By Chase Parham/Special to the Journal
ATHENS, Ga. – Offensive inefficiency has plagued Ole Miss throughout its six-game SEC road swing.
The problem was still present Saturday afternoon in Athens, but the Rebels had enough hits that it didn’t matter.
No. 18 Ole Miss rocked seven different Georgia pitchers for 20 hits and produced enough quality at-bats in key situations to beat the Bulldogs 8-3 and avoid the sweep. UGA won 8-4 on Thursday and 6-3 on Friday.
The Rebels (24-12, 7-8 SEC) have dropped road series to Kentucky and Georgia (22-14, 7-8 SEC) after taking two from then-No. 1 Florida.
“It would have been human to drop your head and wait on someone to win the game for you, but I thought we were terrific in all phases,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said.
Six different Rebels had multiple hits, including Tanner Mathis with four and Matt Snyder and Auston Bousfield with three apiece. Ole Miss produced three multiple-run innings and never trailed.
However, even with the successful day, the Rebels left 14 runners on base and hit into three double plays.
“We left them out there, but we mixed in enough,” Mathis said. “We haven’t been taking advantage, but we did enough times today.”
Will Allen hit a two-run triple in the first inning. Tupelo native John Gatlin hit an RBI double as part of a 3-run fourth inning, and the Rebels scored two in the seventh for separation.
Ole Miss freshman right-hander Chris Ellis (3-0) picked up the win, working just two-thirds of an inning. He stranded runners at second and third in the fifth and left after a one-out single in the sixth inning.
Rebels starter Mike Mayers went 42/3 and allowed three runs on six hits while striking out six and walking five. With the bases loaded and no outs in the second inning, he struck out three straight Bulldogs to keep Ole Miss ahead 2-1 at the time.
“That was the ballgame,” Bianco said about Mayers escaping the jam. “I don’t know if we have another guy that could have done that.”
Ole Miss relievers Dylan Chavez and Brett Huber combined with Ellis to throw 41/3 shutout innings.
Georgia’s Blake Dieterich (3-2) got the loss in his first start of the season, as he surrendered five runs – four earned – on nine hits in 31/3 innings.
“I don’t think we’ve been hot yet,” Bianco said. “It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve got to keep fighting. You can’t get swept. That would have been a disaster.”
Ole Miss returns to action Tuesday night against Mississippi State at Trustmark Park in Pearl for the annual Governor’s Cup game.