#20 Ole Miss @ #21 Auburn
- Thursday: 7 – 4 W
- Friday: 5 – 3 L
- Saturday: 6 – 5 W/10
Have you ever watched something grow up right before your eyes? If you were at Plainsman Park this weekend or were watching on the SEC Network+, you got to see it. For 28 innings this weekend Auburn battled, scratched, faultered, improved, regressed and succeeded. Such is life in the SEC, just when you think you know whats coming one weekend, the rug is yanked out from under you and you are shellshocked one way or the other. This time though the shock is one to be proud of and should not be taken lightly.
Game one started as many would expect. Garrett Wade had flashes of brilliance but also had growing pain moments, trying to start a double play at second and over throwing Will Holland and then throwing Rankin Woley off of 1st to extend innings for the Rebels and allowed them to take 4-1 lead in to the 3rd inning. That was all the Rebels would do though, thanks to the arm of Richard Fitts who was dominant, going 4.1 innings of 4 hit, 4 strikeout baseball and giving the Tiger offense time to get it in gear against Will Ethridge. Auburn was able to cut the lead to 1 in the bottom half of the 3rd and then took control in the 6th as Steven Williams sacrificed Scheffler in from 3rd. The Tigers added runs in the 7th and 8th, including this absolute bomb from the Mountie.
The Good Friday matchup was anything but for Auburn as Ole Miss had a fantastic game plan that they executed to perfection against Tanner Burns, who didn’t have his best stuff on the evening. Burns battled however, going 5 innings giving up 3 runs on 7 hits with 3 walks and 7 strike outs. Elliott Anderson was also stellar going 4 innings and only giving up 2 runs. The offense was there, getting 3 solo home runs on the evening but couldn’t get men on for those blast shots and Ole Miss secured the 5-3 win.
The rubber match saw Brooks Fuller again have a great afternoon except for 2 pitches. A solo blast and a 2 run shot off the bat of Grea Kessinger were the only runs Ole Miss could produce off the Tiger freshman as he went 4.2 innings of 5 hit, 6 strike out ball on the day. Jack Owen came in for relief and was better than could be hoped as we went 2.1 innings with a walk and a strikeout to his name. On the offensive side, Auburn was able to load the bases in the 3rd and that’s when the Mountie, who went 0-fer Friday, stepped to the plate.
At the time, it gave Auburn a 3-1 lead that was cut to 3-3 after the 2nd Kessinger HR. Fast forward to the 7th when Ryan Bliss let his bat be heard from.
Auburn would bring in the Bull who would have no trouble in the 8th but would give up a lead off HR in the 9th and would also give up a run in the 10th to make it a 5-4 game going to the bottom half against Preseason All-American Parker Caracci from Ole Miss. The Tigers would end up loading the bases with no one out. I will let the highlights do the rest of the talking.
This was a massive series win as the Tigers keep pace in the log jam that is the SEC West. Auburn finds itself 2 games out of 1st place in the Division and 3 games back from the overall 1 seed, and if you didn’t notice, the first of Auburn’s two injured starters is back, with the other one marked to return in 2 weeks. The road ahead is still very dark and full of terrors, but the confidence boost from this weekend couldn’t have come at a better time.
Pitching Performance of the Weekend
Normally, I like to choose a pitching performance in which the Tigers get a win, which definitely makes sense. But this week I think Elliott Anderson was the forgotten man in the Box Score. Anderson went 4 innings, giving up 4 hits while striking out 5 and giving up 2 runs which gave the Auburn offense time to try and figure out the Ole Miss pitching staff. Though that went for naught, it also saved the Auburn bullpen from having to go deeper than Steve Smith and Butch Thompson wanted to. Notice on Saturday during the 10th inning, Auburn had both Carson Skipper and Ryan Watson warming in case Cody got in to further trouble. Auburn never had to go to them because of the effort of Anderson and Thursday with Richard Fitts who was just as good as Anderson the night prior.
Batting Performance of the Weekend
I mean, do you have to ask?
Conor Davis has been my surprise of the season so far. He’s always had the talent to be big in games (see the series clincher against South Carolina 2 years ago) but had struggled with inconsistency. This year, however, Davis has busted through and has been one of the Tigers more reliable bats, and a power bat at that. While the line for Davis this weekend isn’t jaw dropping, inside the line is where Davis did his damage. Conor went 3 for 12 this weekend with 2 HRs, a walk, 3 runs scored and 3 RBIs. It’s not about how many hits you have, its when you put the ball in play. As long as Conor’s bat stays hot, Auburn’s lineup from 1-9 can be very dangerous, and it will be interesting to see how they look this week with that confidence boost from this series win.
The Tigers with hit the road again looking to avenge a loss from a few weeks back against the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State. Following that, Auburn will head up I-65 and head over to West End to take on the very dangerous Vanderbilt Commodores. I will be live on site for that one looking to at least get the 1 road win against the Dores however, if the pitching staff can give what they gave this weekend and the offense keeps on plugging, who knows. You never really do know which way the bounces are going to go in this conference…just ask Ole Miss and Mississippi State this weekend…