Lynn mows down 'Dores for Reb win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Lance Lynn said he didn't even know he had a no-hitter going until the seventh. He was the only one who didn't.

A whole lot of others attending, listening, and keeping up with 14th-ranked Ole Miss' 6-1 win over No. 1-ranked Vanderbilt knew it by that time. Some before that.

The sophomore right-hander for Ole Miss pitched a masterful game against the Commodores Saturday afternoon. They basically couldn't touch him.

"I wasn't really paying attention, just kind of sitting there in my own little world," said Lynn, whose final line on this day read eight innings pitched, one unearned run, one hit, five strikeouts, three walks. "There was like two outs in the seventh and I kind of looked over at the count on the scoreboard. I just wandered over to the hits and there it was."

Lynn said at that moment he had to refocus to make sure the potential no-hitter didn't become the main focus the rest of the way.

"Just try to regroup and go get another guy out," he said. "At that point you try to think of anything else, if possible. But it's hard not to think about it."

It wasn't until the eighth inning that Vanderbilt got a hit, and by then the 'Dores trailed by six runs. So there would be no Ole Miss no-hitter on this day, which would have been the sixth in UM baseball history and first since 1966. With what appeared to be a comfortable 6-0 lead, the no-hitter would have been a nice addition to the story.

Lynn expressed some disappointment. He was glad his team won but a bit sad he didn't no-hit the Commodores.

"It's just so hard to pitch a no-hitter, especially in this league," Lynn said after coming about as close as you can without actually doing so. "I'm more disappointed about giving up the run in the eighth than giving up the hit."

The Vandy run came as a result of an error on Zack Cozart to the first batter of the eighth, Matt Meingasner. Lynn then hit Alex Feinberg with a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. After Brad French popped up to first baseman Andrew Clark, Vandy leadoff hitter David Macias singled into left center to load the bases, which brought a roar from the Commodore faithful still in attendance. Most had already departed, thinking their first loss of the season was inevitable, and perhaps moreso because the VU men's basketball team was about to begin its game in the NCAA Tournament in Sacramento, Calif.

Bianco said it was key that Lynn battled back after the no-hitter was gone.

"You worry about that sometimes," he said. "Sometimes it blows up on guys. It's such an emotional thing. You're that close, just five outs away in this case. And when you don't get it, it can be tough. I went out there at that point and talked to him. That's one of the reasons you do that, to make sure he didn't lose anything. He didn't. He got the next guy to ground out (Dominic de la Osa) and then struck out maybe the best hitter in the conference (Pedro Alvarez). So Lance was able to respond."

Senior UM left-hander Craig Rodriguez finished the game, entering to start the ninth. After a popup by the first batter, he gave up a walk but got a strikeout and a ground out to end it.

Bianco said there was no need for Lynn to struggle to finish it since the no-hitter was gone.

"He wanted to finish," Bianco said, "but that was enough. With a five-run lead, there was no reason to run him back out there. There are plenty of guys we feel comfortable bringing in."

Bianco, his team now 15-6 overall and 1-1 in the SEC, said there were two responses in this one - his team bouncing back from Friday night's emotional 3-2 Vandy victory and Lynn bouncing back from last Saturday's 7-6 loss to UCLA.

"He pitched poorly last weekend after being spotless through his first few starts of the season," Bianco said. "Even with Will Kline pitching pretty darn good this year, Lynn had maybe even been a hair better. It was just a weekend last time out where it wasn't his weekend. To respond like this especially after last night's loss was big for us."

The tone of this one was set early by Rebel hitters. Ole Miss jumped on starter Nick Christiani (4-1) for a 3-0 lead after an inning and led 5-0 after two. Instead of the Rebels starting this one shell-shocked after Friday night's dramatic loss, it was Ole Miss which set the tone and came out swinging.

Jordan and Justin Henry led off the game with singles. Jordan moved to third on Justin's single. Jordan then scored on a wild pitch. Zack Cozart then singled in Justin. Cozart stole second and was moved to third on a ground out by C.J. Ketchum. A single by Cody Overbeck scored Cozart and the Rebels were on their way up 3-0.

In the second the big swing was from Justin Henry who tripled to the right field corner to score Logan Power who had singled and Jordan who had reached on an infield single.

Up 5-0, Lynn (2-2) simply did his thing the rest of the day. Before the eighth inning, Vandy only had one runner get to third base.

"After last night, it was big for us to come out and get some runs early," said team captain Justin Henry, who led the UM attack going 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored. "That is what we were able to do today and that was big for us. We needed a little momentum offensively."

The Rebels added a run in the sixth on a sac fly to center by Jordan, which scored Power from third after he had reached on a base hit, moved to second on a sac bunt by Brett Basham, and to third on a stolen base.

The Rebels got 11 hits off Christiani and reliever Cody Crowell.

Vandy head coach Tim Corbin, his team now 20-1 and 1-1, said the fact that his squad was finally going to lose a game was inevitable.

"We ran into a buzzsaw. We just couldn't get anything going today," he said. "You think that with the run that we've had to this point, that something like this wouldn't happen, but it does. We just weren't good today and he (Lynn) was better."

Sunday's game between the two begins at 1 p.m.

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