OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss opened a three-game home series Friday night with a 7-3 win against Georgia at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
The Rebels improved to 22-20 overall and 4-15 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Bulldogs fell to 23-19 and 7-12. The two teams play the second game of the series at noon on Saturday.
After Georgia took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, the Rebels got some offensive production in the bottom of the third. TJ McCants walked, later stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. Peyton Chatagnier then walked and the Rebels had something going.
Jacob Gonzalez flew out to deep center to get McCants home as Chatagnier moved to second. After Chatagnier stole third, Ethan Lege singled to get the Rebel second baseman home and tie the score at 2-2.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Rebels took the lead. Replacing Bulldog right-handed starter Kolten Smith was left-hander Luke Wagner. Ethan Groff doubled to right center with one out and Will Furniss got a base hit through the left side of the infield to score Groff. That was all the Rebels could manage that inning, but they had grabbed a 3-2 lead after four complete.
Right-handed Rebel reliever Brayden Jones took over for left-handed starter Xavier Rivas in the top of the fifth after two Bulldogs were aboard via a walk and a single. Jones successfully got the Rebels out of the inning with a double play and a groundout.
Rivas ended his portion of the contest with seven strikeouts, along with four walks, giving up six hits but just the two early runs.
In the top of the sixth, Georgia tied the game 3-3, and right-hander Mitch Murrell took over for Jones with no outs in the frame. Murrell got a ground out, but then hit a batter and walked one. However, Bulldog Charlie Condon grounded into a double play to end any more scoring for the visitors in the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Connor Tate walked and the Rebels went to the bullpen again, this time for right-hander Mason Nichols. After walking Parks Harber and now with two Bulldogs on base, Nichols got his team out of it with a popup and two strikeouts.
Still tied 3-3 at stretch time, there was one out and nobody aboard when Chatagnier sent one to the deepest part of the park and over the 390 sign in center to give Ole Miss a 4-3 lead after seven innings.
Right-hander Jack Dougherty took the mound for the Rebels in the eighth and took care of the Bulldogs. In the bottom of the eighth, Ole Miss padded its one-run lead. Calvin Harris walked, Kemp Alderman singled, and Anthony Calarco walked to load the bases. Right-hander Dalton Rhadans replaced Wagner, and the Rebels got more runs. After Groff reached on a fielder's choice, but Harris was out on the play at home plate, Furniss then rolled a double just inside the third base bag, scoring Alderman and Calarco for a 6-3 UM advantage. A Chatagnier ground out to third got Groff home and made it 7-3.
Dougherty, facing eight batters in the final two innings with five strikeouts, closed things out for the Rebels in the top of the ninth for his second save of the season. Nichols (3-3) got the win. Wagner (1-3) got the loss.