Tigers Caged

Drew Pomeranz struck out 10 and the Rebel offense was more than effective as seventh-ranked Ole Miss beat Auburn 9-2 in game one of a three-game series at Auburn.

"You know I really don't think it was Drew's best day," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "He had an explosive fast ball today, but his curve ball was 50-50. He threw a couple of good changeups, but they don't have many right-handed hitters."

Pomeranz went six complete, allowing just one run on three hits with 10 strikeouts and three walks, facing 23 Tiger batters.

"He was able to battle out there. One of the thing that gets lost with Drew is that people don't ever talk about his competitiveness," Bianco said. "Tonight he had to sit during a couple of long innings. It looked like in the sixth he might not make it through. Then he got a big strikeout and got a pop up or ground out and got out of the inning. He's one of those aces on Friday night. He's a warrior out there."

Pomeranz said his fast ball was the key.

"My fast ball has been more consistently hard than in the past," the sophomore left-hander said. "Being consistent with the speed of my fast ball helped me out a lot today."

Auburn had 97 home runs entering the contest but didn't get any off Pomeranz or reliever Rory McKean.

"Just keeping the fast ball down and getting ahead of them so they don't know which pitch is coming," Pomeranz said. "I think that's a big key to that."

McKean, a junior reliever, went three innings, and his line looked a lot like that of Pomeranz – one run, three hits, two strikeouts and no walks, facing 11.

With the Rebels clinging to a 2-1 lead after four complete, the visitors added four runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to put this one away, especially with the defense and pitching they were getting. The four-run fifth was especially big as the Rebels sent nine men to the plate, and after there were two outs, the Rebels got four singles and a double, aided by a Tiger error, to take the big lead.

"We were able to put together the big inning, and all with two outs," Bianco said. "It started with Matt Snyder's big hit and it kind of went from there."

Heads up base running on a single from Matt Snyder gave the Rebels a 3-1 lead in the fifth, as Henry moved from first to third on the single to right from Snyder, but a throwing error from the right fielder sent the ball sailing into left field and allowed Henry to score on the play.

Two batters later, with Snyder on third and Smith on second, Miller came up with a two-RBI single to left field to push both runners home and give Ole Miss a 5-1 lead.

The Rebels continued to build on the lead in the sixth as Henry again scored from first on a double off the wall from Power, pushing the advantage out to 7-1. Ole Miss tacked on another run with a single up the middle from Snyder that scored Power. The Rebels went on to load the bases before Henson drew a walk to push another run across and leave Ole Miss with a 9-1 run after five complete.

Snyder was 3-for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Phillips was 2-for-2 with three RBI.

"Big night for David Phillips," he said. "I thought a huge play in the game was when David getting an assist throwing out (Trent) Mummey (at second base) in the first inning. If you don't throw him out, all of a sudden they're going to bunt and they've got three, four, five coming in, and it could be a different baseball. So we needed that play to get us out. He got three RBI with two outs tonight. It was a big night for him."

Ole Miss outhit Auburn 11-6 in the contest. Pomeranz (5-2) got the win. Tiger starter Jon Luke Jacobs (3-4), the first of three AU pitchers that saw action, got the loss. McKean got his first save of the campaign.

An announced crowd of 2,303 saw the Rebels improve to 34-13 overall and 14-8 in SEC play, while Auburn fell to 27-20 and 8-14.

"This was definitely a great start for us this weekend, especially when you look at the conference. Everybody's neck and neck. We just came out with a game plan and stuck to it, scored nine runs and it was a great win for us."

"A lot of guys in the lineup did a great job. David Phillips had those two-out hits, and that's a back-breaker," Smith said. "Anytime a team gets those type hits against, you it just takes the steam out of you."

And when it happens for you, then you get a big win, just like the Rebels did in game one at Auburn.

Game two is set for 6 p.m. and will be televised live on CSS.

Sophomore LHP Grant Dayton (2-4, 5.06) is scheduled to start for Auburn, while junior RHP Phillip Irwin (5-3, 4.01) is set to go for Ole Miss.

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