Last Stand?

Drew Pomeranz said he didn't give much thought to the fact that he might have pitched his last game on Swayze Field. The Rebels, who lost to Auburn 5-3 Thursday night, have backed themselves into quite a corner if they want to play at home again this season - in the postseason, that is.

"I really didn't think about that," said Pomeranz, who left the game with his team up 3-2 in the top of the eighth and two Tigers aboard. "I just went out there to try to make pitches."

Closer Brett Huber, so successful all season with 10 saves, inherited those two runners, then got two outs. But before he could get a third out, pinch-hitter Kevin Patterson did what Auburn has become famous for this season. He hit a home run, the 108th this year for the Tigers, to put his team up two runs.

That would prove to be enough as the Rebels couldn't muster any runs in the last two frames to fall to 36-18 overall and two games behind Auburn in the SEC West chase at 16-12. The Tigers are 37-17 and 18-10.

"I left it a little up," Huber said of the slider he threw Patterson. "I made one mistake tonight and they capitalized on it."

"A great college baseball game," Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. "Both teams competed really hard. Peterson's home run was the difference, along with them getting a couple of big base hits."

A leadoff home run by Dan Gamache in the top of the third inning made it 1-0 Tigers. The Rebels went ahead 3-1 on one swing of the bat by Taylor Hashman in the bottom of the sixth after Matt Smith had walked and Matt Snyder had singled.

Auburn got a run back in the top of the seventh. A Casey McElroy single got Brian Fletcher home after he had reached on a single and moved to third base on a Tony Caldwell single.

The Tigers moved back ahead in the top of the eighth when Patterson sent the three-run blast over the visiting bullpen in right field. Justin Fradejas had walked and Trent Mummey got aboard by an infield base hit. That chased Pomeranz, and in came Huber.

The Rebels outhit the Tigers 10-9, and offense had been a point of emphasis all week. Things were improved but not good enough.

"I thought we swung the bats much better," Bianco said. "After about the second inning on, I thought our guys swung it aggressively. But it's not about how many hits, it's about how many runs you score. We weren't good with runners in scoring position."

And Auburn was.

Game two of this series is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday. RHP Aaron Barrett (7-2, 3.26) will start for the Rebels, while LHP Cole Nelson (6-3, 4.60) goes for Auburn.

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