OXFORD, Miss. – It was a back-and-forth battle through seven innings, but a six-run rally in the eighth inning proved to be too much for the Rebels to overcome as No. 16 Ole Miss (19-8, 4-4 SEC) fell to No. 1 Florida (24-3, 6-2 SEC) by a score of 9-4 on Saturday.
Ole Miss held a 3-2 lead after seven innings, but Florida pushed home six runs in the eighth inning to put the game out of reach and even the weekend series at a game each. The Rebels picked up the Friday night win 3-0 over the Gators.
The two teams will face each other at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday with the weekend series on the line at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
“You have to play all nine and we played pretty well through the seventh,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “The truth of the matter is that we left a lot of opportunities out there. We had chances if we had just got another hit here or there we could have extended the lead. They made us pay for that in the eighth. They were able to put together an amazing inning to put us away and win the game.
“R.J. Hively gave us great effort just like he has done just about every weekend,” Bianco said. “It was a gutsy performance against a very good offense. He once again gave us the opportunity to win and we didn’t win it for him.”
Reliever Dylan Chavez (3-1) took the loss for the Rebels, allowing four runs on five hits in the eighth inning. Chavez had entered the game to relieve Hively in the sixth inning and got the Rebels out of a jam with two outs on two pitches, but Florida got the better of the left-hander in the eighth inning.
Hively worked 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.
Johnny Magliozzi (4-0) picked up the win for the Gators, facing two batters and recording an out before Florida would rally in the eighth. Magliozzi came into the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh and got a fly out to end the Rebel scoring threat with Ole Miss holding a 3-2 lead.
The Gators scored first, pushing a run home in the first inning when Mike Zunino scored on a single to right from Brian Johnson. Zunino doubled in the previous at bat to set up the score on the Johnson hit.
Ole Miss answered in the fourth, getting a two-run home run from Will Allen that scored Matt Snyder. Snyder reached on a fielding error on a grounder to second to set up the go-ahead shot from Allen.
Florida pushed a single run home in the top of the fifth to tie the score at two, but once again the Rebels answered. Ole Miss moved back in front 3-2 when Zach Kirksey – who drew a lead-off walk – scored on a single through the right side from Alex Yarbrough.
The 3-2 lead held for the Rebels until the eighth when Florida got four straight hits, including a three-run home run from Vickash Ramjit, to push back into the lead for good with a six-run inning. The Gators led 8-3 after eight innings of play.
Florida pushed a final run home in the ninth before Ole Miss would get a solo home run from Snyder for the final score of 9-4.
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