By Ole Miss Media Relations
OXFORD, Miss. – Sophomore right-hander Bobby Wahl worked a career-long eight innings and held the top-ranked Gators scoreless as No. 16 Ole Miss (19-7, 4-3 SEC) shut out No. 1 Florida (23-3, 5-2 SEC) with a 3-0 victory on Friday night.
Wahl (5-0) limited the Gator offense to two hits on the way to the series opening win, walking three batters and striking out six while keeping Florida off the board. Only one Gator advanced past first base in Wahl’s time on the mound.
Junior right-hander Brett Huber then picked up his sixth save of the season and 22nd of his career, working the ninth inning. After a lead-off triple from Daniel Pigott, Huber retired the next three Gator batters on a strikeout, fly out and a groundout to preserve the shutout for the Rebels.
Hudson Randall (5-1) suffered his first loss of the season, allowing three runs on eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work.
It was the second straight shutout for the Rebels who blanked Jackson State on Tuesday night and was the fifth shutout of the season for the Rebels.
“I thought we played really well,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Bobby (Wahl) was tremendous. He continued to make pitches even when it seemed like he fell behind. He was able to battle back and get into the strike zone. He just pitched a terrific game. We’re proud of the way Brett (Huber) came in, and he knew it wouldn’t be easy after the last two weeks. He did what he was supposed to do. He threw the ball in the strike zone and he got ahead of all of the hitters.
“We played a very clean game defensively and of course we were able to put the first inning together,” Bianco said. “Thankfully we were able to put the first inning together and we pitched really well.”
The Rebels scored three runs in the first inning and it proved to be all Ole Miss would need as Wahl kept the Florida hitters in check and held Florida off the board through eighth before turning things over to Huber in the ninth.
Tanner Mathis opened the Rebel first with a single and moved to second on a sac bunt from Austin Anderson. He then stole third before scoring on a single to right from Alex Yarbrough to get Ole Miss on the board. Matt Snyder then took an 0-2 pitch over the fence in right field to give the Rebels the 3-0 lead.
It was the fourth home run of the season for Snyder and proved to be all of the runs Ole Miss needed in the Friday night pitcher’s duel.
Ole Miss and Florida will take the field again for game two of the series at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
Miss. State takes Game 1 at No. 24 Auburn, 5-3
By MSU Media Relations
AUBURN, Ala. - Welcome back Brent Brownlee.
Brownlee, an outfielder for the Mississippi State baseball team, returned to the lineup for the first time since March 3 and had a critical eighth-inning throw out at home plate, helping preserve the Baseball Bulldogs' 5-3 win over No. 24 Auburn Friday night at Plainsman Park.
MSU won a Southeastern Conference series opener for a second straight weekend. With the win, MSU improved to 18-9 overall and 3-4 in league play. Auburn fell to 15-11 and 4-3.
Once again, MSU pitching was the story of the night. Chris Stratton (6-0) notched another quality start, allowing eight hits and three runs (two earned). The Tupelo native stuck out eight and walked one.
All-American Caleb Reed closed out the Tigers to earn his 18th career save. Reed is now a perfect six-for-six in save opportunities this season.
"Chris Stratton went out there and did what we need him to do on a Friday night," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "He threw strikes into the zone and attacked the batters. He only had one walk. That is what you need. Caleb Reed then comes in and slams the door after that."
The Bulldogs held a 4-3 lead in the home half of the eighth inning when Brownlee threw a strike to catcher Mitch Slauter to get the final out of the inning, taking out the potential game-tying run. A critical insurance score in the ninth gave Reed some breathing room, as he worked around a walk before completing the win.
"Brent goes out there and guts it out today," Cohen said. "He plays solid outfield for us and made a really great play there in the eighth inning. Those are the types of plays that win a game on a Friday night in this league. I am so proud of Brent. He came back a lot quicker than anyone thought."
The start of the contest was delayed an hour due to rain and again in the sixth inning 23 minutes for another shower.
Each team scored twice in the first inning. The tie was broken in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Matthew Britton. MSU turned a pair of Auburn errors into a critical insurance score in the eighth inning. An RBI-single by Trey Porter placed the Maroon and White in good shape in the ninth inning.
The Bulldogs finished with 10 hits, including three hits by Porter. Adam Frazier and Hunter Renfroe each added multiple hits. Sam Frost ran his hit streak to five games with a seventh-inning single.
The series resumes at 3 p.m. Saturday.
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