OXFORD, Miss. (UT release) -- Tennessee took a two-run lead into the bottom of the ninth, but a two-run pinch-hit home run by Sikes Orvis tied the game and a three-run shot by Matt Snyder in the 11th inning ended it as No. 24 Ole Miss defeated Tennessee, 7-4, on Saturday afternoon at Swayze Field.
"That was a tough one," UT head coach Dave Serrano said. "It's kind of the script of the difference between not being successful and being successful. When they had to get it done, they got it done. We were givers again today. When you are playing the kind of baseball we are, you just can't give teams that much and they capitalized. You have to tip your cap to them, they came through when they had to and that's why the scoreboard says what it does."
The Vols managed just one hit in five innings against Ole Miss relief pitcher Tanner Bailey, but it was a big one as Ethan Bennett blasted a ninth-inning home run off the left-field foul pole.
That shot put Tennessee up 4-2 going into the bottom of the ninth but a leadoff single and Orvis' two-run home run tied the game up in a hurry in the home half of the inning. The Rebels quickly loaded the bases with just one out after his blast but Drew Steckenrider buckled down to get two straight strikeouts to leave the three runners stranded.
After a scoreless 10th inning, a pair of walks put two on for Snyder who deposited an 0-1 offering from Steckenrider over the wall in right to give the Rebels a walk-off win.
The Vols never trailed until the game was over as Steckenrider fell to 4-6 on the year with the loss after yielding five runs on three hits over 4.1 innings of work. Tennessee got six strong innings from sophomore starting pitcher Nick Williams, who allowed just two runs on six hits.
It was Williams' second straight quality start after he went 8.2 frames against Vanderbilt last Friday. He did not allow a runner into scoring position until the fifth inning against the Rebels and had a string of 13.0 consecutive scoreless innings until Ole Miss broke through in the seventh inning on Saturday.
Another Farragut product, Ethan Bennett led the way at the plate for Tennessee. He was 2-for-5 with the ninth-inning home run, his fourth of the season, and an 11th-inning double.
Senior Davis Morgan had a single to extend his current hitting streak to nine games, the longest by a Vol this season, while fellow classmate Zach Osborne moved into a tie for 10th all-time in Tennessee history with his 221st career hit, a leadoff double in the fifth inning. He also had a walk and scored a run in the contest.
The Vols got the scoring started quickly on Saturday, using a one-out walk by Osborne, the single by Morgan and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Steckenrider to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
After a scoreless second, Tennessee tacked on another tally in the third inning as Will Maddox manufactured a run all by himself. After lining a one-out single to center, he promptly stole both second and third before taking advantage of a passed ball to make it 2-0 Big Orange.
With Williams working quickly on the mound, UT added another run to its total in the fourth frame as Chris Fritts roped a one-out triple to the corner in right before coming home to score two batters later on an RBI single by Chris Pierce.
The Vols left runners stranded at third in both the fifth and sixth innings before Ole Miss finally got to Williams in the bottom of the seventh. The Rebels used a leadoff walk and back-to-back singles to get on the scoreboard and knock Williams out of the game before Tanner Mathis greeted Steckenrider with an RBI groundout to cut the UT lead to one at 3-2.
A scoreless eighth inning ensued to set up Bennett's ninth inning blast, as well as Ole Miss' game-tying and game-winning home runs.
Tennessee will look to salvage a win in the series when it closes out its stay in Oxford with a 1:30 p.m. CT tilt on Sunday.
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