ATHENS, Ga. – The offense roared to life on Saturday with the Rebels pounding out 20 hits on the afternoon as No. 18 Ole Miss (24-12 7-8 SEC) defeated Georgia (22-14, 7-8 SEC) by a score of 8-3 in the finale of the weekend series.
Six Rebels notched multiple hits on the afternoon, paced by a 4-for-6 performance from Tanner Mathis and four of the top five hitters in the lineup recorded multiple-hits in the outing to help grab the win.
Chris Ellis (3-0) picked up the win in relief of starter Mike Mayers, working 0.2 innings with one hit. Ellis entered in the fifth inning with two outs and two men on base and the score at 5-3 with Georgia in the middle of a rally that had plated two runs. Ellis got the next batter faced to ground out to end the inning and squash the Bulldog comeback bid.
Blake Dieterich (3-2) took the loss for the Bulldogs in his first start of the season after moving from the closer role. The left-hander allowed five runs on nine hits with a walk in 3.1 innings of work. He was the first of seven Georgia pitchers to take the mound on Saturday.
“We played very well today,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “The real turning point of the ballgame was when Georgia had the bases loaded with no outs after already getting a run home in the second inning, and Mike (Mayers) struck out the next three batters to get us out of the inning. What a gutsy performance. It was not an easy day, but he hung in there.
“The bullpen really hung in there as well,” Bianco said. “Chris (Ellis) got some big outs for us and Dylan Chavez gave us some really good innings before Brett (Huber) came out and closed things out for us in the ninth.”
Ole Miss got on the board in the first, using three straight hits from Alex Yarbrough, Matt Snyder and Will Allen to take the 2-0 lead out of the gates. Yarbrough and Snyder delivered back-to-back singles with two outs before Allen hit a triple to right center to drive in both men. Georgia would get out of the inning a batter later with a groundout to short, but Ole Miss was on the board.
Georgia got on the board in the second inning, putting the first three men on base thanks to a single, a walk and a single. Connor Welton then delivered a bloop single to shallow left to bring the first run home and keep the bases loaded with no outs for the Bulldogs. Mayers then struck out the next three batters to end the rally and keep the Rebels on top 2-1.
Ole Miss moved the lead back out to two runs in the fourth inning when John Gatlin hit a double to the wall in left center that scored Andrew Mistone from second. Mistone opened the inning with a walk and moved to second on a ground out to third from Preston Overbey to set up the RBI hit from Gatlin.
A single from Blake Newalu put men at the corners and Georgia had seen enough, going to the bullpen for left-hander Chase Hawkins. Mathis then singled through the right side to bring in Gatlin, before a throwing error to second on a double steal allowed Mathis to move to third and Newalu to score. Ole Miss held a 5-1 lead after the fourth.
The Bulldogs bit back in the fifth, pushing two runs across the board with a two-out rally. Kyle Farmer doubled down the first base line to reach with one out before Mayers would strike out Hunter Cole. With two outs on the board, the Bulldogs got an RBI single from Brett DeLoach to bring Farmer home. A walk and another single in the next two batters pushed home the second run and Ole Miss turned to the bullpen for Chris Ellis.
Ellis then got a groundout to short from Jonathan Hester to end the inning with the Rebels still up 5-3.
Ole Miss loaded the bases in the sixth, but came up empty as Georgia was able to get out of the jam. The Rebels capitalized on a bases loaded situation in the seventh when Austin Anderson drew a one-out walk to score Mistone and send Georgia to the bullpen for its sixth pitcher of the day.
Tanner Mathis then chopped an infield single to short to score a second run in the inning and keep the bases loaded with Rebels. Georgia would get a line out and a fly out to end things, however Ole Miss lead 7-3 at the stretch.
Ole Miss added to the lead in the eighth when Will Jamison followed up a single from Mistone with a triple down the first base line to give the Rebels the 8-3 advantage.
Brett Huber then held the Bulldogs off the board in the ninth to seal the win for the Rebels.