ROCKY STOP!

Things just keep getting better and better for the 2006 Diamond Rebs. A week after sweeping LSU, No. 22 Ole Miss rolled to another crucial conference victory after a 21-13 spanking of the Tennessee Volunteers. With the win, Ole Miss improves to 29-15 on the year and moves up to second in the overall conference standings. The Rebels will look to sweep the Vols tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. CST.

Baseball sure is a funny game. It certainly was here Saturday afternoon, when the Ole Miss Rebels outscored the Tennessee Volunteers 21-13 in a game that looked more like a church-league softball game than an SEC baseball matchup – er, was it church-league whiffleball?

A day removed from their dominating 13-5 win Friday night over the visiting Volunteers, the Rebels proved victorious in a four-hour marathon that featured 40 hits, 34 runs, four errors, and an ejected coach. The game's 4,118 spectators can attest that pitching was in short supply. All seven pitchers who entered the contest had at least one run scored off him.

But sometimes baseball works like that. As it turns out, when all was said and done here Saturday afternoon amidst a myriad of smiles among Ole Miss players and coaches, the Rebels had done what they needed to do. They got a crucial series win at home and stayed near the top of the SEC standings against a dangerous Tennessee team.

But it wasn't all easy. The Rebels got off to a slow start, relatively speaking, before erupting for 17 runs in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. No, that's not a misprint. Seventeen runs in a three-inning stretch. Before the game Saturday, Ole Miss's season-high for runs scored occurred in a 14-2 series-opening victory against Auburn.

"This was one of those days that just happens in baseball," said sixth-year head coach Mike Bianco. "A couple of weeks ago we were in back-to-back 1-0 games, then today the losing team has 19 hits and 13 runs. Today was just an unusual day.

"Offensively, we are hitting throughout the lineup, and that's an impressive thing," Bianco added. "But it was a tough day for all the pitchers. Anytime you can keep them from scoring on a day like this may be the game-winner. Everything contributes."

It was obvious early on that Ole Miss's Saturday starter Brett Bukvich didn't have his best stuff. Tennessee struck for two runs in the top of the first inning and three runs in the top of the second to take an early lead.

The Volunteers started their rally with a one-out double from shortstop Tony Delmonico – who finished the day 4 for 5 with three runs scored, five RBI, and a homerun – to start their rally. Tennessee then got three straight two-out singles from the middle of the lineup to grab a 2-0 lead.

The Rebels, however, were quick to answer. C.J. Ketchum singled up the middle, and Chris Coghlan rifled a double to left-center field to put runners on second and third with one out. After Zack Cozart struck out, Alex Presley laced a two-RBI single up the middle to tie the score 2-2.

The Vols came back with three in the top of the second to retake the lead. Third baseman Cody Brown and leftfielder Jarred Frazier led off the inning with singles, and Delmonico continued his big day at the plate with a three-run homerun to score Brown and Frazier and give Tennessee a 5-2 lead.

The Rebels chipped away at the lead with lone runs in the bottom of the second and the third innings to trim the lead to 5-4.

But Tennessee responded. Jarred Frazier led off the fourth with a single, Vol centerfielder Julio Borbon advanced Frazier to second with a sacrifice bunt, and Delmonico's fourth RBI of the day on a single through the left side put Tennessee's lead at 6-4.

The Vols added two more runs an inning later after they started the frame with three straight hits. J.P. Arencibia led the inning off with a single, Brian Van Kirk followed suit, and Michael Rivera's double down the left field line scored Arencibia and moved Van Kirk to third. He later scored on rightfielder Ryan Jones's groundout to second base to give the Vols, at least what seemed at the time, a commanding 8-4 lead through the top of the fifth.

But the Rebels haven't scored double-digit runs in their last seven contests for no reason. In the bottom of the fifth, Ole Miss sent 11 men to the plate and exploded for seven runs to retake the lead 11-8. Justin Brashear and Alex Presley highlighted the frame with a two-RBI double and a two-RBI single, respectively.

Three more runs in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by Zack Cozart's 361-foot two-run homer over the left-center field wall, gave the Rebels a 14-8 lead.

Tennessee would make it interesting, however, down the stretch. The Volunteers narrowed the gap to 14-13 in the seventh, when they sent eight men to the plate and scored five runs.

But Ole Miss wasn't exactly through scoring runs either.

The Rebels' second seven-run inning gave the Rebels a 21-13 lead, and Garrett White silenced the UT bats in the eighth and ninth. White also earned his sixth save of the year, when he came in during the seventh with the tying run on deck.

"Having 21 and 13 runs and 21 and 19 hits is pretty impressive for both times," All-America candidate Chris Coghlan said. "I'm really proud of the way we competed and the number of runs we put up today."

Bukvich, the Rebel starter, lasted 4.1 innings before giving way to Satterwhite in the fifth. The starter's line read eight runs on 13 hits with no walks and two strikeouts.

"I didn't really have it today," said Bukvich. "But obviously both teams saw the ball really well. I just didn't make the pitches I needed to make. I didn't walk anybody, but it just wasn't my day."

Satterwhite, who got his third win in his last three relief appearances, lasted two innings, giving up four runs – three of them earned – on four hits with four walks and one strikeout. White came on in the seventh and pitched 2.2 innings, giving up one unearned run on two hits with one walk and a strikeout.

Five Rebels got three hits against Tennessee pitching. Justin Henry, who battled a left hand injury the past week, was 3 for 6 with three RBI. The middle of the Rebel lineup – Chris Coghlan, Zack Cozart, and Alex Presley – all had three hits apiece and combined for 11 runs and nine RBI. Justin Brashear also notched three hits for Ole Miss and had five RBI.

"There's a lot of confidence for us offensively now," Cozart said. "I've never been a part of a game like this, maybe one where a team scored 20 and the other team five, but none like this. The hitters for both teams were locked in today."

With the win, the Rebels captured their sixth straight conference game and ninth straight overall. Ole Miss is now 29-15 (12-8 SEC) and has captured its fourth conference series in its last five tries. After starting 1-5 in the SEC, the Rebels have now won 11 of their 14 games.

The 21 runs scored by Ole Miss are the most since a 24-0 victory over New York Tech in March 2003 and the most against an SEC team since a 23-10 victory over LSU in Baton Rouge during Mike Bianco's first season at the Rebel baseball helm in 2001.

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