ATHENS, Ga. - Ole Miss (15-11, 2-5 SEC) had been searching for a Friday night win for four weeks heading into Friday's game with 19th-ranked Georgia (18-7, 3-4 SEC).
Ole Miss found what it was looking for on Friday, taking the lead and then rallying to claim a 6-4 win over the Bulldogs to take the first game of the three-game series. It marks the first Friday night win for the Rebels in the last four outings, going back to the series against Maine on February, 24.
"That's Friday night baseball in the Southeastern Conference right there," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "Two teams battling back and forth for the lead and the win. We had big nights at the plate from Zack Cozart, Jon-Jon Hancock and Mark Wright. The story tonight, though, was on the mound.
"Craig Rodriguez came in tonight and competed his rear-end off in his first start, on a Friday night on the road in the SEC no less," Bianco said. "He worked hard and did a good job for us and then Garrett White came in and did what Garret does to help us get the win."
White (3-0) picked up his third win of the season and second straight from the bullpen as he worked 3.2 innings, striking out two and walking two, while allowing one run on three hits. White entered the game with the Rebels leading 4-3 after a three-run home run from Georgia's Bobby Felmy. White then gave up the lead with a solo home run, losing a save opportunity, but picked up the win as the Rebels battled down the stretch.
Brooks Brown (3-2) suffered the loss for the Bulldogs, as he worked 7.2 innings of work giving up all six runs, five of them earned, as he struck out a season-high nine batters and walked none. Brown allowed nine hits on the night.
Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning thanks to heads up base running. With two outs and runners at the corners, Zack Cozart got caught in a rundown between first and second, allowing Chris Coghlan to score from third and put the Rebels on the board. Coghlan reached on a single to center and moved to third on a single to right field from Cozart.
The Rebels added a second run in the top of the third when Jon-Jon Hancock scored on a single through the right side from C.J. Ketchum. Hancock was hit by a pitch to reach and then moved to second on a sac bunt from Evan Button and moved to third on a groundout to short from Henry.
Ole Miss put two more runs on the board in the fifth inning with a base hit liner to the pitcher from Henry. Henry reached safely and advanced to second on a throwing error from the pitcher trying to get Henry at first. Hancock and Button scored from second and third on the play. Hancock reached on a single to left field and Button reached on a bunt single. A strikeout, Henry caught stealing at third for the first time this season and a fly out to center field ended the inning for the Rebels.
Georgia climbed back into the game in the sixth inning with back-to-back home runs. A three-run shot from Bobby Felmy and a solo shot from Josh Morris tied the game at four. Felmy's home run came off starter Craig Rodriguez with runners at first and second following a single and a throwing error at first that allowed the second runner to reach base. Garret White replaced Rodriguez after the home run from Felmy and gave up the solo shot to Morris in the next at bat to tie the game.
A double to left field from Cozart in the top of the eighth got the Rebels the lead back, scoring JoJo Tann from second. Tann pinch ran for Ketchum who was hit by a pitch to reach base. Tann then stole second to get into scoring position. The Rebels added a second run on a double to left field from Mark Wright, scoring Cozart and giving the Rebels a 6-4 lead.
Ole Miss would hold on down the stretch to claim the win and head into Saturday's game with the chance to win the series against the Bulldogs. Saturday's game will begin at 3 p.m. CST at Foley Field.
Rebels beat Georgia 6-4
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