AU Falls 5-2 To Rebs; Tournament Hopes Slim

Auburn fell 5-2 to Ole Miss on Sunday to see its tournament hopes take a serious hit.

Oxford, Miss.--Auburn got its third consecutive solid start as junior Luke Greinke gave the Tigers a chance to win on Sunday, but the combination of Cody Satterwhite and Scott Bittle was even better as they gave up just four hits in a 5-2 victory to win the series.

With the loss Auburn falls to 27-25 and 11-16 in SEC play and is in serious jeopardy of not making the SEC Tournament. Ole Miss improves to 33-20, 14-13 in conference play.

Following a Saturday game that saw the Tigers pound Ole Miss pitching for 11 runs, Satterwhite and in particular Bittle did a number on Auburn's hitters on Sunday. Satterwhite when the first five innings, allowing just a two-run home run by Joseph Sanders in the first inning. Bittle came on to pitch the final four innings, allowing just two hits and striking out seven. Coach Tommy Slater said their performance was the difference.

"We had our opportunities," Slater said. "We put up the two in the first and had the leadoff runner on in the fourth, we get the leadoff on in the fifth, and the first two guys on in the sixth. We had our opportunities to put more than two up early and just didn't capitalize on those. Bittle is as good as we've seen. He broke our hitters down. His split-finger was outstanding and his slider was outstanding. His numbers speak for themselves."

Now 11-16 in league play, Auburn is forced to get a sweep next week against LSU to have any hope of postseason play and it still may not be enough. That's because everything Auburn needed to happen over the weekend went almost exactly the opposite with LSU sweeping Mississippi State to improve to 15-11-1. Alabama won two of three from Florida and stands at 14-13, three games up on Auburn with the tiebreaker. An Arkansas sweep of South Carolina gives the Hogs a two and a half game lead on Auburn in the race with struggling Mississippi State coming to Arkansas next weekend.

In the East Georgia clinched the overall SEC title by winning two of three from Vanderbilt in Nashville and moving to 19-7-1. Vanderbilt falls to 15-11 in league play. Kentucky's sweep of Tennessee moves the Wildcats to 14-13 while Florida falls to 14-13. South Carolina at 13-14 is currently two games up on Auburn with Tennessee coming to Columbia.

Auburn's chances come down to just a few things. First of all Auburn must sweep. No question about that. The Tigers must then get a sweep of two of either South Carolina, Arkansas or Kentucky to move into the top eight.

Sunday's game was a case of missed opportunities for Auburn although it got off to a good start. In the first Trent Mummey worked a walk from Satterwhite and scored ahead of a two-run homer by Sanders, his second in two days. Leading 2-0, Greinke did a very solid job as he held Ole Miss scoreless until the fifth when Matt Smith homered to lead off the inning and cut Auburn's lead to just one.

The Rebels then tied the game in the sixth as Jordan Henry singled to lead things off and moved to second on a wild pitch. Following a sacrifice bunt, Logan Power singled home Henry to tie the game up at two. With Bittle dominating Auburn on the mound, Ole Miss put the game away in the seventh thanks to plenty of help from the Tigers. Facing leadoff man Michael Guerrero, Greinke got ahead 0-2 before hitting him with a pitch. Zach Miller then singled through the left side to put runners on first and second. Greinke then fielded a bunt by Tim Ferguson and threw to third, but not in time. The play loaded the bases with nobody out.

Brett Basham's sacrifice fly scored Guerrero easily from third to put Ole Miss ahead for the first time 3-2 and that would be all for Greinke as Evan Crawford came on in relief. Back to back balks by Crawford and a single closed out the scoring as Ole Miss held on for the 5-2 victory and the series win.

Auburn returns to action Tuesday with a game at Mercer scheduled for a 5 p.m. CDT start. Next weekend the Tigers host LSU for a three-game set beginning Thursday at 6 p.m.

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