BLOG: This weekend isn’t any ordinary three-game set for the No. 16 Ole Miss Diamond Rebels.
For the next three days the Rebels will host the consensus No. 1 team in the country in the Florida Gators.
As Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco has said numerous times, this Gators team does everything well. They hit (Florida leads the SEC in home runs with 37 — 12 more than the second-place Kentucky— and is second in the league with 400 total bases ). They pitch (Florida has the league’s fourth-best ERA at 2.81). They field (Florida has the SEC’s best fielding percentage at .982).
While Florida has two unquestioned leaders in catcher Mike Zunino and outfielder Preston Tucker, the Gators are the deepest team in the conference and arguably the deepest in the country. Point being, not only can one through nine in the order hurt you, the first couple off the bench can as well.
On the mound, Florida will start Hudson Randall (3-0, 3.41). In 37 innings this season, the junior right-hander has stuck out 34 and walked just two.
Ole Miss will send usual Friday night ace Bobby Wahl (4-0, 2.36). The sophomore right-hander is coming off of an outing against Alabama last Friday in which he surrendered four runs on seven hits and two walks in 5.1 innings. He also struck out eight in the no-decision.
IN TODAY’S EAGLE: No. 16 Rebels have their work cut out for them.
No. 1 FLORIDA GATORS (23-2 overall, 5-1 SEC)
SS Nolan Fontana (.286 BA/.409 OBP/.473 SLG)
CF Daniel Pigott (.303/.371/.438)
RF Preston Tucker (.326/.405/.674)
C Mike Zunino (.376/.437/.776)
DH Brian Johnson (.286/.328/.446)
1B Taylor Gushue (.250/.396/.539)
2B Casey Turgeon (.280/.389/.480)
LF Vickash Ramjit (.300/.400/.600)
3B Cody Dent (.179/.378/.179)
RHP Hudson Randall (3-0, 3.41 ERA)
No. 16 OLE MISS REBELS (18-7, 3-3)
LF Tanner Mathis (.348/.487/.391)
SS Austin Anderson (.271/.407/.417)
2B Alex Yarbrough (.404/.467/.585)
1B Matt Snyder (.351/.404/.564)
C Will Allen (343/.384/.433)
DH Zach Kirksey (.344/.442/.869)
3B Andrew Mistone (.247/.323/.333)
RF Preston Overbey (.310/.385/.466)
CF Auston Bousfield (.256/.352/.289)
RHP Bobby Wahl (4-0, 2.36)
OLE MISS 3, Florida 0 (B1): Tanner Mathis led off the bottom of the second by returning on a 76 mile-per-hour offering from Florida RHP Hudson Randall up the middle for a single. After Austin Anderson sacrificed Mathis to second, the junior left fielder stole third and scored on an Alex Yarbrough single to right field. Yarbrough then scored on Matt Snyder‘s two-run homer into the Florida bullpen.
Ole Miss’ three-run first ended up being the difference in the game. Rebel starter Bobby Wahl had arguably his best performance of his Ole Miss career, scattering two hits and three walks over eight innings.
Wahl also struck out six in order to earn his fifth win of the season.
Junior closer Brett Huber got ahead of Florida center fielder Daniel Pigott 1-2 before the senior hit a triple just fair down the left field line.
Huber regrouped to get Preston Tucker out via strikeout, Mike Zunino out on a fly ball to right field and Brian Johnson out on a grounder to shortstop Blake Newalu to end the game.
The save is Huber’s sixth of the season and 22nd of his career.
Hudson Randall regrouped after the the three-run first but was still saddled with his first loss of the season.
Yarbrough and Snyder were the game’s only players to have multiple hits. Both were 2-for-4.
Game two is set for 1:30 on Saturday.
Ole Miss will send senior right-hander R.J. Hively to the mound. Hively is 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA. Hively has struck out 41 and walked just six in 36.2 innings. Opponents are hitting .207 off of him.
Johnson will take the mound for Florida. The left-hander is 4-0 with a 3.13 ERA. Johnson has struck out 28 and walked seven in 31.2 innings of work. (March 30, 2012)