Lynn lights out in win

Lance Lynn struggled early, but once he got his location down, the Golden Eagles were done.

Lynn (8-4) fought his control the first two innings before settling down and pitching a sterling complete-game shutout as Ole Miss put itself in a dominant position with a 4-0 victory over Southern Miss. The Rebels advance to the championship game with their first chance to clinch a Super Regional berth at 5 p.m. Sunday. An "if necessary" game would be played at 7 p.m. Monday.

The sophomore walked four during the opening two frames but only allowed one free pass afterward. Lynn took a no-hitter into the sixth and surrendered just two hits all night.

"I felt pretty well out there tonight," Lynn said. "I had a lot of energy before the game and after the first few innings, I started to find my groove. In the early innings I was frustrated, so I had to regroup and let my stuff work for me. I was able to get after hitters and it worked out."

The frustration was due to a lack of control, and Lynn's pitch count suffered with the big right-hander hovering fifty pitches after just the first couple frames. Even with the unusual location dilemma, Lynn toughened up when necessary and kept the Golden Eagles at bay.

Lynn opened the game with seven straight balls but escaped the opening inning with leadoff hitter Bo Davis never advancing past first. The next frame was a bit more complicated, but a big-time strikeout erased Southern's only runner to reach third on the night.

The Rebel hurler issued a walk, recorded two outs but then walked two more Eagles to load the bases. The count went 2-2 on Davis before Lynn blew a fastball by him.

"He challenged us all night with his fastball, and we just didn't make any adjustment to it," USM sophomore Michael Ewing said. "He kept throwing high ones by us all night. We would have the bases loaded, but we just kept chasing it and chasing it all night. He had good velocity, and when he started spotting up his breaking ball, that didn't help because it just made his fastballs that much faster. He pitched well, and we just didn't make any adjustments."

Placing the breaking stuff became an asset for Lynn during the middle innings and continued all the way through the ninth. The no-hitter was lost in the sixth with back-to-back singles by Ewing and Luke Adkins, but a line out double play allowed Lynn to get through unscathed.

Although the number of pitches was rising, Ole Miss' all-time season strikeout leader found a rhythm during the final three innings and was perfect. The Golden Eagles' final nine hitters went down in order. Lynn threw 146 pitches on the evening.

"I felt great taking the mound in the ninth inning," Lynn said. "Through the course of the game I was able to work my curveball better, which helped me challenge hitters. It paid off for me, which helped me finish the game."

Lynn fanned seven Eagles and increased his season total to 137, ten more than teammate Will Kline. The complete game was his third of the season with Vanderbilt and South Carolina being the other two.

"If we are lucky enough to win, I am sure Ole Miss has a good pitcher that will go, but I hope he isn't near as good as Lynn," Southern Miss head coach Corky Palmer joked.

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