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Offensive onslaught fuels Rebels' sweep of Florida

After a 12-4 win Friday night, the Rebels (23-10, 8-4) came back and swept a Saturday doubleheader, drubbing the Gators 16-4 in Game 1 and 12-10 in Game 2. Ole Miss hit .415 as a team throughout the series as eight individual Rebels hit over .300 for the weekend.

Posted: Apr 6, 2019 10:53 PM

OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics/WTVA) - Right from the start of this weekend's series with Florida, the Ole Miss bats were hot, and the No. 18 Rebels never stopped hitting, racking up a combined 40 runs to sweep the No. 16 Gators at Swayze Field.

After a 12-4 win Friday night, the Rebels (23-10, 8-4) came back and swept a Saturday doubleheader, drubbing the Gators 16-4 in Game 1 and 12-10 in Game 2. Ole Miss hit .415 as a team throughout the series as eight individual Rebels hit over .300 for the weekend.

Game 1 Recap
In a crazy bottom of the first, the Rebels got on the board thanks to multiple passed balls moving runners into scoring position. Grae Kessinger crossed the plate after a passed ball to score the first Rebel run. Minutes later after a Cole Zabowski walk, the junior was caught in a pickle, but Thomas Dillard scored before the tag was applied.

Freshman starter Doug Nikhazy had his breaking ball working early, fanning three Gator batters in the first 2.1 innings. Florida threatened with consecutive singles in the top of the third but Nikhazy got out of the jam.

The Gators got a run back after a stand up double, bringing the runner home finally with a two out base hit. Cooper Johnson ended the Gator threat, erasing yet another would-be base stealer.

In the fourth, Kessinger added two to the Rebel lead with a two-out double to left center field, part of an incredible 5-for-5 game with five RBI.

One inning later, the Rebels took over. Dillard started it with a single to left, followed by a Zabowski double. Johnson plated the first of a six-run inning with a single to left, and Kevin Graham brought the next run home, reaching on a fielder's choice. Then Olenek, Kessinger and Keenan all strung together RBI hits to put the Rebels ahead 11-1.

Cooper Johnson got to second off a throwing error by the Gator shortstop in the bottom of the sixth. An Anthony Servideo single eventually brought the Rebel catcher home. One batter later, Ryan Olenek sent a double into the outfield gap between left and center, his 50th career double, that brought Servideo home.

Doug Nikhazy went six innings just allowing one run on 106 pitches with five strikeouts. Taylor Broadway came in in the top of the seventh. The Gators touched him up for three runs in the eighth, but it was too little too late. Kaleb Hill then came on and slammed the door shut with a scoreless ninth.

Game 2 Recap
The final game was the most competitive of the series. Houston Roth looked strong early, going 1-2-3 in the first. He gave up two hits in the second, then struck out the side to escape the jam.

The Gators scored four runs in the top of the third, all unearned. Roth worked his way to two outs with two men on base. Florida scored two on an error that skipped away from Tyler Keenan at third base and added two more on a Jud Fabian single.

The Gators tacked on four more off of Connor Green in the fourth. A bases-loaded walk, a sacrifice fly and a Will Dalton double made it a commanding 8-0 lead, but despite the scoreboard, the Rebels were far from out of it.

Zabowski hit a two-run shot to get the Rebels on the board in the bottom of the fourth. An inning later, Ole Miss exploded for eight runs to take the lead.

Kessinger continued his hit parade singling through the left side to score Anthony Servideo. The onslaught started after an hour weather delay. Out of the delay, Ole Miss took the lead off an eight-run inning with five hits. Keenan walked to load the bases, and the Gators walked in two runs to cut the lead to three. Freshman catcher Knox Loposer then made it one, ripping a double down the left field line. Graham tied it up on an RBI groundout, then singles by Chase Cockrell and Olenek made it a 10-8 Rebel lead.

In the top of the sixth, Florida cut the lead to one after a Nelson Maldonado home run. Later with two outs, Florida tied it all up after scoring on a wild pitch.

The Rebels got the lead right back in the bottom of the sixth from a Gator balk that allowed Zabowski to cross the plate. Ole Miss added one more insurance run in the seventh, when Olenek padded the lead with a double into center field, scoring Anthony Servideo. The double tied Olenek for fifth all time in program history with David Dellucci and Burney Hutchinson (51).

Parker Caracci earned the win with his longest outing of the season, throwing 3.2 scoreless innings to preserve the lead and secure the sweep.

Quick Hits
- Grae Kessinger had a career-high 5 hits and 5 RBI's in Game 1.
- Ole Miss amassed a staggering 49 hits in the series.
- Ole Miss scored 40 runs over three games, tying the program mark set in 1957 against Vanderbilt.
- Ryan Olenek tied David Dellucci and Burney Hutchinson for fifth all-time in career doubles (51).
- Anthony Servideo had a career-high four runs scored and career-high three hits in Game 1.
- Thomas Dillard had a career-high four hits in Game 1.
- Knox Loposer had a career-high two RBI in Game 2.
- Parker Caracci threw a season-high 3.2 innings in Game 2.

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