KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Matt Crouse tossed his second complete game in the last three weeks on Friday, holding the Volunteers to one run as Ole Miss (17-6, 2-2 SEC) defeated Tennessee (17-5, 1-3 SEC) by a score of 6-1 to claim the series opener.
Crouse (6-0) scattered five hits over nine innings and struck out six batters with two walks as he helped lead the Rebels to the win.
Steven Gruver (3-2) suffered the loss for the Vols as he allowed five runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work.
The offense was efficient for the Rebels, as Alex Yarbrough went 2-for-4 at the plate with a two-run home run and Matt Smith hit his fourth home run of the season to get things started. Yarbrough was one of three Rebels with multiple hits, as Tanner Mathis and Taylor Hightower also notched two hits each.
"Matt Crouse was really sharp out there tonight," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "He was able to throw all three of his pitches for strikes against an aggressive and good Tennessee team that really swings the bat. He kept them off balance.
"There was a great play by Mathis there defensively at the end," Bianco said. "When we're able to play defense like that it makes things a little easier."
Ole Miss struck first, putting a run on the board in the fourth inning when Smith opened the frame with a solo shot to left field to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead.
The Rebels extended the lead in the sixth inning, moving out 4-0 in front of the Volunteers. Matt Smith was it by a pitch to reach base and stole second before scoring on a single to left from Matt Tracy. Alex Yarbrough then hit his first home run of the season, sending the ball over the wall in left field to give Ole Miss the four-run lead.
Tennessee got on the board in the seventh, using a solo shot to left center from Matt Duffy to break a string of 23.0 consecutive scoreless innings pitched for Crouse and get the Vols on the board.
Ole Miss got a fifth run home in the eighth inning when Mathis scored from third on a wild pitch. Mathis doubled to open the inning and took third on a sac bunt from Blake Newalu. He then scored on the first pitch to Matt Smith as it bounced in front of the plate and got away from the catcher to give the Rebels the 5-1 lead.
The Rebels added to the lead in the ninth, pushing a sixth run home when Jordan King scored on a groundout to second from Mathis. King walked to open the inning and moved to third on a single to right from Hightower to set up the score on the Mathis groundout.
The defense was solid in the ninth for the Rebels as the leadoff man reached on a single. A double play put two outs on the board as Khayyan Norfork flew out to the wall in left field. Mathis threw in to Yarbrough who slung the ball to first ahead of the runner going back to the base for the double play.
A walk and a double put two men in scoring position after that for Tennessee, but Crouse got Josh Liles to fly out to right to end the game with the Rebels claiming the 6-1 win.
Ole Miss and Tennessee return to action at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday for the second game of the series. The game will be televised by SportSouth.
The return of junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and additions of sophomore Fadol Brown and freshman Marquis Haynes have changed the face of the defensive line, but freshman All-American Robert Nkemdiche remains front and center. With a season of experience... read more
The dean of Southeastern Conferences quarterbacks and the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing touchdowns, senior Bo Wallace is as healthy and confident as ever, and he's also assumed a more vocal leadership role on the... read more
We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.In case you missed it, "Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss" from earlier this year: Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze confirmed that junior cornerback Carlos Davis suffered a torn ACL and will likely have surgery Monday. Davis joins sophomore cornerback Tee Shepard and junior safety Chief Brown on the list of players expected to miss... read more
The launch of the SEC Network shows the growth and vision of the 14 schools in the conference. #OleMiss-- Coach Alex (@apsimms2) August 15, 2014 That was fun! And the @SECNetwork is only getting started. #SECStoried finished strong. Great... read more
Tonight is the night!! #SECNetworkLaunch pic.twitter.com/73UYs8B0Hg-- SEC Network (@SECNetwork) August 14, 2014 Historic day for SEC & #OleMiss as we celebrate the launch of the @SECNetwork at 5pm CST! Congrats to everyone who made it happen!-- Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) August... read more
The center and right tackle position battles have been two of the biggest story lines of fall camp, but as the Rebels prepped for their second preseason scrimmage Wednesday night, they are closer to solidifying the depth chart along the... read more
"Buy-in" is a common term thrown around by coaches. How will first-year Ole Miss head volleyball coach Steven McRoberts measure buy-in, as the team continues its preseason work for the upcoming season? Attitude and effort. "If we bring those two... read more
The Ole Miss men's basketball team wrapped up its Bahamian exhibition tour with a perfect 2-0 record. Head coach Andy Kennedy recapped the trip, talked about the chemistry, depth and experience of a new-look roster heading into the fall. The... read more
Sophomore defensive end Fadol Brown and sophomore cornerback Kailo Moore returned from their respective injuries, while sophomore Tee Shepard remains out with a toe injury. The results from Shepard's MRI performed on Saturday are being sent to Birmingham, head coach... read more
The SEC Network will debut on Thursday, August 14 with a three-hour SEC Now that will visit every SEC school and the 21 sports within the SEC. The first two weeks of the network will also feature customized programming to... read more
Ole Miss continues its preparations for the the 2014 season with the second full week of fall camp starting Monday. Here's a look back at the first full week of fall camp with some observations and takeaways, as well as... read more