By Adam Brown
No. 3 Ole Miss’ comeback falls just short to the No.15 Florida Gators 6-5 on Saturday as the Rebels drop the series.
Ole Miss (21-6, 7-2 SEC) railed to try and make up a four-run deficit in the middle innings after trailing the entire contest to the Gators.
Florida jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage after scoring a run in the first, third and fourth inning.
The Rebels starter Derek Diamond worked four innings surrendered five runs on six hits, struck out two and allowed two walks.
The Rebels left fielder Kevin Graham continued his hitting streak at the dish as he went 3-for-5 with a run.
In the fifth, down three runs Ole Miss got on the board as Justin Bench delivered a base hit. Then TJ McCants followed with a single and John Rhys Plumlee loaded the bases after a hit-by-pitch. Bench came home on an RBI ground-out double play off the bat of Peyton Chatagnier. Jacob Gonzalez brought home Plumlee on a base rip that cut the margin to 3-2.
Florida quickly responded with their final three runs in the home half of the fifth as Jacob Young opened with a single followed by a two-run shot by Nathan Hickey. Two sluggers later the Gators’ Sterlin Thompson smashed a triple and came in on a base knock by Jordan Butler to make it 6-2 UF.
The Gators left fielder, Young finished the day going 3-for-3 at the plate with a walk and a run scored.
Ole Miss responded in the sixth, as Tim Elko leadoff with a walk and came around to score on a throwing error by short of the barrel of Bench.
In the seventh with two outs in the frame, the Rebels got back-to-back hits by Graham and Elko. The Ole Miss catcher, Hayden Dunhurst, smashed a two-RBI triple that scored Graham and Elko to cut it to 6-5.
The Ole Miss bullpen held the Gators at bay as the Rebels continued to climb back in on the arms of Jackson Kimbrell who came in for Drew McDaniel and Austin Miller. Kimbrell and Miller combined to toss 1.2 scoreless innings on the afternoon.
In the final at-bat for the Rebels after one out, Graham and Elko delivered back-to-back hits but were unable to come around and score.
Ole Miss returns to the diamond on Monday afternoon as they host North Alabama. The first pitch is set for 4 p.m. on SEC Network+.