April 12, 2012
Ole Miss (23-11, 6-7 SEC) took the first lead of the game in the third. After pitching two perfect innings, Palazzone (1-4) gave up four hits that resulted in two Rebel runs. Tanner Mathis drove in Andrew Mistone, and Alex Yarbrough blasted a two-out double to right that scored Auston Bousfield. It would have scored Mathis, too, if not for a close call at home plate that went Georgia's way and held the tally at 2-0.
In the fifth, the Bulldogs (21-13, 6-7 SEC) put together an offensive surge of their own, using four consecutive one-out hits to tie the game. Joey Delmonico, Curt Powell, Levi Hyams and Kyle Farmer all singled, with Delmonico and Powell reaching home plate. This forced the Rebels to make the first pitching change of the night. Aaron Greenwood replaced Bobby Wahl and retired the next two Georgia batters to end the inning. Wahl gave up two runs on six hits with six strikeouts in 4.1 innings.
The Rebels got their two-run lead back in the sixth thanks to a pair of Bulldog errors. With one out, left fielder Conor Welton dropped Matt Snyder's fly ball and then overthrew the cutoff man. This allowed Yarbrough to score from first and Snyder to make it all the way to third. Snyder was brought home on an infield hit from Will Allen before Palazzone forced a double play to retire the side, with the score 4-2 in favor of Ole Miss.
Georgia still had gas left in the tank, however, and exploded for a six-run eighth inning. Brett DeLoach led off with a single, and Colby May followed with a walk. A wild pitch advanced both runners and spurred Ole Miss to bring in closer Brett Huber (1-2), who walked Peter Verdin to load the bases. Then Welton hit a grounder to short, but the Rebels could only get one out, as Verdin's slide into second prevented conversion of a double play, and DeLoach was able to score. Nelson Ward entered the game as a pinch hitter and slapped a single into left, plating May and putting Welton on second. Powell reloaded the bases with an infield hit, and, after Hyams struck out, Farmer came through with a three-run double to give the Bulldogs the lead. Hunter Cole provided an insurance run, knocking in Farmer to yield what would be the final score, 8-4. Farmer matched his career high in RBI for the fourth time in his career.
Palazzone closed it out to earn his first win of the season, with two earned runs, eight strikeouts and no walks. It was his fifth career complete game and his longest outing this year. Huber got the loss to fall to 1-2, allowing four runs on four hits in one inning.
"I was encouraged by a lot of things I saw tonight, and we did some things we haven't been doing that you need to win SEC games," said Georgia coach David Perno. "First of all, Michael got better as the game went along and pitched an outstanding game against a tough lineup. We made one bad play, but the guys picked each other up and we got the big inning we've been missing a lot in SEC games. Kyle had a big night, and we got production from everybody in the lineup and off the bench too. Tonight was a good start."
Georgia will continue its series here with Ole Miss at 7 p.m. Friday.