KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- Tennessee managed just three hits off of Ole Miss starting pitcher Bobby Wahl as the 17th-ranked Rebels took the series opener from the Volunteers, 5-0, on Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
“Bobby Wahl was good, he wasn't great, he was good, and I don't want to take anything away from him, the guy just threw a three-hit shutout and his defense didn't help him a lot, but I'm a little confused on our lack of energy and urgency,” UT head coach Dave Serrano said. “We have a chance to come out and beat a good team on a Friday night, which we haven't done very often, and we just had no energy.
“I'll take some blame for that, I'm the head coach but I don't know if I'm the guy that has to get them motivated to play this sport and to put on a uniform and have a lot of pride to play. We kind of resorted back to early in the year when we were kind of passive and tentative and kind of wondering what was going to happen. That's what's disappointing. Like I said to them, we can't win enough to ever get bored of winning and I believe that.”
Wahl struck out eight and walked two in his complete-game effort to improve to 8-0 on the season. Freshman Aaron Quillen suffered the loss for the Big Orange after allowing three runs on eight hits in 4.0 innings.
Stuart Turner led the way for the Rebels offensively, going 3-for-5 with his fourth home run of the year while freshmen A.J. Simcox and Vincent Jackson had Tennessee’s only three hits on the evening, with Jackson finishing 2-for-4 with a single and a double
Some solid defense helped the Vols keep the game close in the early going as all three UT outfielders threw a Rebel runner out at the plate before the end of the fifth inning. Right fielder Pierce Bily and Jackson in left, gunned down runners to end the second and third innings, respectively before centerfielder Parker Wormsley cut a runner down at the plate for the second out in the top of the fifth.
The effort by that trio marked the first time Tennessee has recorded three outfield assists in a single game since it did so against Furman on April 27, 2005.
After Quillen put up a couple of zeroes to start the contest, Ole Miss got the scoring started in the third inning with an RBI double by Tanner Mathis. The Rebels tacked on two more in the following frame with run-scoring two-baggers doing the damage once again, this time by Preston Overbey and Christian Helsel.
Tennessee’s best scoring opportunity early in the game came in the bottom of the fourth as a walk and an Ole Miss error but runners on the corners with just one out. The Vols were unable to get the safety squeeze down however, and a strike-him out, throw-him out double play ended the inning.
After the Rebels made it a 4-0 game in the top of the seventh, the Orange and White put a pair of runners on in the home half of the stanza only to see a groundout to second leave them both stranded.
Turner hit a home run to left in the ninth inning for the final run of the game and Wahl retired six of the final seven batters he faced to end the contest.
The two teams will be back at it at 4 p.m. on Saturday following the Tennessee football team's DISH Orange & White game at 2 p.m. Junior RHP Nick Williams (2-2, 5.25) will start for the Vols while the Rebels will counter with junior RHP Mike Mayers (2-4, 2.98).
“I just told [the team that] tomorrow my expectation is that they show up with mentality,” Serrano said. “I think we're too far into the season for them to be challenged by their coach to show up with mentality. I mean, just putting on the uniform should get you pretty excited. I know when I squeeze into my uniform I get pretty excited to be part of this program and try to succeed so there's no reason why they shouldn't at their young age with the energy they should have.”