson motored around from second to score and put the Rebels on the board first. After Connor Cloyd drew another walk, Golsan worked a full count and lined a base knock to left field to bring two more Rebels across the plate.
Arkansas cut into the lead in the bottom half of the inning by scoring one, but Golsan made sure the Razorbacks did not get any more. With two outs and two runners in scoring position, the freshman made a diving stop to prevent Arkansas from tying the game and keeping Ole Miss ahead, 3-1, at the end of two innings.
The Rebels increased their cushion back to three by playing long ball in the top of the fourth. Dishon continued to produce at the plate, leading off the inning with a solo home run to left field to make it a 4-1 ballgame. Once again, just like in the second, Arkansas countered with a run to slice the Ole Miss lead back to two, 4-2.
Leading off the fifth, Sikes Orvis took the first pitch deep to left field, but it was caught at the warning track. However Bortles stepped to the plate as the next batter and made sure that his blast would not be in play, clearing the fence in right center field to quickly bring the lead to three, 5-2. The solo home runs in back-to-back innings marked the Rebels' second multi-homer game of the 2015 season.
Arkansas used a two-run home run by Benintendi in the bottom of the seventh to make it a one-run ballgame, 5-4. A leadoff walk followed by the homer to right field brought the tying run to the plate for the Razorbacks. However, Weathersby prevented the home team from squaring the game up or taking the lead, keeping the Rebels ahead by one through seven innings of play.
Weathersby worked a shutdown inning in the eighth before coming out for the ninth to face Benintendi again. This time, the senior Rebel forced a flyout to center field for a big first out of the final inning. Short entered in relief to get the last two outs, including the final one on a chopper back to the mound as he flipped to Orvis at first to seal the win for Ole Miss.
The rubber match between the Rebels and Razorbacks will take place tomorrow afternoon, March 28, at 2:00 p.m. CT. The game will air on SEC Network+ as well as the Ole Miss Radio Network.