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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn holds off Ole Miss until final inning, loses eighth SEC series

Still looking for its first SEC series, Auburn (21-24, 3-20 SEC) aimed to tie its series against Ole Miss (25-21, 9-14 SEC) on Saturday. But, the Rebels’ fifth run gave them the edge over the Tigers, securing the series with a 5-4 win. 

“It’s a close, good solid ballgame from that standpoint, but just too many times being on the wrong side of that or not having that last punch has been the story of our journey,” said Auburn head coach Butch Thompson. “And the sack fly was the difference tonight.” 

Thompson and his men continue to find momentum during conference play, losing their eighth SEC series and hope of making it to the SEC tournament. 

“You don’t want to carry, you know, anything from the past because now you can’t change it, including this game,” Thompson said. “Now that’s in the past. You’d never want to carry any of that moving forward. That absolutely is what you want to do.”

After keeping the Rebels scoreless through the first frame, the Tigers stole an early lead, scoring two runs. 

Left fielder Kaleb Freeman got things started for Auburn with a double when he launched his ball down the left field line, sending designated hitter Ike Irish and right fielder Cade Belyeu home to score. 

However, Auburn's lead did not last long as the Ole Miss offense ate at that score gap – thanks to catcher Eli Berch and center fielder Ethan Groff’s runs. 

Auburn’s offense struck again, this time in the fourth, to add two runs to the board. 

With bases loaded, third baseman Eric Guevara stepped up to the plate and hit a sacrifice fly to center field, sending Freeman home.  

After a pitching change, center fielder Chris Stanfield entered the batter’s box and singled his ball to the pitcher, giving second baseman Caden Green a chance to score. 

Once again, the Rebels refused to give the Tigers wiggle room, tying the game 4-4 at the top of the fifth. Thanks to designated hitter Andrew Fischer’s two-run home run blasted over the right field wall. 

Fast forward to the ninth, the Rebels gained offensive momentum. 

With bases loaded and one out on the board, Fischer saw his opportunity to give his team the edge. Fischer stepped up to the plate and hit a sacrifice fly to center field, so right fielder Treyson Hughes could solidify the series for Ole Miss. 

Thompson’s staff had a solid night on the mound, securing 10 strikeouts, five walks and one hit-by-pitch while allowing six hits and five runs. Comparatively, head coach Michael Bianco’s bullpen recorded nine strikeouts, five walks and three hit-by-pitches and allowed four hits and four runs. 

LHP Tanner Bauman started on the bump for the Tigers, pitching 4.2 innings. Facing 22 total batters, Bauman logged four strikeouts with one walk and one hit-by-pitch and allowed five hits and four runs. 

RHP John Armstrong relieved Bauman at the top of the fifth. Pitching 3.2 innings, Armstrong recorded six strikeouts and two walks, allowing only one hit. 

In the ninth, RHP Parker Carlson replaced Armstrong to pitch 0.2 innings, adding two walks to the stat sheet. 

Hoping to prevent a sweep, the Tigers  return to Plainsman Park for the series finale set for Sunday, May 5 at 3 p.m. CST. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network. 

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Caitlyn Griffin | Sports Reporter

Caitlyn Griffin is a sophomore from Huntsville, Alabama, majoring in journalism. She started with The Plainsman in fall 2022. 

Twitter: @caitlyngrif99

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