Auburn, which beat Kentucky 4-3 in extra innings Tuesday, is 2-0 in the SEC tournament for the first time since 1999.
The Tigers, led by true freshmen Tanner Burns and Edouard Julien, came back from down two runs to defeat the No. 2 seed Rebels 9-3 in the second round of the SEC tournament at the Hoover Met.
The freshman right-hander allowed only one earned run in 7.0 innings pitched, and Julien hit his third grand slam of the season in the top of the ninth inning to all but seal the game.
“I thought it was a great bounce-back for Tanner Burns,” Auburn coach Butch Thompson said. “For him to come back and pitch the way he did, I respect that. That’s the first thing that Coach (Mike) Bianco said to me and I couldn’t agree more. That was huge.
“Edouard’s last swing at the bat was the culmination of our guys just hanging in there. A great ballgame. We’ve had two opportunities on two great teams that we’ve lost the series to, to get the opportunity to play them here at the tournament and we’ve made the most of it so far.”
Burns (6-4) allowed six hits and struck out three on a career-high 105 pitches. The only blemish came off of a Will Holland throwing error in the third inning, which plated two runs for Ole Miss, and a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
“They beat us up two weeks ago. That gave us a chip on our shoulder and now we've got a lot of confidence, especially heading into the rest of the tournament,” Burns said.
Auburn reliever Calvin Coker held the Rebel offense to one hit over the final 2.0 innings to pick up his seventh save of the season.
It was, however, a slow start for the SEC's leader in runs scored. The Tiger offense could not register a hit until the sixth inning when Josh Anthony blooped a single over the shortstop's head into shallow left field.
Momentum shifted in favor of the Tigers when back-to-back baserunners chased Ole Miss starter Ryan Rolison from the game. Shortly after, the play of the game came in the top of the seventh inning when Auburn's Conor Davis cranked a bases-loaded, RBI double over the right fielder's head to tie the game 2-2.
It was all Tigers from that point on. Luke Jarvis would score from third on a passed ball later in the inning, giving Auburn its first lead of the game, and they never looked back.
“I thought that showed me the most about our ball club is how they continued to play in the middle innings of not scoring and then just waiting, waiting, hanging in there until they got the opportunity,” Thompson said. “Conor had the big swing that made us feel like it was going to be possible today. I thought that was huge.”
The Tigers gave Burns some insurance in the eighth when Estes drove home two with a bases-loaded double just inside the third base line and four more with two outs in the ninth when Julien slugged an opposite-field grand slam over the left field wall, his 15th home run of the season.
“I was just coming here to help the team win,” said Julien, who had a walk-off RBI single in the 11th inning against Kentucky Tuesday. “To come here and have two wins already is huge for us. All my life I’ve dreamed of playing college baseball and to be here with Auburn and to win two games, that’s big for me.”
Julien was 2-of-4 with two runs scored and four RBI, Estes 2-of-5 with two RBI, Josh Anthony 2-of-4 and Davis 1-of-3 with two RBI.
Auburn improves to 39-19 overall while Ole Miss falls to 42-15.
All-American right-hander Casey Mize (9-4, 2.94) will start for Auburn against the Aggies. Junior right-hander Mitchell Kilkenny (8-3, 3.00) is expected to start for TAMU. The game will be aired on the SEC Network.