OXFORD, Miss. – The magic continued in extra-inning games on Friday night as No. 16 Ole Miss (23-8, 5-5 SEC) got a three-run home run from Austin Anderson in the 13th inning to lift the Rebels to an 8-5 win over Auburn (19-12, 5-5 SEC) in the series opener.
With two men on and one out on the board, Auburn set up to intentionally walk Anderson for the third straight time on the night. The Tiger pitcher left the ball too close to the plate, however, and Anderson sent the ball over the fence in right field to snag the win for the Rebels.
Ole Miss is now 4-0 at home this season in extra-inning games.
Josh Laxer (2-0) picked up the win in relief as Ole Miss rallied from a 5-2 deficit and overcame a five-error night to take the victory. Laxer worked 2.2 innings on the night, allowing three hits and striking out two batters.
He was the third pitcher for the Rebels as Chris Ellis worked 5.2 innings in the start, allowing five runs – one earned – on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Aaron Greenwood tied a career-long with 4.2 innings of work and allowed only three hits.
Jay Wade (3-1) took the loss for the Tigers, working the final 5.0 innings in relief of starter Dillon Ortman. Wade allowed six runs on 11 hits with two walks and four strikeouts as the Rebels rallied to tie the game in the eighth and then claimed the win in the 13th.
“It was almost like two different games,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We started off so badly. We were just horrendous in the field and it just really didn’t give us a chance in the game. Chris (Ellis) really competed and kept it close where it could have gotten ugly with that many errors out on the field. One of the things that will surely get lost in all of this is we kept it close enough. The offense really took over late in the game. They tied it up. When (Aaron) Greenwood came in, we played great defense. The pitching was excellent. We were in position to score several times and couldn’t get the big hit.”
Auburn got on the board in the first inning, pushing home an unearned run when Jordan Ebert scored on a throwing error to second on a steal attempt.
The Tigers took the lead out to 2-0 with a single run in the fifth, using a sac fly from Ebert with the bases loaded to score the second run of the night. A single, and two hit batters loaded the bases before the Ebert fly ball to right would bring home Blake Austin.
Ole Miss answered with two runs in the home half of the fifth, tying the game on a two-out rally. Sikes Orvis reached when he was hit by a pitch and then stole second. Preston Overbey then delivered a two-out, bloop single over the head of the second baseman to bring Orvis home and get the Rebels on the board. Errol Robinson drove a ball back up the middle to mush Overbey into scoring position before Braxton Lee brought him home with a single to left center and tied the game at 2-2.
The Tigers had an answering rally in the top of the sixth, using a fielding error at first to put the leadoff man on. A single and a sac bunt put two in scoring position before Auburn’s Austin drove a two-RBI double to left. He then scored two batters later on a single from Keegan Thompson to take the lead out to 5-2 in favor of the Tigers.
It took two more innings, but the Rebels got the runs back in the eighth with a second rally on the night.
A single from Anderson and back-to-back doubles from Allen and Orvis brought the first run home and left two in scoring position. J.B. Woodman drove a ball back up the middle to score Allen and push Orvis to third as the lead was cut to one at 5-4. A sac fly from Will Jamison scored Orvis and tied the game at five before the Tigers would get out of the inning.
The two teams fought through the next four innings with each squad squelching rallies with solid pitching and defense.
Ole Miss got runners in scoring position in the ninth, 11th and 12th innings but Auburn escaped each jam, while the Rebels got out of the 11th, 12th and 13th innings by stranding Tiger runners in scoring position. Then Ole Miss broke through in the home half of the 13th.
Lee singled to open the inning and Auston Bousfield followed it up with a ball to center that dropped in front of a sliding centerfield, getting past the defender for a double and putting two men in scoring position. Auburn then intended to walk the Rebels’ Anderson, after also intentionally walking him in the ninth and 11th, but the senior had different plans as he sent the first pitch over the fence in right for the win.
Ole Miss and Auburn return to action with a pair of games on Saturday at Swayze Field. Game one of the day’s doubleheader will begin at 3 p.m. with the second game beginning 45 minutes after the conclusion of game one. The doubleheader is the result of impending inclement weather on Sunday as the two teams agreed to move the series finale to Saturday.
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