Ole Miss’ Austin Wright turned in a solid performance on the mound Sunday and the offense kicked into gear as Rebels shut out Tennessee 8-0 to claim the three-game series. Ole Miss (18-7 overall, 3-3 in the Southeastern Conference) defeated the Volunteers 6-1 on Friday night. Tennessee (18-6, 2-4 SEC) claimed Saturday’s game 6-4.
Wright (3-2) worked 8.0 innings Sunday, striking out eight and walking one while limiting Tennessee to four hits in his time on the mound.
Levi Dean (4-1) took his first loss of the season as he allowed three runs on six hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Four Rebels recorded multiple hits on the afternoon, led by three-hit performances from Tanner Mathis, Blake Newalu and Miles Hamblin. Preston Overbey was 2-for-5 as Ole Miss tallied 14 hits in the outing.
“Austin Wright was terrific today,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “He attacked the zone and was very aggressive. You always want to score first. When Tennessee gets ahead first they put some pressure on you. We were able to get the lead and kept getting hits and putting runs on the board.
“It was good to go on the road and win a series,” Bianco said. “It’s tough to win on the road in the SEC. It was also nice to see us respond to a Saturday loss with a win and come back to win the series.”
The Rebels got on the board in the first inning when Mathis scored on a groundball to second from Matt Tracy with the bases loaded. Tennessee turned a double play on the grounder, but the Rebels got the run home and moved Newalu to third. Newalu scored a batter later when Alex Yarbrough came up with a single up the middle to give the Rebels a 2-0 lead.
Ole Miss added to the lead when Hamblin hit a solo shot to right center in the second inning to move the edge out to 3-0.
The Rebels continued to build on the lead in the seventh inning when Mathis came up with an RBI single to left to score Hamblin and put runners at the corners with no outs. Ole Miss plated a fifth run a batter later when Newalu hit a soft single to the left of the mound to push pinch runner Jordan King home and keep two men on base for the Rebels.
Ole Miss added two more runs in the eighth when King came up with a bases loaded fly out. The second run came home on a single to right center from Matt Smith to put the Rebels on top 7-0 before Tennessee would get out of the inning.
The eighth run crossed the plate in the ninth when Yarbrough scored on a single up the middle from Overbey to give the Rebels the 8-0 lead.
Ole Miss will return to action on Wednesday with a mid-week contest at Southern Miss. The game will begin at 6 p.m. The Rebels will then continue to play on the road with a three-game series at LSU next weekend. (March 28, 2011, Page 1B)