By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Streaking Georgia won its seventh straight game Saturday, securing an SEC series win at Ole Miss and keeping the Rebels streaking in the other direction.
Ole Miss lost for the sixth time in seven games.
The Bulldogs totaled 14 hits against four different Ole Miss pitchers – a season-high for a Rebels’ opponent – in an 8-3 win before an announced 8,823 fans at subdued Swayze Field.
The SEC series loss is the third in the first four weeks of the conference season for Ole Miss. The mid-way point arrives next weekend when the Rebels (19-13, 4-7 SEC) host Kentucky.
In two games, the Bulldogs have amassed 26 hits and 17 runs, their cause aided by six Ole Miss errors.
Typically, outfield fans salute the Rebels with with a “Hotty Toddy” cheer win or lose. Saturday’s effort was delayed and lethargic.
“That’s what losing does for everybody. It’s like an illness. It makes you feel awful,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “We have played well. We haven’t given the fans a lot to get into the game. We haven’t been able to take advantage of great home crowds.”
Ole Miss now 1-4 in SEC home games.
Game 3 against Georgia is today at 1:30 p.m.
After falling behind 3-0 in the second inning Saturday, the Rebels got as close as 5-3 but didn’t advance a runner as far as second base in the last three innings.
Georgia didn’t relentlessly pound Ole Miss starter David Goforth but got the clutch hits.
Levi Hyams doubled sharply to the right field corner in the top of the second, following a single, a walk and an infield hit.
Goforth kept the Bulldogs scoreless for the next three innings, but after a leadoff single and a one-out walk in the sixth, Goforth advanced the runners with a wild pitch.
One run scored on a ground ball by Jonathan Hester. That finished Goforth, and his relief help, R.J. Hively gave up a two-out hit to allow another run.
When the dust settled the Bulldogs led 5-2.
“Today, it seemed like every time they had two strikes they battled and got the hit. When they had runners on, they battled and got the hit. They just out-hit us. When they needed the hits they got them,” Ole Miss first baseman Matt Smith said.
When Georgia wasn’t clutch, it was efficient. Joey Delmonico led off with a walk, stole second, was bunted to third and scored on a sacrifice fly to stretch a three-run lead to 7-3.
All three Ole Miss runs scored as a result of home runs. Smith had a two-run shot in the fourth, his sixth of the year, and Blake Newalu had a solo home run in the sixth.
Sharing the load
Every Ole Miss pitcher gave up at least one earned run. Goforth surrendered seven hits, five earned runs and two walks in 52/3 innings. He was followed by relievers R.J. Hively, Mike Mayers and Brett Huber.
“We had the home runs, but in between we had bad at-bats,” Bianco said. “We couldn’t have our big inning, and it was the same on the mound. It’s everything.”
Bianco said he doesn’t believe his players are pressing. He talks to them about staying the course, but understands how much more difficult that becomes without success, without positive reinforcement.
After Newalu’s home run made it 5-3 in the sixth, the Bulldogs (18-14, 8-3) tacked on single runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings while their own starter, Michael Palazzone caught his second wind and went on to a complete game, scattering eight hits with no walks.
“There were times today when it was so quiet you could hear anything in the stadium,” Smiths said. “We were quiet in the dugout. Fans are just like us. They’re waiting for something to happen. It was all out of whack.”
n Game summary, Page 2B