Stallings Shuts Down No. 15 Ole Miss as Vols Take Series Opener

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee ace Garrett Stallings was back to his dominant self in Thursday night’s series-opening 7-0 victory over No. 15 Ole Miss at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The junior right hander threw his second complete-game shutout of the season, holding the Rebels’ potent lineup to just four hits as No. 23 Tennessee tied the program record with its 10th shutout of the season. Stallings did not walk a single batter and struck out seven while retiring the side in order five times on the night to improve to 8-3 on the year.

The Vols had the bats working as well, hammering out seven runs on 13 hits for the game. Six of those runs and 10 of those hits came against Ole Miss ace Will Ethridge before he was pulled after givng up a solo home run to Andre Lipcius to start the eighth inning.

Lipcius finished the game with three hits and three runs batted it while Ricky Martinez continued his hot hitting with a 4-for-4 night that included a run scored and two RBI. The four hits tied a career high for the junior shortstop.

The Vols jumped to a quick lead with some textbook baseball in the first inning. Justin Ammons doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jay Charleston. Lipcius then ripped a single into left field to drive in Ammons and give UT a 1-0 lead.

After three scoreless frames, the Big Orange jumped on Ethridge for a four-spot in the bottom of the fifth to extend the lead to five. Martinez drove in both of his runs with a double to left field before Connor Pavolony singled him home one batter later. An infield single by Lipcius allowed Pavolony to score from third to cap the scoring in the inning.

UT added two more insurance runs in the eighth when Lipcius led off the inning with his 16th home run and Jake Rucker singled to score Alerick Soularie to make it 7-0.

Cole Zabowski had two of Ole Miss’ four hits on the night while Cooper Johnson and Kevin Graham had one each. The Rebels’ one through five hitters combined to go 0-for-15 in the game as Stallings was in complete control throughout.

The win was the 13th for the Vols in conference play this season, marking the most SEC wins for UT since the 2007 team also had 13. 
VOLS TIE SHUTOUT RECORD: With Thursday’s shutout win, Tennessee tied the 1994 team’s program record for shutouts in a single season with 10. Three of those shutouts have come in SEC play as the Vols shut out Georgia in back-to-back games to start that series back in mid-April.  

ANDRE’S DINGERS: Tennessee junior third baseman Andre Lipcius has been on a tear with the long ball as of late. His solo shot in the eighth inning was his eighth homer in the last 15 games and his 16 jacks this year are the most by a UT player in a season since Cody Hawn had 22 back in 2009.

UP NEXT: The Vols will look to lock up another series win tomorrow night. First pitch for game two is slated for 6:30 p.m. and will be streamed online via SEC Network+ and the ESPN app. Fans can also listen live as John Wilkerson and Vince Ferrara call the action for the Vol Radio Network (FM 99.1/AM 990).