With a seven-game losing streak hanging over its head, Auburn needed someone to step up and deliver a special performance. Keegan Thompson did just that.
Thompson (6-4) fired six hitless innings leading No. 23 Auburn to a 4-1 victory over Ole Miss. It was the Tigers’ first victory since April 29 at Mississippi State.
“It was huge for us,” Thompson said about snapping the season-high losing streak. “Losing the last two series, it was very important to come out and get a win tonight and get our confidence back. It’s big time for us, helping with our postseason chances.
“I tried to work ahead with the fastball, and the slider was working for me tonight with two strikes. They didn’t really see the spin well, I don’t think, and they were chasing some balls in the dirt with two strikes that allowed me to get the strikeouts.”
Thompson, who had his start cut short by a one hour, 13 minute lightning delay, allowed just two base runners, both by way of walks. He struck out eight, tying a season-high, in what was likely his final start at Plainsman Park.
“I just thought he pitched like an ace tonight. Keegan Thompson was an ace,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. “A ball club that needs him, we’re trying to get to 15 conference wins for the second time since 2003, he took the ball and lightning was the only thing that could stop him tonight. With the six innings and the no hits, he just threw an unbelievable ballgame.”
Ole Miss designated hitter Tim Rowe hit a leadoff double in the eighth inning off Auburn reliever Cole Lipscomb to break up the combined no-hitter.
Auburn grabbed an early lead in the second inning when Sam Gillikin scored on an error by Ole Miss shortstop Grae Kessinger.
The Tigers then piled on with a three-run fourth inning, highlighted by a two-run home run into the Ole Miss bullpen by Daniel Robert.
Lipscomb pitched the final three innings for the Tigers, picking up his sixth save of the season. He allowed one run on three hits and struck out four.
Robert finished 2-for-4 with two RBI for the Tigers. Dylan Ingram also had two hits for Auburn.
Ole Miss starter James McArthur lasted just 3.1 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits. He fell to 3-6 on the season. Tate Blackman, Will Golsan and Rowe had the only hits for the Rebels. Houston Roth and Brady Feigl held Auburn to one run over the final 4.2 innings.
Auburn improved to 33-21 overall and 15-13 in the SEC. The Rebels fell to 31-23 and 13-15.
Auburn and Ole Miss will continue its series at 6 p.m. Friday. Casey Mize, who was Auburn’s scheduled starter, was scratched due to his arm fatigue returning. Davis Daniel will be on the mound for the Tigers.