Rebels Tame Tigers In Series Opener

Ole Miss used strong pitching and timely hitting to take the opening game in a three-game series against Auburn Friday night.

Oxford, Miss.--Shortstop Matt Tolbert had three hits and four RBI to lead the Ole Miss Rebels (26-4, 8-2) to a decisive 6-1 victory over the Auburn Tigers (22-10, 4-6) in the series opener between the two teams.

The Tigers and Rebels will play a doubleheader scheduled to start at noon on Sunday after Saturday's game was rained out.

Auburn starter Mike Felix struggled in the road start, giving up four runs in five and one/third innings to get the loss on the night.

"We gave a few walks and they made us pay. I was proud of them," Auburn Coach Steve Renfroe said of his team. "We got after their guy, but he was really good. It was a real good baseball game and we turned some double plays. They were just too good for us tonight. Tolbert is a great player. They're probably the best club we've seen. We just have to regroup tomorrow and get some innings out of Arnie (Arnold Hughey) and try to find a way to get some runs across."

Mike Felix

The injury bug continues to bite the Tigers as catcher Josh Sullivan became the latest to hit the shelf as a neck problem caused him to come out of Friday night's game early. Replacement Mike Hyntka came on for Auburn and drove home the Tigers' only run on a double. Renfroe said they are doubtful that Sullivan will return this weekend. It's just the latest in a long line of injuries for the Tigers this season joining first baseman Karl Amonite and third baseman Tyler Johnstone, who are both out for the season.

Ole Miss starter Mark Holliman, while struggling with his control, was tough when it mattered most against the Tigers on Friday night. Pitching seven and one/third innings, Holliman allowed just one run on seven hits while walking five Auburn hitters. Third baseman Brian Pettway came on to close the game in the eighth and held Auburn scoreless the rest of the way to preserve the Ole Miss victory.

After struggling through the first two innings Felix's wildness finally cost him in the third as the bottom of the Rebel order put the first run of the game on the board. Number eight hitter Mark Wright led off the inning by working a walk from Felix and he quickly moved to second on a wild pitch.

That proved to be big as the Rebels moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt to set the stage for Friday's hitting hero Tolbert. Getting his pitch, he drilled it into left field for a single to score Wright. Fortunately for the Felix he got a ground ball from Seth Smith to Tug Hulett that started a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. Trailing just 1-0 Auburn was looking for something offensively, but it just wouldn't happen on this night.

The Rebels added to the lead in the fifth when Felix finally lost the battle on a tough night in Oxford. After getting two baserunners aboard, Ole Miss was looking for the big hit and it came from Tolbert. Not one of the Rebels' power guys, he did just that as he drilled a three-run shot to give Ole Miss a 4-0 lead and put an end to Felix's day.

Mark Wright added to the Ole Miss lead in the sixth inning with a two-RBI single off reliever Cory Dueitt. That would be all the Rebels would need as they held on for the victory.

Both Sean Gamble and Chuck Jeroloman had two hits for the Tigers while Hyntka, Ben Sprague and Derek Sain rounded out the offense for Auburn on a night when they just couldn't get anything going offensively.

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