May 25, 2007
HOOVER, Ala. -- A five-run first inning by Ole Miss proved to be all the Rebels needed Thursday while downing the Tennessee baseball team 6-3 on Day 2 of the SEC Tournament at Regions Park. The eighth-seeded Volunteers never recovered from the Rebels' early offensive outburst, falling to 34-24 on the year and dropping into the loser's bracket. The Big Orange now face a Friday rematch with top-seeded and nationally No. 1-ranked Vanderbilt at 6:30 p.m. CT.
Tennessee defeated the Commodores 6-4 in the opening game of the tournament for both teams Wednesday. Friday's rematch will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net South. The Vols will send freshman left-hander Nick Hernandez (4-3, 5.68 ERA) to the mound.
A three-run homer by UT second baseman Tony Delmonico in the top of the sixth provided Tennessee's only offense Thursday. It was Delmonico's second blast in as many games, and his team-leading ninth of the season.
Ole Miss (37-21) had the bats working early Thursday, pounding out four first-inning hits while building a quick 5-0 lead. Vols starting pitcher Craig Cobb (8-6) was chased from the game after the Rebels had scored four runs with two more runners on base and just one out. Sophomore Lance McClain made the earliest relief appearance for a UT hurler this season, taking the mound for his first career postseason outing.
McClain effectively slowed the Rebels' offense and delivered one of his finest performances of the season. The lefty allowed just one run on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts through 7 2/3 innings.
The Rebels used two basehits and a hit batsman to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the fourth, and an RBI sacrifice fly by Ole Miss second baseman Zach Miller increased Tennessee's deficit to six runs.
Tennessee left fielder Shawn Griffin tripled to lead off the top of the fifth, recording his second three-bagger of the tournament and his fourth of the year. The Vols' brightest scoring opportunity to that point was shortlived, however. Tennessee right fielder Chad Maddox hit a sharp come-backer to Ole Miss pitcher Lance Lynn during the next at-bat, and Lynn caught Griffin in a rundown between third and home.
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco was ejected by home plate umpire Jeff Head in the bottom of the seventh, and a one-out single by UT third baseman Andy Simunic on the same at-bat moved shortstop Danny Lima to third base. That brought Vols centerfielder Julio Borbon - representing the potential game-tying run - to the plate. Lynn got Borbon to strike out, but Simunic stole second base on strike three to give Tennessee two men in scoring position for All-America catcher J.P. Arencibia. The Rebels intentionally walked Arencibia, loading the bases with two outs for Freshman All-SEC first baseman Yan Gomes. But Lynn induced a deep flyball to center that preserved the Rebels' three-run lead.
Tennessee failed to materialize another legitimate threat on the night, as Rebels reliever Cody Satterwhite was perfect through the final two innings. He notched his fourth save of the year, while Lynn pushed his record to 7-4 with a strong, seven-inning night.