Ole Miss Powers Past Florida for Game One Victory
OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics/WCBI) – The Ole Miss offense went off for 12 runs on 17 hits, running away with a 12-4 Friday night win over No. 16 Florida, giving head coach Mike Bianco 300 wins in Southeastern Conference play over his career.
Seven Rebels had multi-hit nights as Ole Miss improved to 21-10 on the season and 6-4 in SEC play. Sophomore third baseman Tyler Keenan finished 3-for-5 with three RBI, including his ninth home run of the season, placing him in a tie for the team lead with Thomas Dillard. Junior catcher Cooper Johnson drove in five runs, including the game’s exclamation point—a three-run bomb in the eighth inning to seal the deal on the Rebel victory.
Will Ethridge started the game and made quick work of the Gators, throwing seven and eleven pitches in the first and second innings, respectively. After getting two outs in the third, he was taken out after re-aggravating a blister on his pitching hand. In stepped Tyler Myers who threw five plus innings in relief, eventually shutting the door on a game one win for the Rebels to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Brady McConnell gave Florida a 2-0 advantage in the top of the third inning with a single down the right field line, scoring a pair of runs.
The Rebels responded with back-to-back homers in the bottom half of the inning to obtain the lead and never gave it up. Keenan fired a two-run blast to left to tie the game at two apiece. Two batters later, Cole Zabowski stepped up to the plate and hit a towering shot into the left field bullpen.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Rebels poured it on with four more runs. Keenan got his second hit of the day scoring, Ryan Olenek. Grae Kessinger scored on a passed ball before a Johnson single scored a pair of Rebels in Dillard and Keenan.
The Gators got two runs back thanks to solo shots from Brady Smith and McConnell in the fifth, but that’s as close as the Gators came the rest of the way.
Bottom of the eighth, Johnson cleared the bases with a monster three-run shot to left field, ending his night with a career-high five RBI.
Saturday Schedule Change
Due to inclement weather in the forecast for Sunday, Ole Miss and Florida will finish up their series with a doubleheader Saturday starting at noon. Game 3 will take place one hour after the conclusion of Game 2.