KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Errors and miscues proved to be the undoing of the Rebels on Saturday as Ole Miss (17-7, 2-3 SEC) fell to Tennessee (18-5, 2-3 SEC) by a score of 6-4 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Alex Yarbrough hit his second home run of the weekend, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI to help pace a Rebel squad that notched nine hits, but committed four errors in the loss.
David Goforth (0-4) took the loss for the Rebels as he allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work.
Nick Williams (1-1) picked up the win in relief for the Vols, working 2.0 innings and allowing one run on one hit with five strikeouts.
"It was a tough game today," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "We struggled early and made it really hard on David Goforth today. We made him work hard and he had to keep working out of jams against a very good Tennessee club. They are a tough team to strike out and they put the ball in play. We didn't execute like we needed to today."
Ole Miss got on the board in the first inning when Tanner Mathis scored from third on a wild pitch to Matt Tracy. Mathis reached on an infield single before taking second on a sac bunt from Blake Newalu. He then advanced to third on a foul fly to right before scoring on the errant pitch to give the Rebels the 1-0 lead.
Tennessee took the lead in the third inning, pushing two runs across with aggressive base running. Chris Pierce opened with a single before stealing second. He took third on a wild pitch and then scored on a single up the middle from Khayyan Norfork. Norfork then moved to second on a walk of Andrew Toles before scoring on a single through the right side from Matt Duffy.
The Rebels tied things in the fifth when Taylor Hightower scored from third on a sac fly to center from Mathis. Hightower opened the inning with a triple to right center before scoring on the Mathis flyout. A double play ended the Rebel rally, however, with the game tied at two.
A pair of errors spelled trouble for the Rebels in the fifth inning as the Vols took the lead with another run scored. A fielding error and a walk put two men on with one out before a throwing error on a sac bunt attempt allowed a run to score and put men at second and third. A walk loaded the bases, but the Rebels got a pair of groundouts to end the inning with Tennessee holding a 3-2 lead.
Ole Miss got the run back in the top of the sixth when Alex Yarbrough scored on a groundout to second from pinch-hitting Jordan King. Yarbrough opened the inning with a triple to center field before scoring on the King grounder and tied the game at three.
Tennessee moved back in front in the seventh when Josh Liles came up with a two-RBI single to center and no outs on the board. Back-to-back singles from Andrew Toles and Matt Duffy opened the inning before both runners advanced on a double-steal to get into scoring position for the Liles hit. Ole Miss then turned to the pen for Eric Callender.
With one out on the board, an infield single put men at the corners before a passed ball got a third run home in the inning to give Tennessee a 6-3 lead.
Alex Yarbrough cut the lead back to two runs with a solo shot over the scoreboard in right field to open the eighth inning for the Rebels. It was the second home run of the weekend for the sophomore second baseman. Ole Miss could get nothing more, however, as the Vols shut down the Rebel rally in the eighth and held off an Ole Miss rally in the ninth to claim the win.
The two teams will play the deciding game of the series at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday in a game televised by SportSouth.
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