While Auburn's offense was on early and often, the story was Thompson. Pitching six and a third innings before allowing a hit, Thompson (3-5) carried a shutout into the ninth before allowing a two-out run scoring single. Coach Tommy Slater said Thompson's performance was as good as he's seen out of a pitcher in a long time.
"He was outstanding," Slater said. "He pitched. He located his fastball. He threw the change up a couple of times when he needed to. He threw the slider for strikes. That was a commanding pitching performance. I think Taylor would be the first to tell you that he pitched today. He's done a lot of work with Coach (Butch) Thompson in the bullpen and it's really showing. This last month he's thrown the ball as well as anybody we've got. I'm really proud of Taylor."
Coming off a solid outing last Saturday in a tough loss to Mississippi State, Thompson came back with easily his best career outing on Saturday. Allowing just four hits and four walks while striking out six, Thompson said that getting an early lead was big for him and the team to settle into Saturday's game.
"I've got to give to my offense," Thompson said. "They put runs on the board and that made it easy for me all day.
"All it was just keeping focused the whole game," Thompson added. "It's hard to do that with an 11-0 lead. Butch was in my ear all day about keeping focused. That really helped out."
At the plate Sanders and Fletcher led five Auburn players with two hits on a big offensive day for the club. With his two hits Sanders extended his hitting streak to 15 games. He said Saturday was big for the team to come back strong after Friday night's game.
"We battled last night really well," Sanders said. "We had to stay focused. We have to stay focused and battle every game so we can put ourselves in position to get into the tournament. We came out and swung the bat really well and Taylor did a great job of shutting them down."
Auburn wasted little time getting on the board against freshman lefty Drew Pomeranz as Trent Mummey led off the first with a single and quickly stole second to move into scoring position. Following a Mike Bianucci strikeout, Hunter Morris singled to left to score Mummey and give Thompson an early lead. With the big right-hander cruising on the mound, Auburn came back for more in the third.
Once again it was Mummey getting things going as he walked to lead off the inning and again stole second to get into scoring position. One out later Morris hit a tapper out in front of the plate that the Rebel catcher picked up and threw into right field. The error allowed Mummey to score and left Morris at second where he would score with two outs on Fletcher's eighth home run of the season. That put Auburn up 4-0, but that was just the beginning of a big day for the Tigers at the plate.
In the fourth David Cunningham led off with a single, his first hit of the weekend, and Justin Hargett attempted to bunt him over to second, but the ball was thrown away by Cody Overbeck at first to give the Tigers runners on second and third with nobody out. Ryan Jenkins followed with a double to right field that scored both runners to make it 6-0. Following a Mummey foul out, Bianucci singled to give the Tigers runners on the corners for Morris.
Auburn's leading hitter, Morris ripped a single to right field to score Hargett, but Bianucci was gunned down at third trying to get the extra base. It didn't matter in the grand scheme of things though as Sanders followed with a line drive home run to center field, his third of the season. The blast put Auburn up 9-0 with Thompson's job to hold the lead.
On this day that would be no problem for the sophomore from Montgomery as he continued to carve up the Rebels in every inning. Auburn added to its lead in the sixth as Mummey was hit by a pitch and moved to second on an errant throw on an attempted pick off at first. Following a one-out walk to Morris, Fletcher again came through with a double down the line in left field to score both runners. Now ahead 11-0 the only drama left was when or if Thompson would allow his first hit.
That lasted until the seventh as a one-out single by Matt Smith broke up Thompson's no-hit bid, but he responded by getting out of the inning without any damage done. In the eighth another single was erased by a double play as Thompson got out of the inning with the shutout intact. Ole Miss was able to scratch across a run in the ninth to break up the shutout, but Thompson's performance was easily the best of the year for Auburn in SEC play.