By Chase Parham/Special to the Journal
ATHENS, Ga. – Heading to Georgia’s half of the eighth inning, the Ole Miss bullpen was shaping up to be the story of the night.
Twenty-six minutes later, the Bulldogs were done batting and the Rebels’ beleaguered relievers remained the focus, but it was in a way that has become all too common for Ole Miss.
Georgia overcame a two-run deficit with a six-run eighth inning to stun the No. 18 Rebels 8-4 on Thursday night in the first game of the three-game series.
Today’s first pitch is at 6 p.m.
The Bulldogs (21-13, 6-7 SEC) sent 10 men to the plate in the decisive frame, with Georgia junior Kyle Farmer breaking the 4-4 tie with a double to right-center off Ole Miss closer Brett Huber (1-2).
Farmer’s father, Bryan, pitched for the Rebels from 1982-1986 and holds the school record for most career starts with 61. “My grandmother is probably mad at me,” he said.
Ole Miss sophomore Aaron Greenwood replaced starter Bobby Wahl with two runners on and one out in the fifth and escaped the jam. He also pitched scoreless sixth and seventh innings but allowed a hit, a walk and threw a wild pitch before Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco went to Huber in the eighth.
It’s the third late-inning conference loss for Ole Miss (23-11, 6-7 SEC), as the Rebels were one strike from wins against both Auburn and Alabama on March 18 and March 24, respectively.
“There’s enough blame to go around, but when you have six outs remaining, you have to figure out a way to do that,” Bianco said. “We were close like the other games, but close doesn’t help you.”
Georgia starter Michael Palazzone (1-4) worked his second consecutive complete game against Ole Miss. The right-hander beat the Rebels, 8-3, in Oxford last season and was dominant again Thursday, allowing four runs – two earned – and striking out eight with no walks. He entered the game winless with a 5.68 ERA.
‘couldn’t get ahead’
Wahl, less than a week after leaving his previous start with a “dead arm,” yielded six hits and two runs in 4.1 innings. He had six strikeouts and one walk.
“I felt all right but couldn’t get ahead of guys,” Wahl said.
Ole Miss took a 2-0 lead in the third on a Tanner Mathis RBI single and Alex Yarbrough run-scoring double.
After Georgia tied it in the fifth, the Rebels added two unearned runs in the sixth, when Georgia outfielder Conor Welton committed a fielding and throwing error on the same play.
Yarbrough and Auston Bousfield had two hits each for the Rebels.
“We have to figure out how to win,” Bianco said. “We have to score more and add on. It’s a guy with a five ERA, and we score four runs after they kick a couple balls.”
Ole Miss is scheduled to send righty R.J. Hively (3-2, 2.68) against Georgia lefty Alex Wood (4-1, 2.45) tonight.