OXFORD, Miss. –R.J. Hively led a solid pitching performance from the Rebels as No. 24 Ole Miss (34-18, 14-13 SEC) defeated Tennessee (24-27, 8-19 SEC) by a score of 4-2 on Sunday to sweep the weekend series with the Volunteers.
The sweep was the first of the season for the Rebels in Southeastern Conference play and closed out the home portion of the regular season for Ole Miss. The Rebels will close out the regular season on the road this week with four games, including a Tuesday night contest at Arkansas State and a three-game series at Vanderbilt starting on Thursday night.
Hively (5-4) picked up the win for the Rebels, allowing two unearned runs on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work. Aaron Greenwood then worked 3.2 hitless with a walk and four strikeouts to hold Tennessee in check before Brett Huber would pick up his ninth save of the season with the final out of the game.
Hively factored into two of the three wins on the weekend, picking up a save on Friday night before taking the win in a start on Sunday. Huber moved into sole possession of second all-time in saves at Ole Miss with the save on the Sunday and now has 25 for his carerer. He needs one more save to tie three-time All-American Stephen Head atop the saves list at Ole Miss.
“It’s good to finish out the weekend,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “It was not a game we played very well defensively, nor did they. It was just a tough day to play baseball. We didn’t have very good conditions. We gutted it out. R.J. (Hively) gave us a boost early. He put up some zeros. We only gave up two runs. Both of which were unearned. It was a tough day offensively. We struggled all day but we did enough to win the game.”
Tennessee capitalized on a pair of Rebel errors in the first inning to push a run home, but Ole Miss limited the damage to one run with a strikeout following an RBI double from Chris Fritts that put Tennessee on the board.
The Rebels used a pair of Tennessee errors in the bottom half of the inning to get a run across and tie the game after the first Ole Miss two batters reached on errors. A sac fly to center field from Will Allen with the bases loaded scored Tanner Mathis from third and the score was tied at one.
Ole Miss added two more runs in the second inning to grab the lead. Auston Bousfield opened the inning with a triple to right field before coming home a single from Preston Overbey. A sac bunt from Austin Anderson moved Overbey to second and he took third on a groundout to second from Mathis. Andrew Mistone then singled up the middle to score Overbey and Ole Miss held the 3-1 lead.
Tennessee cut the lead to one in the fifth when a third Rebel error allowed Zach Luther to score from third. Luther reached on a walk and moved to second on a single from Will Maddox. A double steal put both runners in scoring position before a throwing error with two outs allowed him to score and cut the lead to 3-2.
Ole Miss would get out of the inning, catching Maddox in a rundown as he attempted to steal home.
A single run in the seventh pushed the lead back out to two runs as Mistone scored on a second sac fly from Allen to make it 4-2. That score would hold until the end as the Rebel bullpen held Tennessee at bay the rest of the way.
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