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A spirit that is not afraid

Offensive explosion by Ole Miss proves to be too much for Auburn in series finale

<p>Pitcher Trace Bright (21) winds up to throw a pitch against Ole Miss on march 19.&nbsp;</p>

Pitcher Trace Bright (21) winds up to throw a pitch against Ole Miss on march 19. 

After a Friday night game where the Auburn offense came alive for 19 runs, Auburn’s bats could not produce much on the way to a 15-2 loss in the game three series finale against No.1 Ole Miss.

All seemed to be going well for the Tigers through the first two innings of play. 

Starting pitcher Trace Bright struck out four to start his day, but Ole Miss pitcher Jack Dougherty did the exact same. 

It was not until the third inning that the scoring opened up, and it proved big for the Rebels. 

After a walk to Ole Miss shortstop Jacob Gonzalez, Peyton Chatagnier hit a ball that hit off Auburn left fielder Mike Bello, which scored Gonzalez. The Rebels eventually scored another run to gain a 3-0 lead.

The Tigers got their own scoring in the bottom half of the third. 

With two runners on, Auburn catcher Ryan Dyal hit a single through the right side that scored Kason Howell. Auburn did not find many runs after that moment though.

“We just did not play offense today,” said Auburn baseball coach Butch Thompson. “Our bats just weren’t good enough.”

The Ole Miss offense was able to continue its power though. 

Hudson Sapp came in to pinch hit for right fielder TJ McCants in the fifth, and hit a hard double into the right center gap, scoring two runs in the process. This was followed up by a towering Tim Elko home run over the left field wall.

The sixth presented much of the same for the Rebels, as the inning began with back-to-back home runs from Hayden Leatherwood and Kemp Alderman. Both homers helped Ole Miss in scoring eight runs combined in the fifth and sixth frames. 

It was the offense that the Rebels needed after a lackluster game two for them.

In the span of those two inning frames, Auburn was forced to make two pitching changes due to the offense being produced by the Rebels. Bright was replaced by Blake Burkhalter in the fifth, and Burkhalter was replaced by Tommy Sheehan in the sixth. 

Sheehan immediately gave up a single to Chatagnier that went into left field. This hit scored Reagan Burford from third, and Gonzalez from second, giving the Rebels a commanding 11-1 lead. Ole Miss went on to score four more runs in the game. 

Meanwhile, Auburn’s offense continued to be stagnant after the third inning. While the offense racked up nine hits in total, it only scored one more run, which came in the sixth inning off of an RBI by Howell. The Tigers left 12 runners on base, with many of those being in scoring position.

“I was probably more disappointed today that we never put together an inning,” Thompson said. “They [Ole Miss] absolutely tore it up to start. I thought the second half of the game we had a chance to do some of that even if you don’t catch them in the score, but we never really got it going offensively.”

Trace Bright was credited with the loss for Auburn, falling to 2-1 on the year, while Jack Dougherty picked up the win for the Rebels, moving to 1-0 on the season. Auburn’s record is now 14-6 overall, and 1-2 in conference play.

The Tigers will play South Alabama on Tuesday at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, with first pitch set for 6 p.m. CST.

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Tyler Raley | Sports Writer

Tyler Raley is a junior from Birmingham, Alabama, majoring in journalism.

Twitter: @traley34

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