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Ole Miss takes rubber game over Arkansas

By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
May 10, 2004
OXFORD A day after Ole Miss created just one run off 10 hits, Charlie Babineaux reversed the Rebels' ill fortunes at the plate.
The senior left fielder went 3-for-3 with two home runs and three RBIs, as No. 12 (Baseball America) Ole Miss took the rubber match in its three-game series against No. 8 Arkansas with a 5-3 win.
A day earlier in a 3-1 Rebels loss, Babineaux went 0-for-4 and left six runners on base.
Babineaux wasn't the only Rebels batter struggling before Sunday. Ole Miss (35-15, 14-10 Southeastern Conference) entered the series finale after scoring just two runs in its previous three games, but the offense went to work quickly on Sunday. Brian Pettway led off the second inning with a home run, and Chris Coghlan later scored on an Alex Presley ground ball for a 2-0 Ole Miss lead.
Pettway's homer was nearly caught for an out beneath the left-field foul pole, but Arkansas left fielder Jake Dugger misjudged the shot and inadvertently knocked the ball over the fence, barely inside fair territory.
The play was reminiscent of a similar sequence on Friday night, when Seth Smith's deep fly ball bounced off Arkansas center fielder Casey Rowlett's glove and over the fence for a home run.
The final outcome of Friday's unusual home run was obvious. On Sunday, Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn wasn't so sure and spent over a minute arguing the call.
The Rebels later took a 3-0 lead in the fourth on Babineaux's first home run, but Arkansas stormed back in the top of the sixth. Razorbacks third baseman Clay Goodwin led off the inning with a homer, and Jake Dugger and Brett Hagedorn each drove in a run to tied the game 3-3.
But Babineaux answered in the bottom half of the inning with a lead-off homer of his own, a 396-foot smash to left field, that put the Rebels up for good.
Pettway, who began the game as a designated hitter but replaced starter Matt Maloney on the mound in the sixth, made sure the lead held. The sophomore held Arkansas scoreless for the final three innings and allowed just one hit.
Babineaux picked up his third RBI of the day when he added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. A one-out single up the middle drove in Pettway, who led off the inning with a double.
The Rebels, who won a three-game series against the Razorbacks for the first time since 1995, moved within two games of SEC West-leading Arkansas (33-16, 16-8 SEC). Both teams have two three-game sets left on the 2004 SEC schedule. The Razorbacks begin a series at Mississippi State on Friday and host Auburn on May 21-23. Ole Miss travels to face Florida beginning Friday, then faces LSU at home to finish the season.