The most positive aspect of Ole Miss' three losses to Florida this weekend in Gainesville was the return of reliever Jake Morgan, who hadn't pitched in a game in seven weeks.

Morgan pitched only 1.1 innings in the Rebels' 7-2 loss Sunday, but he said it was good to finally be back on the mound after the layoff with a shoulder injury and rehab.

"I'd been working to get back out there," said the Rebels' ace closer who sat out all last season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. "Today it felt really well."

Morgan relieved Bobby Wahl with two outs in the sixth. Wahl had entered the game in the third for starter Austin Wright.

Morgan got the final out of the sixth with just two pitches, a strike followed by a groundout to the first baseman by Gator shortstop Nolan Fontana.

In the seventh Morgan gave up a leadoff single but nothing else.

"I felt like I had everything working for me today, so that felt really good," said the low-key Rebel pitcher. "I've kept trying and working to be back in there. I felt as soon as I got back out there, I'd be ready again."

According to Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco, that was the case.

"It's amazing to watch him. The first hitter he faces he dumps two sliders in there and immediately gets an out," Bianco said. "He pitched to four hitters and threw one ball. He threw every breaking ball I think for a strike. Jake's got good stuff, but the reason he's so good is he has good command. And he has a lot of guts and attacks the hitters. Maybe that was the lesson for the rest of them today."

The Rebels had opportunities and got men in scoring position, but couldn't come up with the big hit when they needed to early as Ole Miss (24-20, 9-12 SEC) dropped the series finale to No. 4 Florida (34-10, 17-4 SEC).

Matt Smith hit his seventh homer of the season, the 41st of his Ole Miss career
Bruce Newman
Ole Miss put men in scoring position in four of the first five innings, but couldn't get a run home until a Will Allen single in the seventh inning put the Rebels on the board. Matt Smith added a home run in the eighth inning to move into sole possession of second place on the all-time list for home runs at Ole Miss with 41 for his career.

Austin Wright (4-4) suffered the loss for the Rebels as he allowed four runs on five hits with a strikeout in 2.2 innings of work.

Karsten Whitson (6-0) grabbed the win for Florida as he held the Rebels scoreless through 6.0 innings and allowed three hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

"You have to tip your hat to Florida," said Bianco. "They played terrific and got the big hits to extend the lead. We stayed out of giving up the big inning, but we just couldn't stop them. Florida pitches well and their command is good, they got the big hits and make all the plays defensively. They just kind of smother you out there."

Florida took the early lead, scoring in the first on a sac fly to left field from Nolan Fontana that brought Bryson Rose Home. Rose doubled down the left field line before a wild pitch moved him to third to set up the score on the Fontana fly ball. Mike Zunino then doubled before scoring on a single up the middle from Preston Tucker that put Florida up 2-0.

The Gators added to the lead in the third inning, pushing two more runs across the plate when Zunino came up with a two-RBI double that scored runners from first and third.

Zunino repeated the feat with his third double of the afternoon in the fifth inning to drive in two more runs and spark a Florida rally. Tucker then singled to drive in Zunino and put the Gators on top 7-0 after five innings of play.

Ole Miss got on the board in the seventh when Allen singled to right field to drive in Matt Snyder from third. Snyder reached on a fielding error in left on a fly ball before taking third on a wild pitch to set up the score on the Allen hit.

Smith then hit his solo shot in the eighth inning to cut the lead to 7-2 which proved to be the final score.

Ole Miss will return to action on Wednesday when the Rebels travel to face Arkansas State in Jonesboro, Ark., at 6:30 p.m.

OM Spirit Top Stories