The series win over the #18 Rebels puts Auburn in a much stronger position in the conference standings. With the Top 12 teams advancing to the SEC Tournament in Hoover, the Tigers now have a two-game lead on Missouri and Tennessee with six games left for the 11th spot. Auburn is also within striking distance of moving up considerably with South Carolina currently fourth in the league at 13-10 in SEC play.
Sunday's game was one of the wilder contests of the season as Auburn right fielder Hunter Kelley twice robbed Ole Miss of home runs in right field and took away four runs in the process. Combine that with Tomscha's three hits and three RBI and Dedrick's skill on the mound and Coach John Pawlowski says it adds up to big day for his club.
"Being down 2-0 early in the game I thought they really responded and faced some adversity," Pawlowski says. "They came back and found a way to win a ballgame today.
"I thought our defense was the difference," he adds. "Hunter Kelley made two spectacular plays, both of them over the fence. He robbed two home runs. Blake Austin, with the bases loaded and two outs and their best hitter up, picks a guy off second base. He throws another guy out on a hit-and-run. I thought our defense did a great job today."
Tied at four in the bottom of the eighth inning following a two-run homer by Ole Miss to tie the game, Auburn needed something big to happen and it came from Tomscha. Already with two hits on the day and a pair of RBI, Tomscha connected with a pitch and lifted it high into the air in left field. With a strong wind blowing out toward the green monster, Tomscha's fifth homer of the season put Auburn back in front 5-4.
"I got ahead in the count," Tomscha says. "He threw me a curveball down and I figured he would probably have to come with a fastball. He threw one low and I was able to get it up in the wind. I was pretty fortunate about that. I knew I hit it decent, but I didn't know if it was getting over or not. I didn't know how strong the wind was blowing, but I got lucky I guess."
Ole Miss jumped out in front on Sunday with two runs in the second inning. Following a scoreless first inning, Auburn starter Daniel Koger walked Auston Bousfiled to start the second before Preston Overbey doubled him home to put the Rebels on the scoreboard. Back-to-back singles from Sikes Orvis and Will Allen added the second run of the inning and knocked Koger from the game early. Chase Williamson came on to get the Tigers out of the inning, but once again they were playing from behind.
In the bottom of the inning Auburn struck back with a single run as Tomscha doubled with two outs to bring Austin to the plate. Getting a pitch to handle the junior ripped a single for his fifth consecutive hit. Tomscha easily scored on the play to make it 2-1 Ole Miss.
Despite both teams getting plenty of chances to score that's how things would remain until the bottom of the seventh inning. Facing reliever Tanner Bailey, Auburn got a single from Tomscha and after moving to second he scored on a Cullen Wacker single to tie the game at two. Ole Miss closer Brett Huber came on in relief to face Cooper and walked him to bring pinch hitter Patrick Savage up.
A low strike call on Savage sent the Auburn dugout into a frenzy as Pawlowski came out to argue the call. He was quickly ejected from the game to put some life into the Tigers. Getting a pitch to hit, Savage ripped a single to right field to score Wacker and when the Ole Miss right fielder booted the ball both runners advanced to second and third. A wild pitch then allowed Cooper to score and make it 4-2 Auburn.
Pawlowski argues the call
On in relief for Auburn on the mound, Trey Cochran-Gill got Bousfield to hit a ground ball to Dan Glevenyak at shortstop to start the eighth inning, but a high throw pulled Cooper off the bag and brought the tying run to the plate for Ole Miss. That immediately brought Scott Foxhall out of the Auburn dugout to bring on Dedrick.
Dominating in SEC play the last month, Dedrick left a pitch out over the plate that Sikes Orvis didn't miss. Robbed of a three-run homer earlier in the game by Kelley, this time Orvis put the ball high off the batter's eye in center field for a two-run shot to tie the game and set the table for Tomscha's dramatics in the bottom of the inning to give the Tigers the victory.
Auburn returns to action Tuesday night at 6:30 at Jacksonville State.