UF Baseball: No. 3 Ole Miss Beats Gators To Even Series
Courtesy of University Athletic Association
BY SCOTT CARTER
Rebels shortstop Gonzalez broke 2-2 tie with homer in eighth
No. 3 Ole Miss broke open a close game with six runs in the final two innings to beat No. 15 Florida, 8-2, Friday night at Florida Ballpark.
Rebels shortstop Jacob Gonzalez, who finished 3-for-5 with four RBI, hit a two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning to snap a 2-2 tie. The Gators (17-9, 4-4) had pulled even in the bottom of the seventh on a solo home run by Jud Fabian. Fabian broke a 0-for-19 slump with his team-leading ninth home run.
However, Ole Miss (21-5, 7-1) responded with Gonzalez’s homer in the eighth off Gators reliever Jack Leftwich and with four runs in the ninth, highlighted by a pair of two-run singles from Peyton Chatagnier and Gonzalez.
The early innings were dominated by starting pitchers Christian Scott and Doug Nikhazy. In his first start of the season for the Gators, Scott was sharp, tossing five innings. He allowed five hits and two runs. Scott struck out a career-high seven and did not issue a walk. Scott got better later in the game, retiring the final eight batters he faced.
As good as Scott was, Rebels left-hander Nikhazy was better. In six innings, Nikhazy limited Florida to two hits and a run. He struck out 11 in his 100-pitch outing. Nikhazy and two relievers combined to strike out 18 Gators and allow only three hits.
The Gators scored their only run off Nikhazy in the second when Jordan Butler drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third on a throwing error by Nikhazy on a pick-off attempt. UF designated hitter Kris Armstrong plated Butler with a two-out RBI single.
FROM UF COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN
On Florida starter Christian Scott…
“He pitched really good. Christian did great. He did everything we asked him to do tonight.”
On Ole Miss starter Doug Nikhazy…
“He was really good. After the first inning yesterday, they really slowed the ball down a lot with [starting pitcher Gunnar] Hoglund. Then tonight, the first pitch of the game was a slider, which you don’t see that often. We did not have a great game offensively.”
On momentum swing in late innings…
“It’s tough. It’s a game of momentum. We just have to be more aggressive early in the count. That’s one way to cut down on strikeouts. Obviously, Jud hits the home run to tie it up at 2, and then we immediately go strikeout, strikeout. We just need to have a couple better at-bats there. We had the momentum there, but we just didn’t keep it. You are not going to win many games with 18 strikeouts and just three hits.”
ON DECK: The final game of the Florida-Ole Miss series is Saturday afternoon at 1. The game can be streamed on SEC Network+ with radio coverage provided on ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF.