Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn outpowered by Ole Miss in game one of College World Series

Auburn pitcher Joseph Gonzalez (45) winds up during the game against South Carolina at Plainsman Park on Sunday, April 24, 2022. The Tigers defeated the Gamecocks 2-0. Photo by Daniel Schmidt
Auburn pitcher Joseph Gonzalez (45) winds up during the game against South Carolina at Plainsman Park on Sunday, April 24, 2022. The Tigers defeated the Gamecocks 2-0. Photo by Daniel Schmidt

The lower seeds continued their College World Series dominance, as Ole Miss defeated No. 14 Auburn for the third time this season, 5-1. The lower seed won all four of the opening round matchups of the College World Series without trailing.

“I just think their approach created some fortune for them whereas ours did not,” said head coach Butch Thompson. “Both teams struck out 13 times in the ballgame, but it just didn’t seem like we were ever in an [advantageous] count… It seemed like the whole game we were trying to make contact more than just trying to get in some advantageous situations.”

This game was a tale of one ace being dominant and the other being so-so. Ole Miss starter Dylan DeLucia shut down the Auburn bats for 7.2 innings, allowing just one run on four hits and striking out 10.

“I think the biggest thing was first-pitch strikes: not necessarily the fastball but the off speed,” said junior Bobby Pierce. “He was just putting it where he wanted to today.”

Auburn only recorded four hits in the game, while Ole Miss consistently found the outfield grass for 11 hits. The Auburn outfielders seemed to have issues picking up the ball in the game, as a plethora of pop ups fell to the ground in front of them into the shallow outfield for hits after a late break to the ball.

The Tigers also struggled fielding in the dimensions of the ballpark at Charles Schwab field, and left fielder Mike Bello crashed into the left field fence twice early on before Brody Moore was taken out by the tarp along the left field wall while trying to run down a foul pop fly.

Opposingly, Ole Miss’ defense wasn’t tested much as DeLucia operated through the first round of Auburn’s batting order flawlessly. In fact, he was perfect through 4.2 innings, when Moore lined a single into right field, and he was pitching a shutout through his first six frames.

On the other hand, Auburn sinkerballer Joseph Gonzalez, who has been dominant closing out series’ this season, was not as brilliant in the College World Series opener, as he falls to 7-4 on the season. Giving up two runs in the first inning, he bounced back and got through five innings, but the early deficit was too much as DeLucia shaved through Auburn’s lineup early on.

Gonzalez didn’t go down easy, striking out seven Rebel hitters as opposed to one walk and stranding four runners in his five inning, four-run outing, but the Rebels made it hard for him to get the weak contact that he thrives on. 

When he allowed the first two batters to reach in the fifth inning, Carson Skipper took over for him on the mound and gave Auburn some valuable length out of the bullpen, finishing out the last four innings game and keeping things open for an offensive breakout.

However, Skipper failed to repeat his performance from game three of the Super Regionals where he fanned the first two batters he faced. He surrendered another run in the sixth and allowed Ole Miss to take a 5-0 lead despite hurler four strong innings and recording six Ks in relief to keep the Tigers in the game and allow the bullpen to stay rested.

Kicking them while they were down, the Rebels built on their two-out, two-run first-inning single from Kemp Alderman by stretching their lead to 5-0 over the Tigers after six innings. After a solo home run in the third inning from Kevin Graham, Ole Miss tacked on two more in the sixth.

When Skipper came in with two on and no outs, he looked to work around the threat and keep Auburn in the game. Following a single that loaded the bases, he induced a grounder to Blake Rambusch at third base that traded a run for a double play.

Skipper couldn’t hold things there, however, as he allowed another to cross on a single from TJ McCants to cap off the Ole Miss scoring. 

The Auburn offense, despite getting shut down by Rebel closer Josh Mallitz, got in the last punch of the night with a run on three straight hits in the seventh inning from Garrett Farquhar, Sonny DiChiara and then Pierce knocked a single through the left side for Auburn’s one and only RBI of the game to finally get to DeLucia.

Auburn failed to keep it up against Mallitz for the final four outs, however, as he sat down three of four Auburn hitters on strikes to end the ballgame.

“One loss isn’t going to kill us, and we’re going to come back Monday fighting,” Pierce said. “We’re a team that’s going to fight every game no matter what- if we’re down five or up 10. Whatever it is, we’re going to fight.”

Pierce’s teammates reiterated the notion that Auburn will fight to the end. Auburn was never swept in a series this season, and it only lost consecutive regular-season contest three times throughout the regular season. 

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Auburn Plainsman delivered to your inbox

“Today wasn’t really a true testimony to who we are,” Skipper said. “Monday’s going to be a different story. It’s how you respond and bounce back that defines who you are.”

With the loss, Auburn (42-21) will take tomorrow off before squaring up with No. 2 Stanford in an elimination game at 1 p.m. CST on Monday in Omaha on ESPN. Stanford is also looking to bounce back after it lost 17-2 to Arkansas on Saturday.

As the one team in Auburn’s bracket that reigns from outside the SEC, the Cardinal of Stanford are foreign territory. However, Auburn did take out Stanford’s Pac-12 foe Oregon State in the Super Regionals en route to Omaha. 

“The SEC teams are familiar, but we still have to do a lot of work on each team,” Thompson said. “36 of the last 40 [National Championship] winners have won that first game, so it’s a tall order, but that’s what’s good about the way the tournament is set up… We’ll spend a lot of time on Stanford tomorrow.”

Noah Griffith | Assistant Sports Editor

Noah is a senior in journalism from Salem, Alabama. He joined the Plainsman in August of 2021 after transferring in from Southern Union Community College.

Twitter: @NoahGG01

Share and discuss “Auburn outpowered by Ole Miss in game one of College World Series” on social media.