No. 8 Rebels even series with Vols

Published 6:05 am Sunday, March 20, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The No. 8 Ole Miss baseball team earned a hard-fought 6-4 victory over University of Tennessee Saturday evening to even the series between the two schools.

Redshirt-freshman Michael Fitzsimmons belted a two-run homer in the sixth that proved to be arguably the biggest hit of the ballgame. Fitzsimmons also ripped a double, going 2-for-3 with two RBI off the bench. Junior J.B. Woodman added two hits, while freshman Ryan Olenek recorded a pair of RBI for the Rebels (18-2, 1-1 SEC).

Another redshirt freshman, Brady Feigl (2-0), earned his second victory with 2.1 innings of relief. Feigl took over for starter Chad Smith, who lasted 4.2 innings and struck out a career-high seven hitters. Dallas Woolfolk and Will Stokes combined to pitch one scoreless frame, and Wyatt Short (5) recorded his 18th career save with three strikeouts in the bottom of the ninth. The Ole Miss pitching staff combined to strike out 13 Volunteers and hold Tennessee (12-6, 1-1 SEC) without a hit in 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

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Vincent Jackson went 3-for-5 at the dish to lead the way for Tennessee. Catcher Benito Santiago also tallied two hits and two runs. On the mound, starter Eric Freeman (1-1) last just three innings, while Andy Cox pitched the remaining six innings in relief. Ole Miss scored three runs off each of the UT pitchers.

For the second time in as many days, Ole Miss scored first. The Rebels put up three runs in the second inning with the help of three hits. Tate Blackman drew a walk to start the scoring frame, and Henri Lartigue lined the first pitch he saw into right center. Holt Perdzock followed with a double to left that plated Blackman for the game’s first run. Keeping Freeman on his heels, Olenek singled up the middle to bring two more Rebels across the plate, making it 3-0 in favor of Ole Miss.

Ole Miss dropped a tight 3-2 battle to the University of Tennessee at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, kicking off Southeastern Conference play. The Volunteers (12-5, 1-0 SEC) used timely hitting, scoring all three runs with two outs, to end the Rebels’ (17-2, 0-1 SEC) 12-game winning streak.

Tennessee scored two runs in the sixth before a pair of hits in the ninth led to the game’s final run. Derek Lance singled to center for the game-winning hit off Ole Miss closer Wyatt Short (1-1).

Junior J.B. Woodman went 2-for-3, hitting his team-leading fourth home run of the season and scoring the only two runs for the Rebels. Designated hitter Michael Fitzsimmons also recorded a pair of hits, and Colby Bortles drew three walks throughout the night.