KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 10 Ole Miss baseball team reached double digits in runs to claim Sunday's rubber match over the University of Tennessee. With the 10-7 road victory at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, the Rebels (19-2, 2-1 SEC) took the first Southeastern Conference series of the 2016 season.
The Ole Miss bats were on fire all afternoon, totaling 15 hits. The Rebels hit in clutch situations, going 11-for-25 (.440) with runners on base and 8-for-17 (.471) with runners in scoring position. All nine Rebels in the lineup recorded at least one hit, including four who produced multi-hit games. Will Golsan and Henri Lartigue led the way with three hits, two RBI and one double each. Connor Cloyd and J.B. Woodman both recorded a pair of hits, with Woodman adding two sacrifice flies to knock in runs.
On the mound, freshman Andy Pagnozzi (4-0) earned his second victory of the week, pitching 3.0 innings in relief of starter Sean Johnson.
Tennessee (12-7, 1-2 SEC) scored seven runs on 11 hits. Leno Ramirez and Tyler Schultz recorded two hits apiece, while Jordan Rodgers hit a three-run home run. The Rebels forced UT starting pitcher Hunter Martin out of the game in the first inning. Steven Kane (0-2) suffered the loss after allowing five runs in 3.2 innings out of the bullpen.
The Rebels used a two-out rally to score a pair of runs in the opening inning. Back-to-back doubles by J.B. Woodman and Colby Bortles led to the game's first run. Tate Blackman followed with a single up the middle to plate Bortles, and Henri Lartigue's base hit to left made it four straight hits for Ole Miss. A four-pitch walk to Holt Perdzock forced Tennessee starter Hunter Martin out of the game in the opening inning. UT reliever Steven Kane got his team out of the jam, but not before Ole Miss claimed a 2-0 advantage.
Tennessee countered with two runs in the second to tie the game. A leadoff double followed by a sacrifice bunt and a groundout to cut the Rebels' lead in half. The Volunteers were able to tie the game after an error kept the inning alive, and a bases-loaded walk brought in another run. Through two complete, Ole Miss and Tennessee were at a 2-2 standstill.
The game didn't stay tied for long as Ole Miss plated a run in the third to make it 3-2. Blackman walked to start the inning before stealing second to get into scoring position. Perdzock knocked in his teammate with an opposite-field double to left. With two outs, Connor Cloyd found a hole through the right side, but Perdzock was thrown out on a bang-bang play at the plate, preventing the Rebels from increasing their lead.
The Volunteers used two hits to put runners on the corner in the bottom half of the inning. However, Blackman flashed the leather by catching a line drive up the middle and throwing out the runner off first. One inning later, the Rebels turned another double play to get out of a jam. The pair of twin killings kept Ole Miss in front, 3-2, after four innings of play.
Ole Miss put the game out of reach with a five-run fifth inning. After the first two runners reached base to begin the inning, Lartigue knocked the pair of Rebels in with a double to deep center field. Olenek and Golsan added RBI singles, while Woodman produced a sac fly to bring another Rebel across the plate. The big inning put Ole Miss ahead, 8-2.
The Rebels reached double digits after scoring two runs in the seventh. Two infield hits by Olenek and Cloyd kicked off the inning. Golsan nearly cleared the bases with a hit off the top of the wall; the double scored Olenek, and another Woodman sacrifice fly made it 10-2 in favor of Ole Miss.
With the Rebels out in front, Pagnozzi continued to cruise on the mound by tossing three straight scoreless innings before Tennessee tallied four runs in the bottom of the seventh. The freshman left with the bases loaded, and David Parkinson came out of the bullpen. After a sacrifice fly, Rodgers hit a three-run homer to cut the lead to four, 10-6.
Tennessee added one run in the ninth, but back-to-back diving catches by Cameron Dishon and Kyle Watson ended the game as Ole Miss took the series with the three-run win.
Following their longest road trip of the season, the Rebels return to the friendly confines of Swayze Field for four games next week. First, Ole Miss hosts UT Martin in a Tuesday morning matchup, March 22. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT.