GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - The Rebel offense took advantage of chances and manufactured runs on Friday night as No. 11 Ole Miss (23-4, 4-3 SEC) picked up a 4-3 win over Florida (11-16, 2-5 SEC) in 11 innings at McKethan Stadium.
In his homecoming, junior Will Allen delivered the big hit in the top of the 11th with a leadoff double to set up the go-ahead score for the Rebels. Following the hit to left center, Lance Wilson entered the game to run for Allen.
Ole Miss’ Will Jamison put down a sac bunt to move Wilson to third, but Florida relief pitcher scooped and misplaced the throw, allowing Wilson to slide in safely and then come home as the ball scooted away from the Gators’ third baseman and Ole Miss took the 4-3 lead.
Brett Huber then picked up his seventh save of the season, closing out the game for the Rebels in the 11th as Ole Miss picked up the win in the series opener.
Aaron Greenwood (3-0) picked the win in relief as he worked 2.0 innings with one hit and a strikeout after entering the game with a man on and no outs in the ninth.
Florida closer Johnny Magliozzi (2-1) took the loss, working the final 2.2 innings but surrendered the winning run, albeit an unearned run because of the throwing error on the Jamison bunt.
“That game tonight wasn’t easy, but that’s life in the SEC; none of them are easy,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “I’m proud of the way our guys hung in there tonight. That’s what you have to do in this league. The pitchers hung in there and the defense hung in there and we manufactured some runs. It was a good team win tonight.”
Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning when Tanner Mathis scored on a sac fly to left field from Austin Anderson. Mathis doubled to open the game before taking third on a sac bunt from Auston Bousfield that set up the sac fly from Anderson to get the 1-0 lead.
The opportunistic offense continued for the Rebels in the fourth inning as Ole Miss scored without recording a hit in the inning. Will Jamison drew a walk before stealing second to get into scoring position. The speedy outfielder wouldn’t need a ball in play to score, however, taking advantage of a wild pitch to go from second to home and give the Rebels the 2-0 lead.
Florida answered with a rally in the bottom of the fourth, starting things off with a double down the left field line from Justin Shafer. He then took third on a wild pitch before coming home on a sac fly to center field to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Gators would then load the bases on a walk and then a fielding error at short when the Rebels looked to turn a double play on a ground ball to first. Florida then got a second sac fly in the inning on a ball to right that evened the score at two and left men at the corners. The Gators tried to take home when the runner on first got caught in a rundown, but the Rebels went home with the throw for the final out and kept the game tied after four.
Ole Miss moved back into the lead in the fifth inning. An Anderson single and a walk of Turner put two men on before Mistone would bunt them both into scoring position. Florida then changed pitchers, bringing in left-hander Daniel Gibson to face Sikes Orvis, who sent the first pitch to left field for a sac fly that scored Anderson and put the Rebels up 3-2.
The Gators looked to answer in the seventh inning when Cody Dent snuck a double down the first base line past a diving Orvis with one out. Ole Miss and Wahl answered the bell, however, striking out the next batter before picking off Dent at second to keep Ole Miss in the lead.
Florida put together an eighth inning rally with a one-out double from Taylor Gushue that sent the Rebels to the bullpen for Bailey. A chop grounder to third died on the infield to put men at first and second before a bloop single to shallow center brought Gushue and tied the game at three.
Ole Miss would get out of the inning with a groundout and a strikeout from reliever Matt Denny to keep things tied at three heading to the ninth.
The Rebels moved back into the lead in the 11th when Lance Wilson came home on a throwing error by the pitcher off a sac bunt from Jamison. Wilson, who had gone to third on the sac bunt attempt, came home when the throw to the bag was off and scored to put Ole Miss in front 4-3.
Ole Miss the picked up the win as Huber and the Rebels held the Gators off the board in the bottom half of the inning to grab the series-opening win.
The two teams will take the field for game two of the series at 12 p.m. CT on Saturday.