It took 11 innings and over three and a half hours, but the Ole Miss Rebels were able to secure a crucial Friday victory over the Florida Gators 4-3.
In the 11th inning, Will Allen hit a double to give Ole Miss their first baserunner since the 7th. Lance Wilson was called in to pinch-run with Will Jamison coming to the plate with one away. Jamison laid down the bunt and pitcher Johnny Magliozzi attempted to get the lead runner but threw it away, allowing Wilson to score the game-winning run.
The Rebels jumped out to an early lead after a Tanner Mathis double came around to score in the 1st inning after an Auston Bousfield bunt and Austin Anderson sacrifice fly.
In the 4th inning, small ball struck gold for Ole Miss again. The eight-hole hitter Jamison drew a one-out walk. The right fielder stole second, then scored on a two-base wild pitch.
Florida managed to tie the game in the bottom half of the frame after a pair of sacrifice flies by Vickash Ramjit and Cody Dent. Bobby Wahl was able to limit the damage after a pickoff to first ended with Connor Mitchell getting tagged out at home to close out the inning.
Ole Miss grabbed the lead right back after an Anderson single was brought home with the help of a Turner walk, Andrew Mistone sac bunt and a Sikes Orvis sac fly. That gave the Rebels a 3-2 lead which held until the 8th inning.
An Andrew Gushue double gave the Gators a threat in the top of the 8th. Zack Powers then delivered his only hit of the day, a single to center that tied the game at 3.
After grabbing the lead on the Wilson go-ahead run, Brett Huber came in to get his 7th save of the season by working a hitless 11th. Aaron Greenwood (3-0) got the victory after pitching 2 scoreless innings. Magliozzi (2-1) received his first loss of the season after pitching 2.2 innings, allowing 1 hit and 1 unearned run.
Mistone finished 2-4 on the night, continuing a vastly improved season at the plate. He also made a terrific play on a bunt in the 5th inning that saved the lead. Allen was 2-5 and delivered the biggest hit of the night with his double in extra-innings. The hit is even more special as Allen is a Gainesville native.
Justin Shafer had a 3-5 night including a run scored in the loss. Gushue, Mike Zunino’s 2013 replacement, went 2-5 and scored a run.
Ole Miss is now 7-0 on Friday games this season with Wahl winning the first six decisions before receiving a no-decision in last night’s game. The Preseason All-American went 7.1 innings and allowed 7 hits, 3 runs and 2 earned runs. The bullpen pitched extraordinarily well, combining for 3.2 innings of scoreless two-hit baseball.
The two teams will play again on Saturday at noon CT. Florida (11-16, 2-5) will look to even the series by sending Jonathon Crawford to the mound. Crawford allowed a then-career-high 5 earned runs against Ole Miss last year as the No.1 Gators dropped their first series of the season in Oxford in 2012.
The junior is 0-4 in 6 starts this season, sporting a 5.67 ERA. In 33.1 innings, Crawford has allowed 11 walks and 35 hits, 11 of which have been for extra-bases. He has also hit a team-high 7 batters this season. In his last outing, a 6-1 loss to Vanderbilt, Crawford allowed 12 hits and 6 runs (all earned) in 6 innings. The 2010 Florida Marlins 42nd-round pick also struck out 7 batters in the loss.
Florida, who has made three consecutive College World Series appearances, knows that they will need to win a game or two against the Rebels to remain afloat in the SEC amidst a brutal start to the conference season. The Gators open SEC play with Kentucky, at Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, at Mississippi State and South Carolina. All five series are against teams who have been ranked in the top ten this season. Things soften up for Kevin O’Sullivan’s club after that stretch as they close out with Missouri, Tennessee, LSU, Auburn and Georgia, four of the bottom teams in the league.
Gametime is set for noon CT from Perry Field. The game can be seen on Rebelvision or CSS.