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No. 8 Ole Miss Drops SEC Opener, 3-2

The No. 8 Ole Miss baseball team dropped a tight 3-2 battle to the University of Tennessee Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, kicking off Southeastern Conference play. The Volunteers (12-5, 1-0 SEC) used timely hitting, scoring all three runs with two outs, to end the Rebels’ (17-2, 0-1 SEC) 12-game winning streak.

Tennessee scored two runs in the sixth before a pair of hits in the ninth led to the game’s final run. Derek Lance singled to center for the game-winning hit off Ole Miss closer Wyatt Short (1-1).

Junior J.B. Woodman went 2-for-3, hitting his team-leading fourth home run of the season and scoring the only two runs for the Rebels. Designated hitter Michael Fitzsimmons also recorded a pair of hits, and Colby Bortles drew three walks throughout the night.

Starting pitcher Brady Bramlett was outstanding in the no decision. The redshirt junior struck out nine in 5.2 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits. David Parkinson and Will Stokes combined for two scoreless innings of relief. Rebel pitching combined for 14 strikeouts, tying a season high.

Tennessee starter Zach Warren was solid as well, giving up just one run on four hits and three walks. Jon Lipinski (1-0) pitched the final 2.2 innings and collected the win despite giving up the homer to Woodman.

The SEC opener started out as a pitcher’s duel between Bramlett and Warren. Warren retired the first nine batters to complete a perfect three innings. Meanwhile, Bramlett was nearly as efficient. The Rebel starter struck out six batters and surrendered just one hit through the first three innings. The battle of the aces kept the game scoreless early.

In the fourth, the Rebels finally broke through to score the game’s first run. Woodman lined a one-out single to right for the Rebels’ first hit of the contest. Will Golsan followed by ripping a double over the right fielder’s head to put two in scoring position with one out. After a Bortles walk loaded the bases, Tate Blackman hit a flyball deep enough to advance all runners and plate Woodman. Returning to the hill with the lead, Bramlett struck out a pair of Volunteers to retire the side and keep Ole Miss in front 1-0 through four innings of play.

Bramlett cruised into the sixth, retiring nine straight hitters before Tennessee started a two-out rally to take the lead. Three straight hits and an error in right field led to a pair of Volunteer runs. With UT on top, Parkinson relieved Bramlett and chalked up a strikeout to end the inning. However, the damage was done and Tennessee took its first lead of the contest, 2-1.

Woodman tied the game up with a solo blast in the eighth. The junior outfielder belted a no doubter to right field that led to a huge cheer from the Rebel fans in attendance. In the bottom half of the inning, Short entered the game with two outs and one on, getting the big out to keep the game squared at two runs apiece.

Short came back out for the ninth and struck out the first two hitters. Max Bartlett kept the inning alive with a double to left, and Lance brought his teammate around to score. The two-out rally gave Tennessee the first game of the weekend conference series.

Ole Miss will look to even the series tomorrow as junior Chad Smith takes the hill. First pitch from Knoxville is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT. Fans can watch the game on SECN+ or listen to the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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