AUBURN, Ala. - For only the third time this season the Rebels dropped a game when scoring first as Ole Miss (23-16, 8-8 SEC) fell to Auburn (21-16, 8-8 SEC) by a score of 6-3 at Plainsman Park on Thursday night.
The Rebels held a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning, but Auburn pushed two runs across the plate in the bottom of the seventh to take the lead and added two more runs in the eighth inning on the way to the 6-3 win.
Brett Huber (2-1) suffered the loss in relief as he allowed three runs on four hits in 1.1 innings of work. Crouse, who drew his 10th start of the season, worked 6.0 innings and left the game with the Rebels on top 3-2. It is the eighth time this season that Crouse has allowed two runs or less in a start.
Ethan Wallen (4-3) picked up the relief win for the Tigers, working 2.0 innings and allowing one run on three hits. Dillon Ortman picked up his third save of the year as he worked the ninth with two strikeouts.
"It was a tough night," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "We competed hard and had a chance to win. You have to tip your hat to Auburn
Ole Miss got on the board first, using a two-out double from Matt Tracy to drive in two runs. Blake Newalu and Matt Smith both drew walks to get on base before the Tracy hit to right center drove both men in to give the Rebels the early 2-0 lead.
Auburn got a run back in the second when Dan Gamache hit a solo shot to right field that cut the lead to 2-1 in favor of the Rebels.
The Tigers tied things in the third when Bobby Andrews came up with a single through the right side to score Creede Simpson. Simpson doubled off the wall in left before moving to third on a groundout to short. He scored a batter later on the Andrews single. The Tigers would load the bases later in the inning, but Crouse got an infield fly and a fly out to center to get out of the jam with the score tied at two.
The Rebels moved back into the lead in the seventh inning with an RBI double from Preston Overbey that scored Matt Snyder from third. Snyder reached on a single and took second on a throwing error by the Auburn second baseman on a grounder from Austin Anderson. A groundout moved both base runners into scoring position before the Overbey double that put Ole Miss on top 3-2.
Auburn evened it back up in the bottom of the frame, using three straight singles to open the frame and drive home a run. A fielding error loaded the bases with no outs before a sac fly gave the Tigers the lead back at 4-3.
Kevin Patterson added a home run in the eighth inning to put the Tigers up 5-3 before Auburn added a second run in the frame on a grounder back up the middle that bounced off the pitcher to score Justin Hargett from third. Hargett tripled in the previous at bat before scoring to put the Tigers on top 6-3.
Ole Miss mounted a rally in the ninth, putting two men on with no outs, but the Rebels couldn't get them home as Auburn shut the door on the rally.
The two teams will play game two of the series on Friday night at 6 p.m. at Plainsman Park.
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