Ole Miss won the war with Georgia but lost the battle on Sunday.
The Rebels took the first two games from the Bulldogs, but unlike the first two days, in the finale there would be no dramatic conclusions in a 6-3 loss. Georgia pitcher Will Startup saw to that.
Having blown a save for the Bulldogs Friday night giving up four hits and two runs in the ninth in the Rebels' 4-3 series opening win, Startup pitched the first complete game of his college career and Georgia's first complete game of the season.
"After Friday night he really wanted a shot at giving us a lift," said Georgia head coach David Perno of one of the SEC's best relievers - and at least today one of its best starters. "He did a good job out there today for us."
Startup faced 38 Rebel batters and actually walked five of them and hit another. He only allowed the three earned runs and had three strikeouts. But the Rebels had trouble getting anything going all day offensively.
"He did exactly what we thought he'd do," Bianco said of the junior lefty. "He threw more breaking balls and changeups. But I think you have to do that as a starter. As a reliever he doesn't. He threw some fast balls too and was able to pump the ball in there. We chased some pitches out of the zone and couldn't catch up to some other pitches. He just handcuffed us the entire day. I wasn't suprised he pitched that well, but I'm disappointed we didn't get after him better. Take nothing away from him, but I'm disappointed. I thought we could get to him."
Bianco said the Rebels, who had 24 hits in three games plus two extra innings on the weekend, weren't good enough offensively.
"It wasn't a real good weekend for us offensively," Bianco said. "In 29 innings we score 12 runs. We're better than that. It was our poorest weekend of not pushing runs across. That's the reason we're not able to run some games together. We can't put all three phases together. This weekend we pitched well but we didn't hit good enough."
With a run in the second, Georgia led 1-0 until the Rebels tied it 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth when Jon-Jon Hancock's double scored Brian Pettway who had reached on a double.
After the Bulldogs went back out front 2-1 in the top of the sixth on a solo homer by Jason Jacobs, the Rebels answered plus one in the bottom of the sixth when Hancock tripled to score Mark Wright who had walked. Barry Gunther then bunted as Hancock headed home on the play to make it 3-2 Ole Miss.
But Georgia wasn't nearly finished. The Bulldogs chased Eric Fowler after the Rebel starter gave up a one-out double by Bobby Felmy in the top of the seventh. Will Kline relieved Fowler and got Kyle Keen to fly out to right. But a walk, two singles, an error on Rebel right fielder Wright, a wild pitch, and a passed ball later, and the visitors led 5-3 as Kline gave way to Tommy Baumgardner.
Baumgardner walked two straight Bulldogs but was able to get the final out to end the frame. But Georgia had damaged the Rebels' hope for their first sweep of an SEC team since Florida in Gainesville last May.
Ole Miss failed to score in the eighth but Georgia didn't. The Bulldogs sent Baumgardner to an early exit with three singles including an RBI base hit by Josh Morris.
Down 6-3 the Rebels had no rally in them this day and fell to 27-13 overall and 9-9 in Southeastern Conference action. Georgia improved to 21-18 and 6-11.
Ole Miss hosts Memphis (10-27) Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. On Wednesday the Rebels head to Autozone Park in Memphis for another matchup with the Tigers at 6:30 p.m. That game is a rainout makeup from the scheduled Memphis game at Autozone in late March.
Rebs have no answer for Startup Sunday
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