The Gators hung on for a 6-4 win to split the series before 5,228. The two teams meet at 12 noon Sunday to decide things.
The visiting Gators got four runs in the first off second-game starter Cody Satterwhite, and the uphill climb had begun again for the Rebels.
"I didn't make enough pitches and they capitalized," said Satterwhite, who went five and two-thirds innings, allowing five runs, four earned, on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks. "Give credit to their ballclub. But getting behind in counts didn't help, and they were sitting on fast ball. They got the hits when they needed them."
Satterwhite actually had a chance to get out of that first inning with no damage. All four Florida runs came with two outs.
"I tried to get that last out, but they put a good inning together," he said. "Again, give them credit."
Satterwhite possibly came out of the game more for a medical situation than what the Gators were doing at the time. He likely wouldn't have gone much longer anyway. But a blister on the middle finger of his right hand was hurting him.
"It kind of bothered me at the end but not at the beginning," Satterwhite said. "It really wasn't a factor."
On Friday night Florida had a four-run second inning off UM starter Lance Lynn. Trailing 4-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Rebels rallied for three runs in the frame and a 5-4 win in game one.
On Saturday, Florida's five-hit, four-run first gave Gator starter Patrick Keating quite a margin to work with. The sophomore right-hander went six complete, as the Rebs got three runs on five hits with three strikeouts and a walk. That's when first-year Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan really started earning his paycheck.
Left-hander Stephen Locke relieved Keating to start the seventh but faced only four batters as the Rebels got three straight hits and a run to trim the UF lead to 6-4. Right-hander Josh Edmondson came in with one out and got Matt Smith to hit into a double play to end any further damage.
In the bottom of the ninth, it looked like a repeat of Friday night. But again O'Sullivan's strategy worked to perfection. After Cullan Kight singled to right field, the Gator mentor pulled Edmondson and replaced him with lefty Tony Davis. After he walked Jordan Henry and got Michael Hubbard to strikeout looking, O'Sullivan called on right-hander Kyle Mullaney with Rebs on first and second.
Rebel slugger Cody Overbeck proceeded to hit into a double play to end it.
"The key for our offense was to not only score four in the first but to tack on one more in the fifth and one in the seventh," O'Sullivan said. "And the two double plays to end the seventh and ninth were huge. I got excited about those."
After the big Florida first, each team had put a run on the scoreboard before Matt Smith's two-out two-run homer over the center field wall pulled Ole Miss to within two runs at 5-3.
The Gators added one in the seventh off Rebel reliever Rory McKean. After McKean gave up a single to start the top of the ninth, Scott Bittle finished the game with no further damage, getting the final two batters to strikeout.
The Rebels had their chances after that, but a repeat of the thrilling win from Friday night was not in the cards this time around.
"Give Florida credit," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco after both teams had two errors in the contest. "It's a shame they got out to such a big lead. It's tough. In all three phases they played a little bit better than us. They pitched a little bit better. They hit a little bit better. They fielded a little bit better."
The Rebels fell to 15-7 overall and 3-2 in Southeastern Conference play. The Gators, who outhit the Rebs 11-9, improved to 16-4 and 4-1.
"I thought we swung the bats well," said Logan Power, who, along with Brett Basham, had two hits on the day. "We had some opportunities, but we just didn't get the big inning like we did yesterday."
Just like yesterday, Florida did. Only this time, the Gators made the Rebels pay.
No Day 2 Repeat
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