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Ole Miss takes one from UT

By By Chris Kieffer / special to The Star
April 29, 2002
OXFORD The Ole Miss Rebels got a much needed early jump start Sunday.
The seventh-ranked Rebels took an early lead on Josh Christian's two-run first inning home run and held on to defeat Tennessee 9-2 Sunday in front of 1,947 at Swayze Field. Tennessee took the three-game series 2-1.
Ole Miss (34-11, 13-8) remained three games behind Alabama in the SEC West and moved into a tie with Florida for third overall in the SEC. Tennessee fell to 23-23, 8-13.
The Rebels did a much better job of scoring runs Sunday. They left 27 runners on base and scored just 11 runs Friday and Saturday. Sunday, they scored nine runs and left nine runners on base.
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said that Sunday's performance was the result of a positive attitude.
Rebel right-fielder Seth Smith, who was 3-for-5 with two RBI, said that he could tell early that the offense was in for a good day.
And getting the early lead after Christian's homerun made things a little easier.
The Rebels also got a strong starting pitching performance out of Horne.
Horne (4-1) gave up one earned run and four hits while striking out five in six innings. Horne walked four batters and hit two.
Christian's 407-foot homerun also scored Seth Smith who had singled. Tennessee cut it in half with a run in the third.
Ole Miss added three in the fourth. Jonathan Swearingen walked and moved to third on Charlie Waite's two-out single. Swearingen scored when Chad Sterbens reached on an error by third baseman Matt Sternberg. Smith singled to left, scoring Waite and Sterbens to give Ole Miss a 5-1 lead.
Tennessee came back with a run in the fifth before Ole Miss answered with four more in the bottom half of the inning.
Christian singled, Bryce Morrison and Swearingen walked to load the bases with one out. Matt Tolbert beat out his suicide squeeze to score Christian and reload the bases. Morrison scored on Waite's sacrifice fly. Sterbens singled to left, scoring Swearingen and Tolbert.
Rob Fitzgerald (0-2) started for Tennessee and gave up five runs (two earned) and five hits in 3.2 innings.
Sterbens extended his SEC hitting streak to 21 games. He also has an 11-game overall hitting streak. With his three singles, Smith broke the Ole Miss freshman total bases record (87).
Charlie Waite went 2-for-4 Sunday and 7-for-10 on the weekend.
Ole Miss goes to Jonesboro, Ark. to play Arkansas State Tuesday night. The game is set for 6:30 p.m. Tennessee hosts LSU next weekend.