#7 Vols Fall in Back-and-Forth Affair Against #17 Rebels
Courtesy / UT Athletics

#7 Vols Fall in Back-and-Forth Affair Against #17 Rebels

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 7/8 Tennessee came up short in a back-and-forth battle against No. 17 Ole Miss on Saturday night, falling 8-5 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The Big Orange battled back to take a late 5-4 lead into the ninth inning after tying the game at four with two runs in the seventh before pulling ahead with a Blake Burke RBI single in the bottom of the eighth. However, the Rebels responded with four runs in the top of the ninth to come away with the win and even the series.

Hunter Ensley was the only UT player to record multiple hits on the night, finishing 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double and a two-run homer to give the Vols a 2-1 lead in the second inning.

The major reason for Tennessee’s offensive struggles was the stellar pitching from Rebels’ starter Liam Doyle. Ensley’s second-inning home run was the only blemish for the sophomore lefty until he was chased in the seventh inning after allowing two hits and two runs in the frame. Entering the seventh, Doyle had retired 12 consecutive batters and allowed just one hit.

Drew Beam put together another solid outing for the Vols, allowing three earned runs on six hits in 5.1 innings before handing the ball off to AJ Russell.

The sophomore righthander allowed just two hits but ended up giving up four runs after issuing six walks (one intentional walk) in three innings of relief.

Mason Nichols got the win for Ole Miss to improve to 3-0 after tossing 1.1 scoreless innings with four strikeouts. After the Vols battled to bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth, Connor Spencer recorded a strikeout to end of the game and earn his fifth save of the year.

Andrew Fischer and Ethan Groff both had two hits and two RBIs to lead Ole Miss at the plate while Brayden Randle homered for the second straight game.

UP NEXT: The Vols (20-4, 2-3 SEC) and Rebels (17-7, 3-2 SEC) will play for the series in Sunday’s rubber game. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app.

STAT OF THE GAME: With 5.1 innings pitched on Saturday night, Beam has now tossed at least five innings in all six of his starts this season.

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