Courtesy / UT Athletics


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 7/8 Tennessee burst out of the gates with eight runs over the first three innings and never looked back in a dominant 15-3 run-rule victory to open its weekend series against No. 17 Ole Miss on a rainy Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The Volunteers (20-3, 2-2 SEC) added two more runs in the fourth to take a 10-0 lead before the Rebels scored their first runs in the top of the fifth. The Big Orange blasted five home runs and finished with 13 hits on the night.

Christian Moore led the charge from the leadoff spot with a pair of solo bombs and two runs scored, marking his fourth career multi-homer game.

The duo of Kavares Tears and Robin Villeneuve did major damage in the middle of the order, combining for six hits, seven runs scored and  six RBIs in the game. Tears set a new career high with four runs scored and also tied his career best with three base knocks to go along with two RBIs and one of UT’s five long balls.

Villeneuve continued his emergence at the plate with a career-high three hits while tying career bests with three runs scored and four RBIs, three of which came on his fifth home run of the year.

Dean Curley added to his home run total as well with a three-run blast to put the Vols ahead 4-0 in the second inning, marking his seventh round tripper this season.

AJ Causey put together another winning performance on the mound to improve to 5-0 on the year. The junior righthander struck out six and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits in 5.2 innings.

Lefty relievers Kirby Connell and Chris Stamos both pitched 0.2 scoreless frames apiece to close out the victory.

Andrew Fischer and Will Furniss had two hits each for Ole Miss (16-7, 2-2 SEC) while Brayden Randle hit his first-career home run to drive in two of the Rebels’ three runs.

Starting pitcher Gunnar Dennis had a rough outing, surrendering 10 runs on nine hits and two walks in just 3.2 innings pitched to suffer his first loss of the year and fall to 3-1.

UP NEXT: Tennessee and Ole Miss will square off again on Saturday night at 6 p.m. on the SEC Network+ and the ESPN app.

STAT OF THE GAME: The Vols continued their impressive power display with five more home runs on Friday night, marking the third time this season they have hit five in a game and the eighth time that they’ve hit four or more.

Moore became the fourth UT player to have a multi-homer game this season, joining Curley (three vs. Kansas State on March 5), Billy Amick (two vs. Bowling Green on March 1) and Blake Burke (two vs. Bowling Green on March 2).


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