Rebs double up Vols to earn day off

HOOVER, Ala. - The middle innings were mellow for the Rebels, but the beginning and end more than made up for it.

Ole Miss (37-21) torched Tennessee (34-24) pitching in the first inning, received a workman-like performance from Lance Lynn and rode flame-throwing closer Cody Satterwhite to the finish as the Rebels bested the Volunteers 6-3 and earned a day off before battling again Saturday. Ole Miss has won six straight tourney games and eight of its last nine.

The Red and Blue take the winner's bracket portion of its pool for the second straight year and will face Friday's Tennessee-Vanderbilt winner for the chance to defend the SEC Tournament title. The Vols or ‘Dores will have to knock off Ole Miss twice to advance. Sophomore Brett Bukvich will take the mound for the Rebels at 1 p.m. Saturday.

"It is great to get the day off when everyone else has to play," head coach Mike Bianco said. "It will be great to get some sleep and get our feet back underneath us. Bukvich is going to go, and I think he has definitely earned it."

Lynn made amends from his loss against Tennessee earlier this season as the big right-hander picked up the win after tossing seven innings and allowing just three runs. The sophomore notched ten strikeouts and took over first place on the Rebel all-time season list with 130 total. Fellow starter Will Kline has 123 Ks of his own.

"I had the fastball in and out all night, but I found the curve later in the game, and that really helped me out," Lynn said. "The strikeout thing is funny because we joked at the beginning of the year about which one of us would have more, and we are neck and neck so it should be fun to see what happens."

One person that was not able to see the finish of the win was Bianco because of being tossed during a hectic seventh inning. With one out in the top half, Danny Lima walked on four straight but not before Bianco disagreed over the location of several pitches and was ejected by home plate umpire Jeff Head. An Andy Simunic single and a walk to J.P. Arencibia loaded the bases with two down, but Van Gomes flied out to end the threat and preserve the advantage.

"I still don't know why I got thrown out," Bianco said. "You're not allowed to argue balls and strikes so I assume that is what he thought I was doing."

Lynn said the break was needed and worked.

"I kind of got re-energized and caught my breath while coach was arguing," the pitcher noted.

Satterwhite entered to open the eighth and limited any late-game interest by recording outs on all six batters he faced. Half of the outs were strikeouts as Satterwhite notched his fourth save of the season.

"I wanted to go right at them," Satterwhite said. "I pumped the strikezone and made them swing the bat."

UT starter Craig Cobb took the loss, as he was unable to get out of the first inning. Lance McClain entered in relief and pitched effectively, allowing only one run.

An early deficit definitely wasn't the problem as the Rebels pasted Cobb for five first inning runs on four hits. Jordan Henry and Zack Cozart both reached with balls staying in the infield as Jordan Henry reached on an error and Cozart bunted for a base hit.

Justin Henry singled to bring in a run and Cody Overbeck doubled to the gap for the big blow of the inning. It wasn't over though because Zach Miller was hit by a pitch and Logan Power reached on a fielder's choice. Evan Button and Fuller Smith finished off the RBI in the inning with a single and a safety squeeze respectively.

"It was a great night, and we got off to a hot start," Justin Henry said. "We came out strong in the first inning, it held up for us."

Ole Miss would remain with the same tally until the fourth inning when Jordan Henry got things started again. The freshman singled, advanced to third on a single by brother Justin and scored on a sac fly from Miller.

Tennessee cut the healthy deficit in half during the sixth inning as Tony Delmonico crushed a fastball over the left-field wall for a three-run homer. A walk and a single set the table for the blast.

"I threw him five straight fastballs, and he finally timed one," Lynn said. "It was one bad pitch. Thankfully, it didn't hurt us."

Ole Miss will practice Friday at a local field during the day off. Arkansas has the off-day on the other side of the bracket with South Carolina and Florida fighting in an elimination game.

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