Tigers Shut Down By Ole Miss In Series Opener

Auburn fell 9-2 to Ole Miss Friday night for its sixth consecutive loss in conference play.

Auburn, Ala.--Ole Miss starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz held Auburn to one run on three hits and struck out 10 in six innings as the Rebels pounded the Tigers 9-2 to open the series Friday night at Plainsman Park. Holding a slim 2-1 lead in the fifth, Ole Miss scored seven runs in two innings to break the game open and get the win.

With the loss Auburn falls to 27-20 overall and 8-14 in SEC play. With a Kentucky win over Tennessee, the Tigers are now tied for ninth place in the league two games behind South Carolina and two and a half games behind Vanderbilt. Ole Miss improves to 34-13, 14-8 in conference games. Coach John Pawlowski said two innings cost his team dearly as the Rebels took advantage of the opportunities for the win.

"It was a 2-1 ballgame and we're keeping the game close," Pawlowski said. "The next thing you know they're scoring seven runs in the middle three innings. All of the sudden the game is out of hand. They did a good job. Pomeranz threw the ball very well. We weren't able to build any innings off him. That was the biggest difference."

On the mound Auburn starter Jon Luke Jacobs allowed six earned runs on nine hits in four and two/thirds innings to get the loss and fall to 3-4. Reliever Chris O'Neil allowed three runs in just two/thirds of an inning while Sean Ray was the star of the night for the Tigers, pitching three scoreless innings of hitless baseball in the loss.

At the plate Justin Hargett and Hunter Morris had two hits each, combining for four of Auburn's six hits on the night with Hargett's triple in the eighth inning Auburn's only extra-base hit. Ole Miss was led by Matt Snyder's three hits, part of an 11-hit attack for the Rebels.

Ole Miss got on the board first in the top of the second as Jacobs walked Matt Smith to open the inning and Zach Miller followed with a single to give the Rebels something to work with. Following a sacrifice bunt, David Phillips' fly ball to center field easily scored Smith to make it 1-0 Ole Miss.

That's how things would remain until Auburn finally got on the board against Pomeranz in the third. Once again it was the leadoff walk that would victimize a pitcher as Wes Gilmer walked, moved to second on a Dan Gamache sacrifice bunt, and scored on a single to left by Justin Hargett.

With the score now tied at 1-1, Ole Miss began to pull away from Auburn. In the fourth a one out double by Smith eventually led to a Rebel run on an RBI single by Phillips. The Rebels added to the lead in the fifth thanks to some shaky defense from the Tigers and another costly walk by Jacobs.

Always dangerous, speedy Brett Henry worked a one-out walk from Jacobs in the fifth, but it looked like it would be for nothing as he recovered to strike out Logan Power for the second out of the inning. Things quickly fell apart for Jacobs though as Matt Snyder singled to right field. Not slowing down, Henry advanced to third and scored when Ben Jones' throw bounced away from Casey McElroy covering second base.

Things went from bad to worse as Smith doubled as part of five consecutive hits for the Rebels off Jacobs before reliever O'Neil came on in relief. By that time the lead had ballooned to 6-1 with runners on first and second. O'Neil came in to get Kevin Mort on a fly ball to right field to end the inning with the Tigers down by five.

Ole Miss wasn't done though as they came back in the sixth with three more runs before Ray came on to finish out the inning and retire the Rebels. He came back to pitch a scoreless seventh inning, but Auburn still found itself down 9-1 heading to the bottom of the inning.

That was the end of the day for Pomeranz as he gave way to Montgomery's Rory McKean after allowing just a run on three hits and striking out a career-high 10 hitters. He pitched the final three innings to earn the save, allowing just a single run in the ninth inning after back-to-back singles from Morris and Kevin Patterson.

Auburn and Ole Miss play game two of the series Saturday night at 6 p.m. with sophomore Grant Dayton getting the start for the Tigers against Phillip Irwin for the Rebels. Saturday's game can be seen live on CSS.

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