OXFORD, Miss. — Nailing down the ninth inning, Redmond Walsh struck out the side with the tying and winning runs on base to conclude a series sweep for No. 5 Tennessee, 4-3, over No. 1 Ole Miss.
Coming off his best start of the season last weekend against South Carolina, freshman right hander Drew Beam was spectacular once again on Sunday against the Rebels. The Murfreesboro, Tennessee, native tied a career high with six strikeouts and allowed one run on just three hits in 7.1 innings to earn the win and improve to 5-0 on the year.
Jordan Beck led the Vols with three hits, while also scoring a run. Seth Stephenson also had three hits and scored a run on the afternoon. Drew Gilbert capped his impressive weekend with a triple, a run scored and two RBIs.
After three scoreless innings to open the game, the Vols struck for three runs in the top of the fourth to open the scoring. Back-to-back singles by Seth Stephenson and Jordan Beck put two runners on base for Gilbert, who roped a triple into the corner in right field to score both runners. Gilbert scored one batter later on an RBI groundout by Trey Lipscomb to put the Big Orange ahead 3-0.
GAME 2: How Tennessee clinched the series win over No. 1 Ole Miss
Luc Lipcius added to Tennessee's lead with an RBI double in the top of the sixth, lacing a 1-1 pitch to the wall in left center that allowed Lipscomb to score all the way from first and make it 4-0.
After back-to-back singles with one out, Hayden Dunhurst hit his second homer of the series — a three-run shot to right center field — to pull the Rebels within a run in the bottom of the eighth.
Following the Ole Miss homer, the Volunteers made a move for the bullpen, calling for the veteran southpaw Walsh, who entered on a 3-2 count with one out in the eighth. He struck out the first batter he faced, but a wild pitch allowed Jacob Gonzalez to reach base safely, then a single put him into scoring position. Walsh calmly struck out Time Elko on three pitches to end the Rebel threat in the eighth.
The score remained 4-3 in the bottom half of the ninth as Walsh toed the rubber. Ole Miss got a leadoff single, but the next two batters were punched out by the UT closer. A two-out error allowed the tying run to move into scoring position, but it was no match for the savvy Volunteer reliever who struck out Dunhurst on three pitches to end the game and sweep the Rebels on the road.
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UP NEXT: Tennessee returns home to host Western Carolina on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. before hitting the road for another big SEC series next weekend at No. 1/4 Vanderbilt in Nashville.
VOLS CLEANING CREW: Tennessee recorded its fifth series sweep of the season on Sunday, tying its season total of five from last season. The Vols have swept all five of their weekend series this season (not including tournaments) and have now posted 17 series sweeps since 2018.
WINS OVER NO. 1: With three wins in Oxford this weekend, the Vols recorded their first ever series sweep over a top-ranked team and their fourth, fifth and sixth wins over No. 1 ranked opponents (any poll) since Tony Vitello took over as head coach in 2018. UT is 6-6 in games against top-ranked teams in that span.
VITELLO MOVING UP CAREER WINS LIST: Vols' skipper Tony Vitello moved into a tie for third in career wins in program history with Sunday's victory. He is now tied with Dave Serrano, who recorded 157 wins during his time as UT's head coach from 2012-17.
ICE IN HIS VEINS: Redmond Walsh secured his third save of the season, striking out five batters in 1.1 innings. The graduate student moved into sole possession of second on Tennessee's career saves list with 19 and is just four shy of tying Todd Helton's program record of 23.