BLOG — It wasn’t pretty at times, but Ole Miss put an end to its recent Southeastern Conference slide on Friday night.
Austin Anderson belted a three-run home run in the bottom of the 13th inning to send the No. 23-ranked Rebels to an 8-5 victory over Auburn in the opening game of a weekend series at Oxford-University Stadium. Ole Miss (23-8, 5-5 SEC) overcame a season-high five errors, and both teams combined to strand 23 baserunners until Anderson sent Jay Wade’s offering over the right-field wall.
“I just knew the game was over at that point,” Anderson said. “I was just walking it out, and then it went over fence, which made it better. … Long game. Every one wants to win it, go home and get ready for the next day.”
The win was Ole Miss’ first in league play since beating Missouri on March 23. The Rebels were swept at Alabama last weekend.
Anderson, who finished with two hits, had been intentionally walked in the ninth and 11th innings, and Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said Auburn was trying to put him on again in the final inning, but Wade left the ball “right down the middle,” Anderson said.
“Second and third, no outs, I was just trying to hit a sac fly,” Anderson said. “I squared it up.”
Ole Miss encountered 2-0 and 5-2 deficits a lot earlier in large part because of all the miscues. Catcher Will Allen’s throw trying to nab Dan Glevenyak stealing in the first sailed into center field, allowing Jordan Ebert to trot home from third. First baseman Sikes Orvis booted Ryan Tella’s grounder to begin the sixth, and the Tigers went on to put up three runs in the frame to chase starter Chris Ellis.
“We played really bad at the beginning,” Bianco said. “At times, I think you sit there when we’re down 5-2, and you say, ‘Hey, I don’t know if we deserve to win this game.’ But credit the guys for hanging in there.”
Ellis allowed five runs in 5.2 innings, but only one of them was earned. The right-hander yielded seven hits and struck out four before turning it over to Aaron Greenwood, who kept the Rebels close with his longest relief appearance of the season.
Greenwood held the Tigers (19-12, 5-5) scoreless in the sixth, seventh and eighth before the offense went to work against Wade (3-1) in the home half of the eighth. After mustering just five hits and two runs against Auburn starter Dillon Ortman over the first seven innings, Ole Miss had four hits in the frame and used an RBI double from Orvis, an infield single from J.B. Woodman and a sac fly from Will Jamison to knot the game at 5 apiece.
“Credit the guys for keeping it close and then putting an inning together and being able to tie it up, and then from that point really playing really good baseball,” Bianco said. “Focused, better ball, whatever you want to call it, we played much better.”
Greenwood threw 4.2 innings of three-hit ball, extending his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 19.1. Josh Laxer (2-0) came on with one out in the 11th and put up zeros in his 2.2 innings of work for the win.
Lee finished 3-for-6 with an RBI while Orvis, Woodman, Jamison and Errol Robinson each had a pair of hits. Preston Overbey also drove in a run. Ebert went 4-for-5 for the Tigers while catcher Blake Austin had three hits and knocked in two runs.
Because of the threat of heavy rain in the area on Sunday, Ole Miss and Auburn will conclude their series with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 3 p.m. The second game will begin approximately 45 minutes after the first. (April 4, 2014)