Rebels fall to Georgia 4-3

Georgia head coach Dave Perno said his team's focus and approach were important in his Bulldogs' 4-3 win over Ole Miss. He said a two-run homer in the top of the first didn't hurt either.

"We played good defense. We threw strikes. And we scored early," said Perno, whose Bulldogs have been in the College World Series two of the last three seasons. "We showed everyone we came to play today, even after last night's loss that went 13 innings."

Ole Miss took game one of the series 9-8 on Friday night - in 13 innings, a game which lasted almost four hours.

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco, whose team was outhit 8 to 5, said the Rebels couldn't put much together offensively off Bulldog starter Stephen Dodson, who improved to 2-4 on the season.

"The story was that Dodson was just too much for us today," said Bianco after the Bulldog pitcher went eight innings allowing two earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks. "If you're only going to get five hits and not score many runs, then you've got to play real clean on the defensive end and pitch extremely well. We were almost able to pull it out. But (Dodson) was just so strong today."

The Rebels had three errors on the day. Cody Overbeck was impressed with Dodson as well.

"He made a lot of good pitches," said Overbeck of the sophomore righty. "He hit his spots and got guys out."

The Bulldogs, who improved to 11-20 on the season and 4-7 in Southeastern Conference play, took the lead before the Rebels ever got to the plate on a two-run shot by cleanup hitter Rich Poythress.

Ole Miss, now 23-10 and 6-5, then got one back in the bottom of the first on a groundout by Cody Overbeck which scored Justin Henry who had reached on a walk and moved to third on a double by Zack Cozart.

Rebel starter Lance Lynn got out of a jam in the third. Mike Freeman, the nine-hole batter for Georgia, bunted the first pitch and outran UM first baseman Andrew Clark who had fielded the ball and raced toward first. Before throwing a pitch to the plate to the next batter, Lynn threw the ball away at first and Freeman moved to second, then advanced to third on a throwing error into center field by UM catcher Brett Basham.

But two consecutive strikeouts of leadoff hitter Matt Cerione and two-hole hitter Gordon Beckham followed. Jonathan Wyatt walked and Poythress then grounded out pitcher to first to end the inning with no damage.

Georgia added a run to lead 3-1 in the top of the sixth. Poythress doubled to the right center wall. Matt Olson bunted and Lynn threw the ball to Overbeck to get the lead runner. But Overbeck failed to make the play, and the error put runners on first and third. Ryan Peisel hit into a double play but Poythress scored. After Luke Stewart singled, Joey Lewis struck out.

The Rebs got a run back in the bottom of the sixth. Overbeck doubled down the left field line to score Cozart, who had made it all the way to second when Bulldog rightfielder Olson dropped a fly ball at the wall.

Down 3-2, the Rebels got a run in the bottom of the eighth to tie things up 3-3. Jordan Henry beat out a ball to the second baseman that wasn't even thrown to first since he was safe. Justin Henry walked on four straight pitches, and Cozart sac bunted the Henrys to second and third. Overbeck flew out to center field which scored Jordan. Power struck out to keep things tied.

But two consecutive walks by Peisel and Jake Crane put the Bulldogs in business to start the top of the ninth. After reliever Craig Rodriguez got an 0-2 count on the third batter of the inning - Lewis, Bianco brought in reliever Scott Bittle, who proceeded to get Lewis to swing on the first pitch and strikeout.

But Bittle then walked Freeman to lead 'em up, and a ground out to second by Cerione scored Peisel to give Georgia a 4-3 lead.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Rebels had a shot. Bulldog closer Dean Weaver walked Andrew Clark. JoJo Tann pinch hit for Fuller Smith but popped up a bunt attempt to the catcher.

Evan Button flew out to center field on the first pitch. Alex Kliman, pinch hitting for Brett Basham, grounded out to second to end the game.

Rodriguez got the loss to fall to 1-2 on the season. Lynn said the team just wasn't able to get it done on this day.

"I gave up the home run, and it was just one of those things you run into and that's going to happen," said Lynn, who pitched 6.2 innings with two earned runs with 10 strikeouts and two walks. "Overall I did pretty well. We just didn't muster enough runs to get 'em today."

"Lance gave us a great effort and a gutsy performance," Bianco said. "Certainly one of those workmanlike efforts and was a warrior out there all day long. He gave us an opportunity which is all you can ask for. We just didn't do enough."

They'll get another chance to do enough on Sunday as the Rebels and Bulldogs play at 1:30 p.m. Ole Miss will send freshman lefty Nathan Baker (3.41 ERA, 3-1 record, 9 appearances, 6 starts) to the mound.

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