The Ole Miss baseball team jumped out to a 4-0 lead through the first four innings, but No. 5 Florida rallied to claim a 7-4 win in game two of the series Saturday night at McKethan Stadium. The Gators (34-13, 15-8 SEC) used a three-run eighth to break a 4-4 tie and knock off the Rebels (29-19, 11-12 SEC).
Leadoff hitter Tate Blackman tied his career high in hits, going 3-for-5 throughout the night. The second baseman, along with fellow infielder Colby Bortles, recorded doubles to reach base for the 14th consecutive contest. Five of the Rebels’ seven hits were doubles, including a two-RBI double by designated hitter Tim Rowe. Making his first career start in right field, freshman Bryan Seamster added a double of his own and scored two of the team’s four runs.
In his eighth start of the season, freshman Ryan Rolison pitched 4.1 innings and allowed three runs on five hits and four walks. The southpaw worked out of multiple jams and exited with Ole Miss ahead. Closer Dallas Woolfolk (3-2) was forced to enter the game early in the seventh with the Rebels clinging to a one-run lead.
Ole Miss tallied all seven hits off UF starter Brady Singer, who allowed four runs (three earned) in 7.0 innings. Nick Horvath (3-0) and Michael Byrne (12) each tossed a scoreless inning to factor into the game’s decision. Florida recorded 13 hits, including three apiece from JJ Schwarz and Mark Kolozsvary.
The Rebels jumped on the Gators in the opening frame. Blackman smoked the first pitch of the game up the middle for a single before Bortles drew a walk. With two outs, Rowe cleared the bases by finding the gap in right-center field for a two-RBI double and a 2-0 Ole Miss advantage.
After Rolison worked around a pair of walks to toss a scoreless first, Seamster began the next inning with a leadoff double. The Rebels decided to play small ball to bring him home, and they executed the plan to perfection. Cooper Johnson placed a sacrifice bunt in front of the mound to move Seamster to third, and Grae Kessinger followed with a sacrifice fly to right field that plated his teammate. In the bottom half, Rolison put up another zero to keep the Rebels out in front, 3-0.
With one RBI already under his belt, Kessinger made a play with his glove and his bat to factor in two more runs. In the bottom of the third, the freshman shortstop did his best Willy Mays’ impression with an unbelievable over-the-shoulder grab. The web gem marked the second out of the inning and kept the Gator on base at third to save a run. Heading to the bat rack in the top of the fourth, Kessinger smashed a two-out double into the gap to score Seamster all the way from first. Working out of another jam, Rolison left two Gators on base for his fourth consecutive scoreless inning.
Florida made it a one-run game by getting on the board in the fifth. The Gators loaded the bases on Rolison, and a groundball fielder’s choice led to their first run. With one out and runners on the corners, Rolison’s day ended as Brady Feigl entered the contest. A double by Schwarz scored two, but Feigl recorded back-to-back outs to leave the tying run on base. Through five complete, Ole Miss held on to a 4-3 lead.
One inning later, the Gators tried to tie the game by putting a pair of runners in scoring position with one out. On a groundball to third, Bortles fielded it cleanly and threw to the plate to get the lead runner. The UF runner got caught in a pickle before Cooper Johnson tagged him out at home. Bortles took care of another grounder to end the inning as Will Ethridge did an effective job to get out of the inning unscathed.
Florida used two hits and a walk to square the game at 4-4 through seven before adding the go-ahead runs in the eighth. With two on and two outs, Schwarz sent a blooper into right field on the ninth pitch of his at-bat to give the Gators their first lead of the game. Two more runs crossed the dish in the inning, and Byrne closed the deal in the ninth to complete the comeback.
The Rebels will look to take the series finale tomorrow afternoon (May 7) at 1 p.m. CT. Sunday’s game will be broadcast nationally on SEC Network with Mike Morgan and Jay Walker on the call. Junior David Parkinson (5-2, 3.43 ERA) will take the mound for Ole Miss, going up against Florida sophomore Jackson Kowar (7-0, 3.90 ERA). The contest can also be heard on the airwaves of the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports