Rebels beat Auburn, stay alive in SEC tournament
Published 12:30 am Saturday, May 29, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Taylor Hashman’s three-run homer with two outs in the top of the 10th inning lifted Mississippi to a 10-7 victory over Auburn in an elimination game of the Southeastern Conference tournament Friday night.
Zach Miller drew a one-out walk to chase pitcher Sean Ray. Bradley Hendrix set down Matt Smith, but then Matt Snyder singled to bring up Hashman. He delivered a shot to centerfield for his ninth home run of the season.
‘‘I knew the guy was throwing pretty hard and was probably going to challenge me with a fastball,’’ Hashman said. ‘‘I just got the barrel on it and it went out.’’
Now, the Rebels (38-21) will have to beat LSU twice on Saturday to make the championship game with less than 13 hours between games. The game was delayed nearly two hours by heavy rains and lightning and turned into a 3-hour, 50-minute marathon.
Brett Huber (3-0) overcame two walks with a pair of strikeouts and then a groundout by Wes Gilmer in the bottom of the inning.
‘‘I thought it was a great college baseball game,’’ Rebels coach Mike Bianco said. ‘‘It had a little bit of everything.’’
Hashman and Alex Yarbrough both had three hits for Ole Miss, which capitalized on five Auburn errors.
Hunter Morris had a three-run homer for Auburn (40-19) to tie it at 7-all in the seventh. Tony Caldwell went 3-for-4 with a two-run shot and three runs scored.
The Tigers were playing without stars Trent Mummey (hamstring) and Brian Fletcher (bruised hand), who were injured in Thursday’s game. Mummey pinch-hit in the eighth but hit into a double play for the league’s top hitting team.
‘‘Even without those two guys, it just brings their offense down to a great offense,’’ Bianco said.
Auburn used a strange defensive play to get out of the top of the ninth behind Ray. With a man on first, the ball bounced off second baseman Gilmer’s glove right into the hands of shortstop Casey McElroy on the bag to start a double play.
The Tigers fell apart defensively in the seventh as Ole Miss took a 7-4 lead with three unearned runs on three hits and three defensive miscues. The Western Division champions are still expected to host a regional next week.
‘‘Obviously we didn’t play at a high championship level,’’ Auburn coach John Pawlowski said. ‘‘At this time of the year, no matter who you play, you have to play at a championship level. We made some mistakes, and it certainly cost us the ball game.’’
Morris tied it with a towering shot over the right field fence with two men on in the bottom of the seventh. The SEC player of the year had just two singles in his first two tournament games.
Bianco tried to get a left-handed reliever warmed up in time to face the lefty slugger, but stuck with Matt Crouse. Crouse tied a career-high with eight strikeouts in four innings before giving up the home run.
The Rebels came into the tournament on a five-game losing streak and were swept by Auburn by a combined score of 34-8 in three games last weekend.
‘‘We were really pumped to play them again and show them we could compete better than we did last week,’’ Hashman said. ‘‘I wouldn’t say it was revenge but we were pretty pumped up to play the game, and we’re pretty happy with the outcome.’’