Aggressive offense fuels Rebels’ sweep of Florida

Right from the start of this weekend’s series with Florida, the Ole Miss bats were hot, and the No. 18 Rebels never stopped hitting, racking up a combined 40 runs to sweep the No. 16 Gators at Swayze Field.

After a 12-4 win Friday night, the Rebels (23-10, 8-4) came back and swept a Saturday doubleheader, drubbing the Gators 16-4 in Game 1 and 12-10 in Game 2. Ole Miss hit .415 as a team throughout the series as eight individual Rebels hit over .300 for the weekend.

The final game was the most competitive of the series. Houston Roth looked strong early, going 1-2-3 in the first. He gave up two hits in the second, then struck out the side to escape the jam.

The Gators scored four runs in the top of the third, all unearned. Roth worked his way to two outs with two men on base. Florida scored two on an error that skipped away from Tyler Keenan at third base and added two more on a Jud Fabian single.

The Gators tacked on four more off of Connor Green in the fourth. A bases-loaded walk, a sacrifice fly and a Will Dalton double made it a commanding 8-0 lead, but despite the scoreboard, the Rebels were far from out of it.

Zabowski hit a two-run shot to get the Rebels on the board in the bottom of the fourth. An inning later, Ole Miss exploded for eight runs to take the lead.

Kessinger continued his hit parade singling through the left side to score Anthony Servideo. The onslaught started after an hour weather delay. Out of the delay, Ole Miss took the lead off an eight-run inning with five hits. Keenan walked to load the bases, and the Gators walked in two runs to cut the lead to three. Freshman catcher Knox Loposer then made it one, ripping a double down the left field line. Graham tied it up on an RBI groundout, then singles by Chase Cockrelland Olenek made it a 10-8 Rebel lead.

In the top of the sixth, Florida cut the lead to one after a Nelson Maldonado home run. Later with two outs, Florida tied it all up after scoring on a wild pitch.

The Rebels got the lead right back in the bottom of the sixth from a Gator balk that allowed Zabowski to cross the plate. Ole Miss added one more insurance run in the seventh, when Olenek padded the lead with a double into center field, scoring Anthony Servideo. The double tied Olenek for fifth all time in program history with David Dellucci and Burney Hutchinson (51).

Parker Caracci earned the win with his longest outing of the season, throwing 3.2 scoreless innings to preserve the lead and secure the sweep.