By Adam Brown
No. 13 Ole Miss clinched the series over the Georgia Bulldogs in an 8-5 extra-inning, come-from-behind win on Friday night.
Ole Miss (38-16, 18-11 SEC) found themselves in an early three-run deficit in the third inning. The Rebels starter Derek Diamond then found his rhythm on the mound that gave the offense an opportunity to climb back into the contest.
“We have sung the praises of the offense for months,” head coach Mike Bianco said.
The Rebels offense hit a total of three home runs started by Jacob Gonzalez in the fourth, followed by back-to-back bombs by Kevin Graham and Tim Elko in the eighth.
Diamond cruised through the fourth and fifth innings on the bump. He retired six straight Bulldog sluggers until a leadoff double in the sixth by Chaney Rogers. Diamond worked 5.1 innings and surrendered four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
The Rebel left-hander Jackson Kimbrell took over in the sixth and surrendered the Bulldog’s final run in the sixth. Kimbrell tossed 2.0 complete innings and allowed a run on a hit with two strikeouts and two walks.
In the eighth, Ole Miss went to the dish down 5-1 to the Bulldogs. Justin Bench got the inning going with a one-out base knock. Gonzalez followed up with a base hit. Graham smashed a three-run, bases-clearing home run to pull within a run.
The Rebels captain, Elko crushed a ball beyond the right-field wall to tie the game at 5-5. It was Elko’s 11th home run of the season and second since returning from his torn ACL injury.
Bianco brought Brandon Johnson in to face Georgia in the eighth. Johnson kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard and allowed two hits and two walks with a hit-by-pitch in 2.2 innings of work to pick up his first win of the season.
“(Brandon) has been really dominate,” Bianco said.
In the 11th, Ole Miss broke the game open after a leadoff hit by Hayden Dunhurst. Then with two outs, the Rebels got an RBI base knock by TJ McCants followed by a walk by Bench. McCants and Bench scored on base hits by Gonzalez and Graham to go up 8-5.
Rebels closer Taylor Broadway entered in the bottom of the 11th to secure the win over Georgia and pick up his 12th save of the season.
Ole Miss will go for the sweep over Georgia on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.