OXFORD, Miss. - Senior first baseman Matt Snyder saved the best for last, belting out a three-run home run in the bottom of the 11th on senior day to give No. 24 Ole Miss (32-18, 13-13 SEC) a 7-4 win over Tennessee (24-26, 8-18 SEC) and clinched the weekend series.
It was the first walk-off home run for Snyder in his career and marked his 12th of the season - the 10th in Southeastern Conference play this year for the left-handed hitter.
It took a big hit from a freshman to set up the game-winning hit for the senior, as Sikes Orvis came up with a two-run home run as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and set up the extra-inning win for the Rebels.
With the win, the Rebels have clinched a berth in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Brett Huber (2-2) picked up the win in relief, working the final two innings of play and allowing one hit with a walk and a strikeout. Huber entered the game in relief of Tanner Bailey who worked 5.0 innings in relief himself and allowed one run on one hit with a walk and eight strikeouts.
Drew Steckenrider (4-6) suffered the loss in relief, allowing five runs on three hits with five walks and three strikeouts over the final 4.1 innings.
"We played a great game," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "I'm proud of our guys. We didn't play very well starting off. Obviously it was a tough day for Mike Mayers. He didn't have his best stuff today. He had some trouble locating all of his pitches. But, he hung in there. Then Tanner (Bailey) came in and was tremendous. He put up a lot of zeros. Finally, we got things going offensively with a huge homerun from Sikes Orvis and the big three-run home run from Matt (Snyder) in the 11th to win it."
Tennessee struck first, turning a Zach Osborne walk into a run with a single that moved Osborne from first to third and a sac fly from Steckenrider to go up 1-0 in the first inning.
The Vols added single runs in the third and fourth inning to move out to a 3-0 lead on the Rebels as Tennessee starter Nick Williams held Ole Miss off the board through six innings.
The Rebels responded in the seventh, pushing a pair of runs home to cut the lead to one. Auston Bousfield drew a lead-off walk and moved to third on a single through the right side from Austin Anderson and moved to second on the throw to put two men in scoring position. Will Jamison then came up with an infield single to score Bousfield and move Anderson to third, and the Rebels were on the board.
Tanner Mathis then ground out to second to score Anderson and Ole Miss trailed 3-2 before Tennessee got out of the inning.
The Volunteers added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Ethan Bennett homered down the left field line with a shot that hit off the foul pole to give Tennessee the 4-2 lead.
The Rebels weren't done, however, as Anderson opened the bottom of the ninth with a single through the right side and Orvis hit his two-run shot into the bullpen in right field to tie the game. The Rebels would go on to load the bases, but Tennessee got out of the inning with no more damage and the game moved into extra frames.
Mathis drew a lead-off walk in the 11th before a sac bunt from Andrew Mistone moved him to second. The Volunteers then elected to intentionally walk Alex Yarbrough for the second time on the night to bring Snyder to the plate. The senior first baseman then hit his tower shot to right field to give Ole Miss the 7-4 win and the series.
The Rebels and Tennessee will play the final game of the series at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
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