The athleticism on this year’s Ole Miss baseball team trumps that of any squad in recent memory.
And yet, when Sunday’s game against No. 1 Florida was on the line, the No. 16 Rebels called upon a pitcher to flash his speed and score the winning run.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth and the game tied 6-6, Ole Miss catcher Will Allen singled to right field.
Having already used most of his position players off the bench, Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco opted to send Friday-night ace Bobby Wahl in to pinch run for Allen.
Wahl grabbed a batting helmet for the first time since he was in high school and ran out of the dugout to switch places with Allen.
Third baseman Preston Overbey promptly hit a ball through the middle of the infield that sent Wahl scorching around second base and into third head-first, just ahead of the throw from Florida center fielder Daniel Pigott.
Overbey took second on the throw and, after Florida opted to intentionally walk designated hitter Zach Kirksey to load the bases, freshman left fielder Senquez Golson took his place in the batter’s box.
With five players drawn in to prevent any grounders from getting through the infield, Golson got just enough of a two-strike pitch from Florida closer Austin Maddox to send it lightly skipping towards first base.
Wahl broke for home upon contact and slid across the plate just ahead of an errant throw from right fielder Preston Tucker, who had joined the Florida infield.
“When I went sliding in I saw the ball get past me and it was one of those weird feelings where I just scored the winning run when I haven’t put a helmet on since high school,” Wahl said after Ole Miss’ 7-6 victory. “It was a really crazy feeling.” (April 2, 2012, Page 8)