Tennessee's Diamond Vols took on the No. 17 Mississippi Rebels (27-12, 8-8 SEC) this weekend, but the team's on-field chemistry wasn't enough to pull out a win.
The Vols (17-19, 5-11 SEC), after a disappointing shutout Friday night, were able to score four runs on eight hits against the Rebels. In the end, however, the Rebels were able to come away with a 6-4 victory.
Junior pitcher Nick Williams had one of his most efficient starts of the year, going 8.1 innings and throwing a season-high 127 pitches. Williams threw four scoreless innings before Rebel right-fielder Will Jamison drove an RBI triple to the right-center gap.
Jamison also contributed his first home run of his career in the ninth inning. Williams said it frustrated him to an extent to get through the heart of the order and have the last batter in the lineup contribute with two RBIs.
"I threw two good pitches to him — that curveball that he went down and got for a triple was a good pitch, and then I threw him a low fastball and that's the one that he hit over," Williams said. "He just swung the bat well today."
Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano said Williams was looking a little fatigued in the ninth inning, but said he has more confidence in Williams than he does in the bullpen.
"(Williams) battled for us today. I could tell he was fatiguing there a little in the ninth, maybe should have gotten him out sooner, but right now my confidence level isn't real strong with who we are bringing out of the bullpen," said Serrano. "(Our starting pitchers) know they are expected and need to go deep into games and hopefully we have a big enough lead so that we can hand it off to somebody."
Serrano told reporters after Friday night's 5-0 loss that the Vols didn't have the enthusiasm he would have liked to have seen in the game. For Saturday, that wasn't the case.
"It was a different atmosphere tonight. We had the will to want to win; we just didn't have the results to win," said Serrano. "You look across the field, and it's hard for me to say this, but you see a team in Ole Miss that expects to win when you see a team in our dugout that is still hoping to win."
Freshman outfielder Christin Stewart played a part in two of the Vols' run, scoring one and driving the other in. Stewart showed off his speed in the fourth inning, advancing from second to third on a mishandled ball by the catcher and scoring on an errant throw by the catcher on the same play. His run gave the Vols a 2-0 lead at the time.
The Vols are hoping for a third-time charm and a chance to avoid an Ole Miss sweep Sunday at 2 p.m. in Lindsey Nelson Stadium.