KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Junior right-hander Bobby Wahl threw a complete-game shutout of Tennessee (17-19, 5-11 SEC) on Friday night as No. 17 Ole Miss (27-12, 8-8 SEC) opened the weekend series with a 5-0 win over the Volunteers.
Wahl (8-0) allowed three hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in picking up the win. It was the first complete-game of Wahl’s career with the Rebels. It’s the second shutout win of the season for Wahl and fifth of his career.
The Rebel offense also got on track with 14 hits on the night behind a 3-for-3 performance from Christian Helsel and a 3-for-5 night from Stuart Turner that included a solo home run, his fourth of the season.
Aaron Quillen (1-2) took the loss for the Volunteers, allowing three runs on eight hits with a strikeout in 4.0 innings of work.
“Bobby was tremendous for us tonight and really continued to do what he’s done all year,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We came out tonight with a goal of not being tentative in any phase of the game, but especially at the plate. You can’t sit back and wait for something to happen, and we did a good job of being the aggressors tonight. This is the SEC, though, and we can’t enjoy a win for long because we have to be ready to come out and play again tomorrow.”
Ole Miss got on the board in the third inning when Tanner Mathis doubled to left center to bring in Helsel from second. Helsel opened the inning with a single up the middle before he was moved to second on a sac bunt from Will Jamison to set up the score on the Mathis hit. The Rebels would get nothing more out of the inning as the Tennessee defense made a nice throw to the plate to get the final out as Mathis tried to score on a two-out single through the left side from Turner.
The Rebels continued to build on the lead in the fourth with another RBI double, this one from Preston Overbey, to bring home Sikes Orvis from first. Orvis opened things with a single to center before Overbey would come up with the one-out double to take the lead out to 2-0. Helsel then came up with an RBI double to left to bring home Overbey and push the Rebel advantage to three runs.
Tennessee responded in the bottom of the inning, taking advantage of a fielding error at short with one out to put men at the corners and set up a rally. The Rebels answered in kind, however, turning a double play with a strikeout and a throw out on a steal attempt to end the inning and maintain the 3-0 lead.
Ole Miss continued to build on the lead with single runs in the seventh and the ninth innings to take the lead out to 5-0 over the Volunteers.
The Rebels’ fourth run of the game came in the seventh when Mathis scored on a fielding error in left on a single from Andrew Mistone. Mathis reached on a single to start the inning before the Mistone hit and fielding error allowed him to come home.
The fifth run of the game came on a solo shot to left field from Turner with two outs. Turner took the 0-1 offering deep over the wall in left to provide the five-run cushion for the Rebels. That five-run cushion also proved to be the final margin of victory.
Ole Miss and Tennessee will take the field for game two of the weekend series at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
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