OXFORD – Stuart Turner’s first hit as a Rebel was a memorable one as the junior catcher delivered a grand slam in the first inning to help power No. 14 Ole Miss (3-0) to a weekend sweep of No. 12 TCU (0-3) with a 5-2 win on Sunday.
The Rebels picked up a 1-0 win on Friday night and a 5-2 win on Saturday to set up the sweep with the Sunday victory.
Trailing 1-0 after the top of the first, Turner came to the plate with the bases loaded and delivered the two-out shot to left field to propel the Rebels to a 4-1 lead. Ole Miss would never trail again on the way to completing the series sweep.
Chris Ellis (1-0) picked up the win in his second career start and first outing as a weekend starter. The sophomore, who was on a pitch count, turned in 4.0 innings of work and allowed one run on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts as the designated pitcher of record.
Senior Tanner Bailey picked up his first save of the season, working the final 1.2 innings with two strikeouts and one hit. The right-hander entered the game in the eighth inning with a man on second and one out. He retired the next two batters faced with a strikeout and a foul fly to keep the Rebels in possession of the three-run lead.
Stefan Crichton (0-1) suffered the loss for the Horned Frogs, allowing the four runs on three hits with two walks and a strikeout in his 1.0 inning of work.
“Once again, we played really well defensively and in pitching,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Of course, we had the big knock by (Stuart) Turner in the first inning. It’s nice to see for a guy who’s had such a good fall and early spring. He’s had some tough at bats going into today, but we needed that with bases loaded and two outs. It was a big home run. It’s nice to see a guy get off to a good start like that, and to get us off to a good start today. It’s been tough. TCU’s pitching staff is so tremendous. It’s been tough on all of the hitters.”
TCU took the lead in the top half of the first when Jantzen Witte hit a solo shot to left field to put TCU up 1-0. Ellis then struck out Kevin Cron and Jerrick Suiter around a walk of Derek Odell to get the Rebels out of the inning.
Turner then hit his grand slam in the bottom of the first to put Ole Miss on top for good. Turner’s shot, also to left field, scored Austin Anderson, Auston Bousfield and Sikes Orvis. Anderson reached on a one-out walk before Bousfield singled through the left side to put two men on. TCU got the second out with a strikeout of Will Allen before Orvis drew the Rebels’ second walk of the inning to load the bases for Turner.
The junior catcher then took a big cut at the first offering from Crichton and sent it over the wall in left field.
Ole Miss added to the lead in the fourth inning Anderson came up with an RBI double to left center to drive in Tanner Mathis for the 5-1 lead. Mathis reached on a two-out single to left before scoring from first on the Anderson hit.
TCU cut the lead to 5-2 in the sixth inning with a groundout to third from Odell that brought Witte home. Witte reached with a lead-off double to left and advanced to third on a groundout from Cron.
It was as close as the Horned Frogs would get the rest of the way due in large part to the combined efforts of the Rebel defense and bullpen. TCU loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but sophomore Scott Weathersby responded out of the pen to retire the first batter faced on a groundout and keep the Horned Frogs off the board.
Bailey then entered the game in the eighth with the leadoff man on second and kept the Horned Frogs off the board the rest of the way to clinch the series sweep.
Ole Miss will return to action on Wednesday afternoon, hosting the UT-Martin Skyhawks at 4:00 p.m. at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.