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.
On the transition as new hitting coach: The transition has been really good. The coaching staff has made it a lot easier on me than what it could be. It's definitely been a whirlwind. On what he knew about Ole... read more
UPDATE: Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.Here are more of Coach Freeze's interviews in Bristol. Scroll down to the earlier post to hear him on Ivan Maisel's podcast. Listen: Freeze on the Paul Finebaum Show Listen: Freeze on the Freddie Coleman ShowListen:... read more
All 14 Southeastern Conference football coaches will travel to ESPN's annual mid-summer football coaches "car wash" - in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day - at ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters on Monday and Tuesday. Ole... read more
Ole Miss took its turn at the annual SEC Media Days on Thursday. Joining head coach Hugh Freeze was senior quarterback Bo Wallace, junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and senior safety Cody Prewitt. Here are a few related SEC Media... read more
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said on day one that his expectations were to make the program relevant in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. With a full allotment of 85 scholarship players and more depth of both sides of... read more
Once overshadowed, Wallace now finds himself more firmly in the spotlight after the departure of seven of the league's eight top passers. The dean of SEC quarterbacks, Wallace is the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing... read more
Before taking his turn at the podium in the main room at SEC Media Days on Thursday, head coach Hugh Freeze met with members of the Ole Miss local media and addressed a wide variety of topics. Here are some... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Three of SEC Media Days, which featured Steve Shaw (SEC), Justin Connolly (ESPN),... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Two of SEC Media Days, which featured South Carolina, Mississippi State, Texas A&M... read more
NFL.com CFB 24/7 has counted down the 14 college football players to watch -- and some other college football topics -- in varying categories in 2014. Below are the highlights for Ole Miss and the link to the complete 14... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day 1 of SEC Media Days, which featured SEC commissioner Mike Slive, Auburn, Florida... read more
Former Ole Miss player Zack Cozart, now a member of the Cincinnati Reds, was named the best defensive shortstop in baseball for the first half of the 2014 season. ESPN Insider Scott Spratt selected one player from either league at... read more
The Season: Ole Miss Baseball: Omaha Bound from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 1: Regionals from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 2: Super Regionals from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 3: CWS Games 1 & 2... read more
Three student-athletes and the head coach of each of the 14 Southeastern Conference football programs will participate in SEC Football Media Days, July 14-17, at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala.Ole Miss will take its... read more