OXFORD — Ole Miss senior second baseman Peyton Chatagnier hit a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh inning Friday night against Georgia, helping the Rebels snap a four-game losing streak with a 7-3 win over the Bulldogs in the first of three games this weekend at Swayze Field.
Freshman designated hitter Will Furniss hit a two-run double, part of a three-run eighth inning.
“It was a 3-1 count. I was looking for a fastball, I got my swing off, so that was good. But, overall, it felt good to just win,” Chatagnier said. “Overall, I thought we played well in all phases of the game.”
Junior starting pitcher Xavier Rivas struck out two batters in the first inning but had a rough patch in the second, loading the bases and giving up a pair of earned runs. The Rebels (22-20, 4-15) tied the game in the bottom of the third with a sacrifice fly from junior shortstop Jacob Gonzalez and an RBI single from junior third baseman Ethan Lege.
Furniss gave the Rebels their first lead of the night with a double up the middle in the fourth that drove home senior centerfielder Ethan Groff and put Ole Miss up 3-2.
Rivas struck out seven batters and walked four in four full innings of work. He was replaced by freshman Brayden Jones with two runners on base and no outs in the fifth, and Jones proceeded to induce a double-play and another groundout to end the inning.
The Bulldogs (23-19, 7-12) tied the game in the sixth with a scoring double from catcher Fernando Gonzalez off Jones. Georgia later loaded the bases, but Lege and senior first baseman Anthony Calarco turned a picture-perfect double-play to end the inning and keep the game tied.
“We’ve been really good at defense, and maybe not as good in conference games. But really, the conference games, (it) hasn’t been an every game event for us defensively. It’s been a few games here or there, where we just blow up and don’t make three or four plays,” head coach Mike Bianco said. “But, for the most part, we’ve caught it well this year.”
Chatagnier hit a 405-foot home run to centerfield with one out in the seventh, his seventh longball of the season. Junior Jack Dougherty entered the game in the eighth and struck out five of the six batters he faced. It was Dougherty’s second relief appearance of the season, having started in eight of 10 outings. He did not pitch last week due to a sore shoulder.
“It was a good feeling to get back in the bullpen. I missed it a little bit. I mean, I did that for two years. So, to be able to go out and do that tonight was fun,” Dougherty said. “ … It’s nice to be able to go out there and just kind of throw as hard as I can and try and get hitters out. You don’t have to worry about much else.”
The Rebels and Bulldogs play Saturday at noon on SEC Network+. The game was moved from its original 1:30 p.m. start due to expected weather.
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