More of the Same

Ole Miss scored three runs early on Friday night. On Saturday it was the Bulldogs who scored three runs early. Both times the visiting Bulldogs went on to win.

Saturday's series clincher had Georgia up 3-0 after an inning and a half. The Bulldogs never looked back in a 8-3 victory. Game three is at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

As has been the case throughout much of the current six losses in seven games' stretch the Rebels are currently going through, Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco searches for answers to his team's woes.

"Not a lot to say," he said. "It's pretty obvious. Once again we didn't play well in really all phases. It's been said many times, if you don't play well in this league, you don't have success. That's what happened."

The Rebels have fallen from a decent 18-7 overall and 3-3 Southeastern Conference record after a series win at Tennessee to 19-12 overall and a 4-7 record in SEC play.

The Rebels are currently flirting with the bottom four spots in SEC play more than any top four finish, with which they are more accustomed under Bianco. There are 19 conference games remaining, but only the top eight teams make the SEC Tournament field in Hoover, Ala. Ole Miss fifth-year senior Matt Smith says it

"I really don't know, honestly," said Smith, searching for some solutions at this point, just as his head coach is. "We've just got to play better all the way around. Defensively we've got to qui making errors early, and especially when there's runners on base. If you make errors, make them when you're up 16-3, not 3-2 or whatever.

A familiar scene the past 2 days
Bruce Newman
"Offensively we've just got to keep swinging," Smith continued. "The last couple of days, we've hit a lot more balls hard."

Georgia starter Michael Palazzone pitched a nine-inning, complete game, allowing three runs on eight hits with one strikeout and no walks.

"Palazzone did a very good job today of filling the zone up and making us really have to outdo him. At the end of the day, he pitched great, and came out on top.

David Goforth found the going quite a bit rougher. The junior righty, who claimed his first win of the season last week at LSU on Saturday, made it through 5.2 innings in this one, allowing five runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks. Not terrible numbers, but when the defense behind you is making errors (two on this day), and the offense is struggling to score runs, it makes it much tougher to win.

A two-run home run by Smith, 2-for-4 on the day, cut the Bulldog lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning. But as they had done on Friday, Georgia answered. Two runs in the top of the sixth made it 5-2 visitors, and the Rebels were back in a hole.

A solo home run by Blake Newalu in the sixth, his first of the season, closed the gap to 5-3. Georgia tacked on a run in each of the last three frames.

Georgia racked up 14 hits on the day the Rebels' eight.R.J. Hively, Mike Mayers, and Brett Huber all made appearances after Goforth left the game, and all gave up one run each. Palazzone moved to 5-1 with the win. Goforth fell to 1-5.

On Sunday, lefty Craig Gullickson goes for Georgia, and righty Austin Wright pitches for Ole Miss.

"I'm expecting (Wright) to be a leader and come out on the mound and give us a great performance," Bianco said. "He's very capable, there's no doubt about it. It's why we run him out there every Sunday."

Bianco said tomorrow is another important game for his ballclub, which needs a win to turn things back in the right direction.

"All we can do is come out tomorrow and play as hard as we can," Bianco said. "That's the great thing about our game. Unlike football where you wait a week, we get to play again tomorrow and play well and get back in the win column. We have to do that. We have to do better things between the lines to be able to win."

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