Walking in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The old theory that walks will come back to haunt a team was never more true than here in Sunday's first game as Ole Miss got past Vanderbilt 6-1 to win the series.

Jordan Henry walked three times and scored three runs in four trips to the plate in the seven-inning contest. But Rebel right-hander Phillip Irwin was equally important in this one, his first Southeastern Conference start.

Irwin went the distance with only one earned run on four hits with three strikeouts and two walks.

"I felt good today," said Irwin, 3-0 this season. "I pumped the ball in the strike zone. I started working in a changeup and kept them off-balance all day. Pumping the ball in the strike zone really helps a lot."

Vandy starter Caleb Cotham, one of two hurlers used by the Commodores, got the loss and fell to 3-1.

Ole Miss, 11-3 on the season and 2-0 in SEC play, outhit the Commodores 6-4. The Commodores, 10-6 and 0-2, had two errors to none for Ole Miss, and VU catcher Aaron Westlake allowed two passed balls.

Ole Miss went up 1-0 in the top of the first. Matt Smith singled with one out to score Jordan Henry who had reached on a leadoff walk. Cotham then got two strikeouts to end the inning.

The Commodores scored a run in the bottom of the first. Brian Harris had a first-pitch leadoff double to left center, followed by Steven Liddle's single to right, which got Harris to third. A ground out to the first baseman by Curt Casali got Harris home. Irwin got a popup and a ground out to end the first.

The Rebels took advantage of two Commodore third-inning errors but only got one run. Henry walked with one out and Tim Ferguson reached on an error on the shortstop. Smith got on base when the VU first baseman tried to get Ferguson out at second but threw the ball awry. He was charged with an error and Henry scored on the play. Cotham then got two outs to end any further damage.

Henry walked a third time and scored a third time in the top of the fifth. Ferguson singled to get him to third, and a passed ball by Westlake got Henry home as Ferguson advanced to second. Smith flew out to left, and Vandy intentionally walked Logan Power.

Designated hitter David Phillips then sent a 1-1 pitch where the green monster meets the outfield stands in left and touched them all as the Rebels went up 6-1. Michael Hubbard singled to keep things going, but Kevin Mort grounded out and Miller flew out to right to end the top of the fifth.

But the Rebels were up 6-1 and in a seven-inning game were in good shape.

"Definitely felt better (as the game went on)," said Irwin. "When Phillips hit that three-run home run, it was just like, go out there and shut them down. I had no doubts anymore."

Irwin said he was looking forward to game three of this series.

"I'll be sitting over there doing a lot of cheering," he said, smiling broadly.

Ole Miss beat Vandy 9-3 Friday night in game one.

Game three of the series is underway.


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