College Baseball

No. 16 Ole Miss takes opener at No. 20 Florida, 6-2

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Sophomore left-hander Drew Pomeranz struck out nine and tossed his first complete-game of his career as No. 16 Ole Miss (27-10, 10-6 SEC) defeated No. 20 Florida (25-13, 9-7 SEC) by a score of 6-2 at McKeathan Field.

Pomeranz (4-1) picked up the win as he held the Gators to only two runs on four hits with three walks and nine strikeouts.

Jeff Barfield (2-1) suffered the loss as he allowed four runs – three earned – on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Florida would use three more pitchers on the night, but could not catch up with the Rebel offense.

Ole Miss out hit the Gators 11-to-4.

“It was good to see Drew (Pomeranz) come out and bounce back after last week’s performance,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “He was really dominant tonight. His command was there from the first inning through the ninth. It was also nice to see Kyle Henson get that home run to extend the lead in the in the eighth.”

Ole Miss struck first, pushing three runs across in the first inning as Matt Smith came up with a two-RBI double to score Jordan Henry and Logan Power. Henry walked before stealing second and Power walked before the Smith hit drove in both runs. Smith moved to third on a groundout from Zach Miller before Michael Hubbard came up with an RBI single to give the Rebels a 3-0 lead.

Florida answered with a single run in the second when Josh Adams scored from second on a double down the right field line from Buddy Monroe. Adams walked before moving to second on a wild pitch.

The Rebels got the run back in the third when Smith scored on a single up the middle from Miller. Smith reached on an error on a grounder to short before taking second on a wild pitch. He then scored on the Miller hit to give Ole Miss the 4-1 lead.

Florida answered in the bottom of the fourth when Avery Barnes doubled and then scored on a single up the middle from Preston Tucker to cut the lead to two runs at 4-2. The Gators looked to continue the rally from there, as another chop single down the right field line moved Tucker to third and put men at the corners with no outs.

Barnes then looked to be caught stealing, but Tucker went for home from third and was gunned down at the plate by Tim Ferguson from second to record the out. Pomeranz then struck out the next Florida batter to end the rally and keep Ole Miss up 4-2.

Ole Miss pushed back up by three with a run in the fifth as Power scored on a double down the left field line from Smith. Power reached on a double of his own two batters earlier to get into scoring position for the Smith hit.

Kyle Henson added to the Rebel lead in the eighth with a home run to open the inning, pushing Ole Miss out to a 6-2 lead.

Smith led the Rebels at the plate as the sophomore went 2-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. Henson and Miller also posted 2-for-4 nights at the plate with each player notching an RBI.

Ole Miss and Florida will play the second game of the series at 3 p.m. CDT on Saturday at McKeathan Field.

Wildcats edge Bulldogs 5-4 in 11 innings in series starter

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Chris Bisson’s two late hits proved large Friday night as the Kentucky Wildcats beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs 5-3 in an 11-inning Southeastern Conference baseball game Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.

Bisson had an RBI-single in the ninth inning, giving the Wildcats a short-lived 3-2 lead. After MSU battled back to tie on a Connor Powers’ RBI-single, Bisson delivered the game-winner in the 11th inning with a two-run triple to the right center gap.

The late-inning UK heorics sent a season-best crowd of 6,152 home disappointed. UK rallied from a 2-0 deficit by scoring singles runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to spoil the opening game of the 24th Super Bulldog Weekend presented by Regions Bank.

The teams are now tied for 10th place in the overall conference standings. UK improved to 20-16 overall and 5-11 in league play, while MSU fell to 19-19 and 5-11. The Wildcats actually snapped a seven-game losing streak in league play with Friday night’s victory.

It was the Bulldogs’ first extra-inning game of the season. UK has now won twice in extra frames, each time winning 5-4 in 11 innings.

“Our kids are trying hard,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “I don’t know what else to say…Our guys just aren’t ready for this challenge. And that’s my responsibility. But we will get there.”

The Bulldogs scored twice in the second inning to grab a 2-0 lead. In that at-bat, Russ Sneed led off with an infield hit. After a walk to Scott DeLoach, both he and Sneed advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Jet Butler. A wild pitch scored Sneed. DeLoach came home on a two-out RBI-single by Ryan Powers.

The Wildcats finally broke the scoring ice with a lone run in the seventh inning. In that at-bat, Chris McLendon reached as a hit batsman. Chris Wade advanced McLendon with a sacrifice bunt. A base hit by Kennan Wiley moved McLendon to third base. Marcus Nidiffer reached as a hit batsman, loading the bases. An RBI-ground out by Bryan Rose forced McLendon home with his team’s first run.

UK tied the contest when Andy Burns led off the eighth inning with a solo shot to left field – his fifth home run of the season. That home run ended the day for MSU starter Tyler Whitney.

The Wildcats then re-grabbed the lead in the ninth inning. With one out, Nidiffer doubled to the right center gap. Rose reached as a hit batsman and Chad Wright followed with a bloop single to left field, loading the bases.

For MSU, Lee Swindle replaced Paxton Pace on the mound. Swindle got a groundball out before being touched for an RBI-single by Chris Bisson. The Bulldogs did end the inning with center fielder Grant Hogue throwing out a UK base runner on the back end of that play.

The Bulldogs rallied in the home half of the ninth inning. Luke Adkins drew a one-out walk and Grant Hogue reached as a hit batsman. After a strikeout, Connor Powers scored Adkins when he delivered a game-tying single. Hogue was retired at third base on the hit, sending the game into extra innings.

In the UK 11th inning, Gunner Glad drew a leadoff walk. After a strikeout and flyout, Keenan Wiley reached as UK’s fifth hit batsman in the contest. Bisson then delivered a 2-1 pitch into the right center gap, easily scoring both Glad and Wiley.

For the Bulldogs, Whitney drew a tough-luck no decision. Whitney was lifted after the leadoff home run in the eighth inning. The junior left-hander allowed five hits and two runs (both earned), with five strikeouts and two walks in seven innings of work.

Pace threw 1-1/3 innings, before giving way to Swindle (1-2), who threw two innings and took the loss. Greg Houston completed the 11th inning.

Branden Kapteyn (3-0) threw the final 3-2/3 innings to garner the win. Starting pitcher James Paxton allowed six hits and two run (both earned) over seven innings of work. Tyler Henry followed Paxton and preceded Kapteyn.

MSU finished with 10 hits. Grant Hogue, Jet Butler and Ryan Powers each had two hits. Ryan Powers ran his hit streak to 15 games, while Connor Powers ran his hit steak to 10 games.

UK finished with 11 hits. Bisson had three hits to pace the Wildcats’ cause. Chad Wright, Andy Burns and Wiley each had multiple hits.

The Bulldogs and Wildcats resume their series with a 1 p.m. start Saturday. MSU is scheduled to start freshman left-hander Nick Routt (4-2, 3.07 ERA), while UK is scheduled to start senior left-hander Chris Rusin (4-3, 4.53). The series finale is at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.


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