OXFORD, Miss. – An uncharacteristic first inning that saw five errors committed by the normally defensive minded Rebels proved to be too much to overcome as No. 12 Ole Miss (15-4, 1-1 SEC) fell to Auburn (11-8, 1-1 SEC) by a score of 10-4 on Saturday.
With the series tied at one following the Saturday game, the Rebels will play for the weekend series at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.
R.J. Hively (3-1) took his first loss of the season despite a solid outing that saw him work a career-long 7.0 innings. The senior right-hander allowed five runs, but only one earned, on six hits with four strikeouts and no walks in his time on the mound.
Following the rough first inning that saw the Rebels commit five errors on the way to surrendering five runs, Hively retired 18 of the next 20 batters across the next six innings of play to give the Rebels a chance to rally.
Ole Miss cut the lead to one in the sixth inning, but a Tiger grand slam in the eighth inning as a part of another five-run frame, put the game out of reach and evened the weekend series.
Will Kendall (3-0) picked up the win for Auburn, allowing four runs on four hits with two walks and a strikeout across 5.0 innings of work. Slade Smith then picked up his second save of the season, working the final 4.0 innings and limiting the Rebels to four hits with two strikeouts.
“It was obviously a tough inning for us and is something we are not accustomed to,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We made four or five errors in the first. We just couldn’t get out of the inning. It’s unfortunate for R.J. (Hively). I thought he had some good stuff, I thought he dominated and was great. He got us out of the inning and held them after the five run first.
“We weren’t able to do much offensively today and that was disappointing,” Bianco said. “We also weren’t able to execute different things. If you are not going to do that, you have to be clean on the field and pitch well. We weren’t clean on the field today. I have to give credit to Auburn they felt the pressure in the eighth inning and were able to put a big inning together.”
The Tigers used the five-run first inning to take the 5-0 lead on the Rebels right out of the gates, mixing in three hits on the way to the early lead.
Ole Miss chipped away at the lead across the next five innings to cut the lead to one at 5-4.
The Rebels got a single run in the second inning when Will Allen scored on a single from Preston Overbey, before Overbey would come up with a two-run home run in the fourth inning to cut the lead to two runs at 5-3.
Ole Miss pulled within a run of the Tigers in the sixth inning, using an RBI double from Matt Snyder to drive in Alex Yarbrough and put the Rebels in striking distance at 5-4.
Auburn responded with its second five-run inning of the day in the eighth, getting a grand slam out of Zach Alvord to cap the big inning and put the score at its final margin of 10-4.
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