Ole Miss starter Craig Rodriguez was the star of the day for the Rebels as he threw his first complete game in just his second start of the season, allowing seven hits and two runs while striking out five. Auburn's Brett Butts took the loss, giving up six runs in four and two/thirds inning. The loss drops Auburn to 14-19 overall and 3-7 in SEC play while Ole Miss improves to 18-12, 5-5 in league play.
Looking to get off to a good the Tigers came out swinging in the first against Rodriguez but not before leadoff man Tyler Johnstone did his thing and earned a walk to get the game started. Back in the lineup after suffering a strained hamstring, right fielder Russell Dixon singled on the first pitch he saw to put Auburn in business.
Continuing the early success, third baseman Mike Bianucci singled as well to load the bases with nobody out. The Tigers then manufactured two runs as Josh Donaldson lifted a fly ball to score Johnstone and advance Dixon to third. The sophomore then scored moments later on a groundout by Andy Bennett to put the Tigers up 2-0 after their first at-bat.
After getting through the first inning unscathed Butts wasn't as fortunate in the second as the Rebels took the lead for good with three innings against the sophomore. Leading off the inning, Zack Cozart singled and quickly stole second. Butts then walked Alex Presley to put himself into a jam early in the contest. Right fielder Mark Wright followed with a single off the glove of Justin Bristow at short that scored Cozart from second and moved Presley to third with still nobody out.
Butts then hurt himself as he uncorked a wild pitch to score Presley for the inning's second run. After striking out the next two hitters he faced, Butts gave up a two-out single to number nine hitter Evan Button. The hit scored Wright to put Ole Miss up 3-2 and Rodriguez dominated things from there.
After giving up three hits and two runs in the first inning, Rodriguez only allowed four hits the rest of the way as he controlled Auburn's hitters in the victory. With a one-run lead the Rebels went back to work in the fifth and would bring an end to Butts' day with three more runs in the sixth. With one out in the inning Justin Henry singled to right field to get things going for Ole Miss.
After a fly ball to Dixon for out number two, Butts' day fell apart as Chris Coghlan singled to left field to put runners on first and third with two outs. Cozart then doubled to score a run and leave runners on second and third with two outs. Following a Presley walk to once again load the bases, Wright got his second hit of the day to drive home two more runs and put Ole Miss up 6-2.
Auburn reliever Andy Masten came on to finish the fifth, but his success on the mound would be short-lived as the Rebels finished off the Tigers in the seventh inning with five runs. The big blow came with the bases loaded as catcher Justin Brashear took a Masten pitch deep over the wall for a grand slam. It was Brashear's sixth home run of the season and extended the Rebel lead to 11-2. Ole Miss added three runs in the bottom of the eighth to make the final of game one 14-2.
The one bright spot for the Auburn offense was the play of freshmen Bianucci and Greinke. Bianucci continued his torrid pace with four hits in four at-bats while Greinke added two hits as well. The two combined for all but one of Auburn's hits on the day. Cozard and Wright both had four hits for the Rebels with Wright adding five RBI for the game.
The teams will play the second game of the doubleheader with an expected start time of 6:10.