Deal Sealed

Mike Bianco wouldn't necessarily say it was Bobby Wahl's best game at Ole Miss, his two-hit, eight-inning performance that lifted the 16th-ranked Rebels to a 3-0 shutout of No. 1 Florida. But he said, all things considered, it might have been.

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Bobby Wahl from Jeff Roberson on Vimeo.

"He's been terrific in several outings," the head coach said of the sophomore right-hander. "Maybe there were times when he did locate the fastball better or had a better breaking ball. But with everything about tonight, Friday night in the SEC, facing the No. 1 team with over 9,000 in the stands, it's hard to imagine you could be much better than that."

Wahl, with three walks and six strikeouts to go along with the two hits, said it was just a solid night for him.

"I was able to throw everything in the zone for strikes which was the biggest thing, especially my changeup even to right-handers, which was awesome," he said, moving to 5-0 on the season. "The defense was great tonight. Hats off to them. All those guys made great plays tonight."

Some of the comfort zone for Wahl came via the fact that his team, after he got the Gators three up and three down in the top of the first inning, got him three runs to work with in the bottom of the frame.

"When they do that, which they've been doing all year, it's great," he said. "It's one of those feelings as a pitcher, it's your best friend, for them to do that offensively."

An Alex Yarbrough single drove in Tanner Mathis who had reached on a base hit and moved to second on a sac bunt by Austin Anderson. Matt Snyder then sent one over the right field wall to give the Rebels all the runs they'd get, and more than they'd need.

"With Bobby closing the door on them in the first inning, and Mathis getting the first-pitch hit, anytime somebody does that it's a big momentum shift," said Snyder, who was 2-for-4 in the game. "Great job by (Mathis). Great job by Anderson moving him over. And Yarbs got him in."

And then Snyder did his thing.

"He (Gator starter Hudson Randall) threw a pitch that I was able to stay back on and hit it out," he said. "We had a lot of momentum and a lot of energy after that."

Just no more runs. But the Gators, now 23-3 on the year and 5-2 in SEC play, got none all night.

Huber after getting his 6th save of the season
Bruce Newman

Bianco had praise for all facets of the Rebels' performance, which included nine hits and no errors.

"We played a very clean game defensively," he said. "Then of course we were able to put the first inning together. That was all we got, and we had opportunities. You want to be a little stingy, and we had chances during the game with runners in scoring position. But we couldn't get the timely hit. Thankfully we put the first inning together and pitched really well.

"And Bobby was tremendous and continued to make pitches, even when he fell behind," the head coach added."He was able to battle back into the strike zone. He pitched a terrific game."

Bianco said Brett Huber closing it out in the ninth was important for several reasons.

"Proud of the way Brett came in," he said after Huber's sixth save of the year."Knew it wouldn't be easy after the last two weeks. But he did what he's supposed to do. He threw the ball into the strike zone and got ahead of all the hitters."

Wahl said he was still OK in the eighth, and he had thousands of reason why.

"I felt great," he said. I had the adrenaline going the whole time. The fans were electric. They were awesome tonight, an awesome turnout."

In the middle to late innings, he did get into some 2-0 counts but managed to work through them.

"I did fall behind 2-0 some. I left some balls up," he said. "I focused and calmed myself down and was able to make pitches down the zone."

Bianco said what he told the team afterward was what he's been telling them his entire career.

"That's always been the message, and it's been the message for 12 years," he said. "It feels good, obviously, and it's nice to win on Friday night. But we realize you can enjoy it tonight but you'd better be back tomorrow. You're going to face a very good ballclub tomorrow."

Wahl walked over to meet the media with his t-shirt, that signifies a "game ball" type situation after a win. Wahl was proud he got the shirt on this night. He wears No. 19.

"I actually got my number tonight, so that was pretty cool," he said.

A memorable night for many reasons indeed.

The Rebels, 19-7 and 4-3, and the Gators meet again Satuday at 1:30 p.m.

Brett Huber from Jeff Roberson on Vimeo.

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