GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Early Rebel miscues helped build an early deficit that the Rebels couldn’t overcome as the Gator offense got into full swing Saturday night, as Ole Miss (24-19, 9-11 SEC) fell to No. 4 Florida (33-10, 16-4 SEC) by a score of 8-1.
Miles Hamblin hit a solo home run in the seventh inning to get the Rebels on the board, but it was the only scoring of the night in the loss.
David Goforth (3-6) suffered the loss for Ole Miss as he allowed six runs, five of them earned, on seven hits with five strikeouts.
Brian Johnson (7-1) picked up the win for the Gators as he held the Rebels scoreless through 6.2 innings with four hits, a walk and nine strikeouts.
“Brian Johnson was terrific for them tonight,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We had opportunities early in the first and third inning and couldn’t come up with the big hit to get the run home. That was the difference tonight; they came up with the big hits to extend innings. They outplayed us in all phases. We’ve got to come back tomorrow and play hard for nine innings and compete.”
Florida got on the board first, pushing two runs home in the second inning before the Rebels were able to get out of the inning. Brian Johnson tripled before scoring on a groundout to first from Austin Maddox. Josh Adams then singled on a chopped grounder that rolled slowly down the third base line to put a second man on. Jeff Moyer then hit a chopper that died in front of the plate down the first base line, but a throwing error to first allowed Adams to score and put Moyer at third before Goforth got a strikeout to end the inning with Florida on top 2-0.
The Rebels threatened in the third, loading the bases with two outs. But a diving catch on a fly ball to left field ended the inning to keep Ole Miss off the board.
The Gators added two more runs in the fourth inning, again capitalizing on a throwing error around a string of hits to push the lead out to 4-0. A lead-off double from Mike Zunino put a man in scoring position before a fly out to right allowed him to move to third. A throwing error back into the infield provided an opening, however, and Zunino scored the first of two runs in the frame. A single and a groundout put Austin Maddox at second before a double from Josh Adams drove him home to give the home team the 4-0 lead after four.
Zunino then hit a two-run shot in the fifth inning and two more runs in the sixth inning to take the lead out to 8-0 on the Rebels.
Miles Hamblin got the Rebels on the board in the seventh inning, entering the game as a pinch hitter and hitting a solo shot to right field.
The Rebels could not push any more runs home as the Gators grabbed the series with the win on Saturday.
Ole Miss and Florida will play game three of the series at noon CT on Sunday at McKethan Stadium.
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