By NEMS Daily Journal
From school reports
AUBURN, Ala. – Ole Miss held an early four-run lead on Saturday, but Auburn proved relentless in battling to a 9-7 victory to clinch the weekend series.
Ole Miss (24-17, 9-9 SEC) had lost 3 of its last 4 games and was thwarted in an effort to pick up its third league series of the season.
It was the third consecutive series win for Auburn (22-17, 9-9), which survived three errors.
“It’s disappointing to swing the bat that well, especially early, and not come away with the win,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “You have to tip your hat to Auburn, though. They kept swinging. We got behind some batters and they are too good offensively to fall behind them, because they make you pay for it.”
His Rebels led 5-1 in the second, fell behind and fought to a 7-4 advantage in the fifth. But four pitchers could never handcuff a 13-hit Auburn assault.
Kevin Patterson’s three-run homer in the seventh put Auburn up 8-7 – the Tigers’ first lead of the game.
“I didn’t hit it great but I knew I got under it enough, I just didn’t know if I got enough to get it out,” said Patterson, a senior who also homered on Friday night and has four career homers against Ole Miss.
Slade Smith (2-0) grabbed the relief win for the Tigers, holding the Rebels to two runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts over seven innings. It was his first victory since the Tigers’ opening day against Arkansas State.
Auburn leadoff hitter Justin Fradejas went 4 for 5 and scored twice.
In its last nine SEC games, Auburn has outscored its opponents 49-14 from innings six through nine, going 7-2.
R.J. Hively (0-2) took the loss for the Rebels in relief as he allowed three runs on three hits with a walk in 2 1/3 innings of work. Starter Austin Wright was tagged for six hits and five runs in four innings.
For Ole Miss, Matt Tracy hit a three-run homer in the first. Alex Yarbrough (3 for 5) and Matt Snyder (2 for 4) each drove in a pair of runs.
Ole Miss will return to action on Wednesday at home against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 6:30 p.m.
• Game summary, page 2B