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Saturday March 27, 2010No. 17 Ole Miss Downs No. 2 Baseball To Clinch Series

Oxford, Miss.

No. 17 Ole Miss (19-5/4-1 SEC) secured its weekend series with a 15-3 victory over No. 2 Florida (17-5/3-2 SEC) on Saturday night in front of a season-high 8,699 fans at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.


The Rebels pounded out 19 hits and had four multiple-run innings to support senior Aaron Barrett (6-0), who allowed three runs and four hits over six innings with nine strikeouts and six walks. Junior Tim Ferguson was a perfect 5-for-5 out of the leadoff spot and scored four runs, while the top three hitters in UMís lineup were a combined 9-for-15 with eight runs and six RBI.


The Gators jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run single by freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-5). Senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) opened the game by drawing a walk from Barrett and stole his team-leading ninth base. Sophomore Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) roped a one-out single into right field, pushing den Dekker to third, and advanced to second on the relay throw. Maddox then sliced a single into right center to score both of his teammates.


Ole Miss answered with four runs on five hits in the bottom of the frame off freshman Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) (2-1) for a 4-2 lead. Ferguson led off with a single down the left-field line, went to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a grounder by freshman Tanner Mathis (2-for-6, two RBI). Redshirt junior Matt Smith (2-for-4, three runs, three RBI) put the Rebels on the board with an RBI single into right center and redshirt senior Zach Miller (3-for-5, three runs, two RBI) followed with a base-hit through the left side. Another wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position and senior David Phillips tied the game with an RBI grounder. Freshman Alex Yarbrough (2-for-4, three RBI) doubled to left center to drive in Miller and junior Miles Hamblin stroked an RBI single to plate Yarbrough for a two-run edge for UM.


The Rebels increased their lead to 8-2 with four more runs in the second inning, highlighted by a two-run homer by Smith. Senior Kevin Mort (1-for-5, two runs) roped a leadoff double, ending the night for Randall (1.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R). Ferguson greeted sophomore reliever Nick Maronde (Lexington, Ky.) with a single up the middle and Mort was able to score when den Dekker bobbled the ball in center field. After Maronde caught Mathis looking on strikes, Smith cranked his fourth homer to left field. Miller followed with a four-pitch walk, stole second with two down and went to third on a passed ball before Yarbrough earned a free pass. Maronde was called for a balk, enabling Miller to score the eighth run.† †


Sophomore Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) replaced Maronde (1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R) prior to the home part of the third and UM tacked on another run on two hits to build a 9-2 margin. Sophomore Taylor Hightower (2-for-5) began the inning with a single but was erased at second base on a fielderís choice by Mort. Ferguson drew a walk and a well-executed hit-and-run by Mathis scored Mort and left runners on the corners. DeSclafani caught Smith looking on strikes and fanned Miller to end the inning.


A two-out double off the wall by freshman Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) in the fifth narrowed the gap to 9-3. Junior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) led off with a single and moved around the bases on consecutive grounders by Tucker and Maddox. Fontanaís third double of the year brought home Adams.


The Rebels countered with three more runs on three hits in the bottom of the stanza for a 12-3 cushion. Ferguson led off with a base-hit up the middle and Smith was hit by a pitch with one down before Miller delivered an RBI single. Yarbrough bashed a two-run double into right center to clear the bases. †


After Hightower had a leadoff double in the sixth, senior Chas Spottswood (Key West, Fla.) took over for DeSclafani (3.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 4 K). A grounder by Mort pushed Hightower to third and Ferguson legged out an infield single for a 13-3 count. An RBI double by Mathis scored Ferguson and Smith poked a two-out single that brought in Mathis for a 15-3 advantage.


The Rebels had a 19-7 advantage in hits, with sophomore reliever Matt Crouse tossing three scoreless innings and giving up three hits for his first save. Spottswood yielded five hits and two runs over three innings for UF. The teams will wrap up the weekend series tomorrow at 2 p.m. in a contest that will be carried live on CSS, as well as Cox Channel 21 in Gainesville.

†† †††††

Game Notes

          The Gators lost back-to-back games and dropped a weekend series for the first time this season.

          Florida allowed its most runs in an SEC game since a 16-9 loss to Vanderbilt on April 5, 2009.

          The 19 hits were the most surrendered by UF this year, eclipsing 18 against Charleston Southern on March 13.

          Austin Maddox raised his hitting streak to six games and holds the team lead in both multiple-hit (11) and multiple-RBI (nine) outings.




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