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.
Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and Alabama head coach Nick Saban on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's much-anticipated matchup. For the full SEC teleconference, go here. Alabama head coach Nick Saban (starts at 36:16 mark)... read more
Ole Miss has been held under 100 yards rushing in each of its last meetings with Alabama, a 33-14 loss in 2012 and a 25-0 loss in 2013. Running the ball effectively and finding a balance is one area, the... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 22-28, 2014Football- No. 10 Ole Miss used a dominant defensive effort to put away Memphis 24-3 on Saturday, setting up one of the biggest games in recent history this coming Saturday against the Alabama... read more
Tuesday 9/23 at 4PM
@CoachHughFreeze reveals the helmets to the @olemissfb team at team meeting. pic.twitter.com/8jpVCvny4p— OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) September 29, 2014 2.
Wed 9/24 at 4PM
@OleMissFB practice hidden indoors so that team practice in helmets for safety reasons. pic.twitter.com/vA0Oo6Ps7S— OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) September... read more
It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. I'll handle the bulk of the notes this week, but we also have some insight from Austin Miller here as well. Let's... read more
Seeking its first win over a top-10 team since 2009, Ole Miss took a 1-0 lead but fell short to No. 10 Texas A&M, 2-1, Sunday afternoon. "I'm really happy with the team's performance," head coach Matt Mott said. "I'm... read more
Wearing the lighter blue helmets for the first time since 1994 to honor the late Chucky Mullins, the Ole Miss defense also honored his memory with perhaps the most dominant defensive performance of the Hugh Freeze Era. "Chucky would have... read more
Three areas to watch as No. 10 Ole Miss faces Memphis Saturday. Battle of the Quarterbacks Ole Miss and Memphis have both gotten steady quarterback play, as both teams rank inside the top-15 nationally in scoring offense. Senior quarterback Bo... read more
Playing in their fourth overtime game of the season, the Ole Miss soccer team played Arkansas to a 1-1 double-overtime draw on Thursday night. The teams combined for 30 shots, including 13 on goal, but the game was characterized more... read more
Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's time on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of the Rebels' matchup with Memphis on Saturday (6:30 p.m. CT, Fox Sports Net). Freeze's time on the call begins at the 1:21:20 mark. For... read more
Memphis is 2-1 heading into Saturday's matchup with wins over Austin Peay (63-0) and Middle Tennessee (36-17) and a 42-35 loss at No. 11 UCLA. The Tigers scored two early fourth-quarter touchdowns to tie the Bruins at 35-35 with 13:44... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 15-21, 2014Volleyball- Ole Miss went 4-0 to capture the Rebel Classic and improve to 14-0 on the season.- Through four weeks of the season, the Rebels have equaled last year's win total (14-17).- Sophomore... read more