Final: Ole Miss 7, Florida 6
Quite a finish at Swayze with two unexpected heroes.
Typically, Bobby Wahl's work is done after Friday, but Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco was out of options and looking for a pinch-runner for Will Allen in the bottom of the ninth, and Wahl was the fastest available pitcher. He had to fetch his spikes but got in the game and actually went first to third on a basehit by Preston Overbey.
Wahl scored on a ground ball by Senquez Golson, whose role has diminished since his fast start, but with both coaches making moves throughout the game, Golson was needed in left field where he used his speed to rob a leadoff hit in the top of the ninth to aid Brett Huber, who threw two hitless, scoreless innings to get the win.
I suppose if Golson is important enough to baseball to figure into a Sunday series-clinching win against the No. 1 team, this may make a statement about his availability for spring football.
With a travel time limit in effect, the game was either going to be an Ole Miss win or a tie when it reached the bottom of the ninth tied at 6.
Needing only a run to win, Matt Snyder led off but struck out swinging. Allen, a Gainesville native, blooped a ball into shallow center, and Wahl went into run. When Overbey singled to left-center, Wahl got all the way to third.
With one out, Zach Kirksey was intentionally walked to bring up Golson, who was batting in the eight hole, a spot originally filled by Auston Bousfield. Golson had two strikes when he put the ball in play on the right side of the infield, to first base, and the throw home was wild as Wahl slid in.
It wasn't a well-struck ball from Golson, but the top spin may have contributed to the poor throw, Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said.
Florida won Saturday's game largely because of the strength of its bullpen, and that bullpen held the Rebels in check much of the game after the Gators fell behind 5-0 after the first two innings.
While Steven Rodriguez held the REbels scorelss in four innings of relief work, the Gators rallied to take the lead with four runs in the fourth, one in the sixth and one in the seventh, the latter two on solo home runs.
While the Ole Miss bullpen struggled in Saturday's loss, the Rebels got a good effort today from Aaron Greenwood. He didn't always work ahead in counts, and one of the four hits he allowed in 2.2 innings was a home run, the Gators didn't run up big numbers against him. Dylan Chavez struggled again, but Chris Ellis got a strikeout to get out of the seventh, setting the stage for Huber.
Ole Miss tied the game in the seventh.
The Rebels rallied against Florida closer Austin Maddox, who has a 2.28 ERA and eight saves this season. Opponents were hitting .188 against him, but the Rebels got two hits in the inning and a key ground ball for the win.
The Rebels had 14 hits and a 4-for-5 day from Alex Yarbrough, who had two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Overbey played third most of the game. He was 0-for-4 until the ninth. Snyder, Allen and Bousfield also had two hits for Ole Miss.
Lineups below. I'll have live updates on Twitter and will be back here after the game. Note the change of Overbey to third, Mistone out. That's giving up a lot of defense with hopes that Will Jamison, who has been hitting better lately, will spark the offense.
CF Daniel Pigott .313
2B Casey Turgeon .293
C Mike Zunino .370
RF Preston Tucker .320
1B Taylor Gushue .244
SS Nolan Fontana .270
DH Justin Shafer .282
LF Vickash Ramjit .357
3B Cody Dent .156
RHP Jonathon Crawford 2-1, 3.95
LF Tanner Mathis .330
SS Austin Anderson .269
2B Alex Yarbrough .408
1B Matt Snyder .356
C Will Allen .329
3B Preston Overbey .328
DH Zach Kirksey .324
CF Auston Bousfield .250
RF Will Jamison .294
RHP Mike Mayers 2-2 3.47