AUBURN, Ala. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – Sam Smith turned in a solid start and left the game with the lead in the sixth, but missed offensive opportunities early allowed a late rally by the Tigers to spell trouble as No. 18 Ole Miss (33-16, 12-12 SEC) fell to Auburn (27-19, 9-15 SEC) by a score of 5-4 on Sunday.
The Rebels left eight men stranded as Auburn robbed Ole Miss of two home runs, a three-run shot and a solo shot, in the one-run loss. It marks the 15th game decided by one run for Ole Miss this season. It was also the 18th come-from-behind win of the season for Auburn.
Brett Huber (3-2) took the loss in relief on a solo home run with two outs in the eighth inning following a Rebel rally to tie the game in the top of the inning. Huber worked 1.1 innings in relief, allowing two runs – one earned – on three hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Terrance Dedrick (4-2) picked up the win in relief as his team got the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth as he allowed the two-run shot from Orvis in the top of the inning to tie the game. Dedrick worked the final 2.0 innings for Auburn, allowing one run on one hit with a strikeout. Dedrick entered the game with a man on and no outs in the eighth.
“We had some opportunities early and we didn’t make the most of them with the bases loaded and then again with runners in scoring position,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We have been so close in several games the last two weekends and just not able to close it out. It’s disappointing. We have to do a better job of closing things out when we have opportunities.”
Ole Miss got on the board in the second inning with a pair of runs, and threatened to break the game open early until a pickoff with the bases loaded ended the Rebel scoring rally.
It started with a walk of Auston Bousfield before Preston Overbey drove an RBI double to the gap in left center to bring him home. Back-to-back singles from Sikes Orvis and Will Allen brought Overbey home and gave the Rebels the 2-0 lead. The Rebels would load the bases with two outs as Austin Anderson was hit by a pitch, but the Tigers got out of the inning with the pick off to keep the game within striking distance.
Auburn then got on the board in the bottom of the inning with a two-out double from Darnek Tomshca before Blake Austin hit a single to center to bring him home. Smith would strike out the next batter to end the inning and keep the Rebels on top 2-1.
Ole Miss got men on in the third and the fourth, but couldn’t get them home in both instances as Auburn responded with big plays to get out of the jam. Hunter Kelley robbed Sikes Orvis of a three-run home run in the third inning to end the frame before a strikeout from reliever Reid Carter ended the fourth inning with two men on for the Rebels.
For the second time on the afternoon, Kelley robbed a home run from the Rebels in the sixth inning with a fly ball from Austin Anderson that the Tiger reached over the fence and snagged to keep the score at 2-1.
Auburn evened things in the seventh with a two-out rally as Cullen Wacker hit a line drive off the glove of a diving Anderson at short to bring home Tomscha from second. Tomscha reached on a leadoff single, took second on a ground out to third and scored on the Wacker hit that followed a shallow fly out to right.
With the game tied, Ole Miss turned to its bullpen for the third time on the afternoon to bring in closer Brett Huber. A single to right and a fielding error on the play brought the go-ahead run home and put two men in scoring position as the Tigers continued to rally.
A wild pitch brought a third run home in the inning as Auburn moved the lead out to 4-2 before the Rebels would get out of the inning.
Sikes Orvis erased the deficit in the eighth with a two-run shot off the batter’s eye to tie the game, but a two-out home run from Tomscha in the home half of the eighth put Auburn right back on top 5-4.
The Rebels will return to action next weekend, kicking off a three-game series against Mississippi State at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night at Swayze Field.