KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On a cold Sunday afternoon, the bats never heated up for the Tennessee baseball team (18-6, 2-4 SEC) as it dropped an 8-0 decision to Ole Miss (18-7, 3-3) at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Volunteers managed just five hits as Austin Wright twirled eight scoreless innings to lead the Rebels to their sixth shutout in the last 11 games.
“There’s not much to say about that one,” UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. “We fell down early and we just couldn’t get anything going today. That guy (Austin Wright) was really good today. When you pitch with a lead, it’s a little bit easier. He did a great job. He threw anything he wanted at anytime. It’s the first time all year that we kind of pressed offensively. We overswung for some reason. We couldn’t get in our game.”
The Vols managed just five hits, all singles, as they were held without an extra-base hit for the second straight day and just third time all season. The shutout is the first since UT was blanked at Auburn on May 15, 2010.
Junior Matt Ramsey extended his hitting streak to five games, while sophomore Chris Fritts picked up his second pinch-hit of the season. Senior Khayyan Norfork, junior Zach Osborne and freshman Ethan Bennett had the other three hits for the Big Orange.
Wright improved to 3-2 on the year for the Rebels after striking out eight, walking one and yielding just four hits over eight innings. Junior Levi Dean suffered his first loss in a Tennessee uniform, falling to 4-1 after giving up three runs on six hits in 2.2 frames of work. He also walked one and struck out one.
Six other pitchers worked out of the UT bullpen with sophomore Hunter Daniel posting the most impressive performance. The Bearden High School product did not allow a run on two hits during his season-long outing of 1.2 innings.
For the third straight day, the Rebels scored first, plating two runs in the top of the first. After loading the bases with nobody out, the first tally came on a double-play ball before an RBI single by Alex Yarbrough brought home the second.
Continuing to apply the pressure, Ole Miss added another run in the second on a solo home run by Miles Hamblin before the teams combined for four scoreless frames. The Rebels broke the game open with two runs in both the seventh and eighth stanzas and another tally in the ninth completed the scoring.
The Vols biggest threat came in the seventh when a walk to senior Josh Liles and an Ole Miss error gave the Big Orange runners on first and second with just one out. Wright was able to bear down though, getting Tyler Horne to bounce one back to the mound before coming back from down 3-0 in the count to strike out Chris Pierce with a high fastball on the eighth pitch of the at-bat.
Tennessee will look to get back in the win column on Wednesday when it hosts a mid-week matchup against UNC Asheville at 7 p.m. Redshirt freshman Jon Reed (1-0, 4.50) will get the start for the Volunteers on the mound. From there, the Orange and White will hit the road for Gainesville, Fla., as it is slated for a three-game set against top-ranked Florida next weekend.
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Tennessee falls to 18-6 on the season and 2-4 in SEC play…The Vols are now 34-38-1 all-time against Ole Miss, including a 16-16 mark in Knoxville…The shutout was the first since the Big Orange was blanked at Auburn, 18-0, on May 15, 2010…All five of Tennessee’s hits were singles, just the third time this year it has been held without an extra-base hit…The five hits tie UT’s season-low which it set on Friday versus the Rebels…For the first time this year, Tennessee did not have a player with a multi-hit contest…The Vols did manage to add one stolen base to increase its SEC-leading total to 60…The Big Orange recorded its third straight errorless contest to finish off a perfect weekend defensively…UT now has nine errorless games this season…Tennessee used a total of seven pitchers…The run scored by Ole Miss in the second inning was just the second the Orange and White has allowed in that frame this year…Official game time was two hours, 49 minutes.
Matt Ramsey had a single to stretch his hitting streak to five games…Khayyan Norfork continue to pad his SEC-leading totals with his 42nd hit and 19th stolen base…Matt Duffy saw his hitting streak snapped at seven games and did not reach base for the first time in 24 games this season…Levi Dean suffered his first loss at Tennessee, falling to 4-1...Chris Pierce tallied his second outfield assist in two days and third of the season by throwing out a runner at third from right field to end the eighth inning…He also threw a runner out at the plate on Saturday.
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