KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 23 Tennessee rallied late but came up a run short in Saturday afternoon’s series finale versus No. 15 Ole Miss, losing 5-4 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium to cap off the regular season.
The Volunteers entered the bottom of the fourth trailing 5-0 but scored four straight runs to make things interesting down the stretch. Pete Derkay and Alerick Soularie both had a pair of hits to lead UT’s attack while Tyler Keenan had the biggest hit of the game for the Rebels with a three-run homer in the top of the third. Jacob Adams drove in what turned out to be the game-winning run for Ole Miss with a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Freshman right hander Gunnar Hoglund earned his second win of the year after tossing six solid innings, allowing three runs on five hits. UT starter Zach Linginfelter took the loss after giving up five runs on four hits in 3.1 innings of work.
The Rebels manufactured a run in the top of the second to open the scoring. Cole Zabowski led off the inning with a walk, advanced to second on a single and moved to third on a deep fly out before scoring on a double steal to give UM a 1-0 lead.
Ole Miss added to its lead with Keenan’s homer in the top of the third to put the Rebels ahead 4-0. It was the team-leading 13th home run of the year by the sophomore third baseman.
Consecutive singles with one out chased Linginfelter from the game in the top of the fourth. The Rebels went on to score another run later in the inning on Adams’ sac fly to make it 5-0 before reliever Will Heflin got the Vols out of the inning.
The Big Orange got on the board with a run in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit down to four when Evan Russell drove in Soularie with a two-out single to make it 5-1.
A three-run seventh inning got the Vols right back in the game. Tennessee loaded the bases with nobody out for Derkay, who delivered with a two-run double down the first-base line to cut the deficit to two. Landon Gray drove in the third run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to make it a 5-4 game heading into the eighth.
The duo of Tyler Myers and Ryan Olenek were able to hold off the Vols over the final two innings to preserve the win. Olenek retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth after playing the first eight innings in center field.
VOLS FINISH THIRD IN SEC EAST: With Missouri’s loss to Florida on Saturday, the Vols finished third in the SEC East this season, which marks their highest finish in the division since coming in second back in 2005.
CRACKING THE TOP 10: Jay Charleston stole third base in the bottom of the first inning for his 38th steal of the season, which moved him into a tie for 10thon the program’s single-season list with Danny Ramirez (1990).
STRIKEOUTS GALORE: With five strikeouts on the day, Tennessee’s pitching staff reached the 500-strikeout mark for the season (503). The last time the Vols struck out 500-plus batters in a season was 2005 when they struck out a school-record 568.
UP NEXT: The Vols will head to Hoover, Alabama for the 2019 SEC Tournament, which begins on Tuesday. UT will be either the No. 8 or No. 9 seed and play the third game of the day on Tuesday, which is slated to start at 5:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on the SEC Network and as always fans can also listen live as John Wilkerson calls the action for the Vol Radio Network (FM 99.1/AM 990).