Friday March 30, 2012No. 16 Ole Miss Takes Opener Over No. 1 Baseball, 3-0
Sophomore right-hander Bobby Wahl fired eight scoreless innings as No. 16 Ole Miss (19-7/4-3 SEC) blanked No. 1 Florida (23-3/5-2 SEC), 3-0, in front of a season-high 9,311 fans on Friday night at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field to claim the opener of the three-game series.
Wahl (5-0) limited the Gators to a pair of singles and junior Brett Huber overcame a leadoff triple in the ninth by senior Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) to preserve the shutout and pick up his sixth save. It marked the first time that UF had been shut out since March 8, 2011, by Georgia Southern (7-0).
The Rebels reached junior righty Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) (3-1) for three runs in the first inning on an RBI single by junior Alex Yarbrough (2-for-4) and a two-run homer by senior Matt Snyder (2-for-4). Junior Tanner Mathis had singled up the middle on Randall’s first pitch of the game and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by sophomore Austin Anderson. Mathis swiped third and scored on a base-hit into right field by Yarbrough. Snyder followed with his fourth homer of the campaign to right field to give the hosts a 3-0 lead.
Wahl retired the first two Gators of the fourth on strikeouts before issuing back-to-back walks to juniors Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) and Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.). The right-hander had freshman Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) pop up in foul territory to end the frame.
After Randall recorded the first two outs in the fifth, Snyder and sophomore Will Allen delivered consecutive singles. Randall stranded the runners with a strikeout of senior Zach Kirksey.
Randall allowed eight hits and three runs over six innings, with four strikeouts and a walk. Freshman Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) entered the game prior to the Rebels’ seventh at bat and surrendered a one-out single to senior pinch hitter Blake Newalu, who moved into scoring position with a stolen base. Poyner worked out of further trouble by having Yarbrough and Snyder ground out.
Freshman Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) drew a leadoff walk in the eighth but Wahl responded with strikeouts of junior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) and junior pinch hitter Jeff Moyer (Winter Springs, Fla.). The righty had a fielder’s choice by junior Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) force Turgeon at second base to complete the frame.
Poyner set down the first two Rebels in the home part of the inning and was replaced by freshman Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.). Over 1.2 innings, Poyner permitted one hit and had one strikeout. Harris threw one pitch and junior Andrew Mistone grounded out to end the inning.
Wahl departed after an eight-inning stint in which he permitted two singles, with six strikeouts and three walks. Pigott began the ninth with a triple to left field off Huber, his second-straight game with a three-bagger. The reliever countered with a strikeout of senior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.), a fly out by Zunino and a grounder by Johnson to secure the win. The Rebels held a 9-3 advantage in hits and neither team committed any errors.
Saturday’s pitching matchup starting at 2:30 p.m. ET will pit Johnson (4-0, 3.13) against Ole Miss senior righty R.J. Hively (3-1, 1.47)
· The three hits by Florida were a season low.
· The Gators had given up a total of eight runs in the first inning in their first 25 games.
· UF is now 6-2 away from Gainesville, while Ole Miss improved to 15-4 at home this year.
· The Rebels have now tossed back-to-back shutouts after defeating Jackson State, 12-0, on Tuesday night.
· Florida is 10-3 against ranked teams in 2012.