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.
It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. There was no shortage of observations surrounding the Homecoming festivities this weekend. Let's get into it:1. When "College GameDay" visits Baton Rouge,... read more
The winning formula revealed itself as it has throughout the season: a dominant defense and a mistake-free offense. The Ole Miss defense forced four turnovers, while the Ole Miss offense did not commit a single turnover in a workmanlike 34-3... read more
Three areas to watch as No. 3 Ole Miss faces Tennessee for Homecoming on Saturday.'Third Down for What'Tennessee is very dangerous, Ole Miss football head coach Hugh Freeze said, because its talented, particularly if it gets momentum and confidence during... read more
Highlights from today's media opportunity with SEC Nation host Joe Tessitore and analysts Tim Tebow and Marcus Spears discussing the show's visit to Oxford for the SEC matchup between No. 3 Ole Miss and Tennessee. Tessitore recalls calling the first college... read more
At the halfway point of the regular season, Ole Miss is 6-0 for the first time since 1962, when it went 10-0 and earned a share of the national title. It's No. 3 ranking in the national polls is its... read more
With a dominant defense that ranks among the nation's leaders in most statistical categories, head coach Hugh Freeze acknowledged he has changed his offensive philosophy and play-calling to limit negative plays and quick possessions. Ole Miss averaged the second-most offensive... read more
Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and Tennessee head coach Butch Jones on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's game in Oxford. For the full SEC teleconference, go here. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze (starts at... read more
Head coach Hugh Freeze admitted the offense played well enough to manage the game and let the defense win it. Ole Miss leaned on its running game, rushing for 160 yards on 35 carries, while Bo Wallace completed 13-of-19 passes... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewOct. 6-12, 2014Football- The No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels showed they belong among the nation's upper crust with a dominating 35-20 win at No. 14 Texas A&M on Saturday.- Ole Miss jumped out to a... read more
In this week's edition of Observations from the Best Seat in the House, Metz Camfield and I teamed up to give you our thoughts and opinions of the week that was in Ole Miss athletics. I was able to travel... read more