Posted: 5:41 p.m. Sunday, May 5, 2013
By Chris Fuhrmeister
Auburn received an outstanding bullpen performance, amazing defense in right field and clutch two-out hitting late to take a 5-4 win over No. 21 Ole Miss. The Tigers won two of three against the Rebels, perhaps keeping their faint postseason hopes alive.
After Daniel Koger allowed two runs in 1 1/3 innings, Auburn's relief pitchers allowed just one earned run in the final 7 2/3 innings.They were helped greatly by Hunter Kelley's glove in right field. He took away a three-run homer from Sikes Orvis with a leaping catch in the third, and he robbed Austin Anderson of a solo shot with another great catch in the seventh. In all, he saved four runs, keeping Auburn in the game.
Down, 2-1, in the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers rallied. Damek Tomscha led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a Blake Austin ground out. After Kelley popped out, Cullen Wacker tied the game with a single to left. Garrett Cooper walked, and Pat Savage came up to pinch hit for designated hitter Kody Ortman. He took a first-pitch strike, one of many questionable calls at the plate, and head coach John Pawlowski earned an ejection with a spirited argument. The display of emotion from Pawlowski apparently lit a fire under Savage, who lined a single to right field and gave Auburn its first lead of the day. A wild pitch scored Garrett Cooper to put Auburn up, 4-2, before the Rebels recorded the final out of the inning.
With a two-run lead in the top of the eighth, Auston Bousfield reached on a throwing error by Dan Glevenyak. Terrance Dedrick came on to get the six-out save, but after a long fly out by Preston Overbey, Orvis hit a mammoth two-run homer to straightaway center, tying the game at 4-4.
In the bottom half of the inning, Jordan Ebert and Ryan Tella made two quick outs, but with the stiff breeze blowing out to left, Tomscha pulled a towering fly ball, and the wind carried it just enough to get over the green monster, giving Auburn a 5-4 lead. It was Tomscha's fourth homer of the year and second of the series.
Dedrick was given a second chance with a lead in the ninth, and he made good on the opportunity. After two outs, Stuart Turner, the Rebels' best hitter, hit a bloop pop-up to the middle of the infield, and Dedrick made a diving, over-the-shoulder catch to end the game, sending Plainsman Park into a frenzy.
Chase Williamson relieved Koger in the second, and he gave up three hits and a walk in 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Reid Carter then came in, allowing zero runs on one hit and one walk. Trey Cochran-Gill recorded the final out of the seventh, and he allowed one unearned run after Bousfield reached in the eighth and Orvis drove him in.
Sam Smith pitched well in his start for Ole Miss, allowing a run on six hits and two walks in five innings. But unfortunately for the Rebels, their bullpen couldn't keep up the good work. Tanner Bailey gave up two runs on two hits in 1 2/3 innings, and closer Brett Huber took the loss after he allowed two runs -- one earned -- on three hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Orvis led the Rebels at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one run scored. He and Turner (2-for-5) were the only Ole Miss players with multiple hits.
Tomscha was 3-for-4 and scored three times. Cooper was 2-for-3, and Blake Austin was 2-for-4. Austin also contributed on defense, picking off Will Allen at second with two outs and the bases loaded in the second inning and throwing out Orvis at second on a stolen base attempt in the sixth.
With the win, Auburn improved to 27-19 (9-15 SEC). Ole Miss dropped to 33-16 (12-12). The Tigers return to action Tuesday night when they travel to Jacksonville State at 6:30 p.m.