By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
AUBURN, Ala. – Preston Overbey says it’s not a myth that Ole Miss tends to struggle with left-handed pitching.
The Rebels, though, rose above the norm Friday night and got 10 hits off Auburn lefty Conner Kendrick, none bigger than Overbey’s three-run home run in the fourth inning.
That hit and another solid outing by Bobby Wahl propelled the Rebels to a 6-1 win over the Tigers in the series opener before 2,701 fans at Plainsman Park.
No. 24 Ole Miss (33-14, 12-10 SEC) scored five of its six runs with two outs.
Kendrick began the night with a 1.94 earned run average and was the winner in Auburn’s 3-1 victory at Missouri a week ago.
The Rebels began the night 7-9 against left-handed starters.
“It’s not a myth. We’ve had a few rough games, but we hit a lefty tonight,” Overbey said.
The Rebels will face another lefty at 2:15 today in Michael O’Neal for Auburn (25-19, 7-15).
Wahl, the earned run average leader among SEC starters, has not given up two earned runs in the same start since March 29 at Florida.
He threw three scoreless innings before giving up a leadoff home run to Garrett Cooper in the bottom of the fourth. By then Ole Miss led 3-1.
Wahl (9-0) pitched eight innings and scattered four hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Stuart Turner started a two-out rally with a single in the fourth.
Andrew Mistone followed Turner with another hit, and Overbey faced the same situation he did in the top of the second.
This time he delivered.
“I was just hoping to capitalize. I knew a guy was in scoring position, and I was trying to get the job done,” he said.
Overbey turned on a Kendrick change-up and got some lift on it to send it well over the high wall that off-sets a left field fence only 315 feet from home plate.
After Overbey cleared the bases Christian Helsel singled for the fourth two-out hit of the inning but was left on base. A Helsel ground ball produced a run in the sixth, and Ole Miss added two in the top of the ninth.
Turner and Mistone were both 3-for-4 and had back-to-back hits three times.
“Both those guys have had great years, but in the last week or so they’ve both really heated up, and both are swinging it well.”
Kendrick pitched six innings and gave up four runs on 10 hits.
The Rebels got another three hits over three innings against righty reliever Trey Cochran-Gill.
Ole Miss 6, Auburn 1
Ole Miss 000 301 002 – 6 13 0
Auburn 000 100 000 – 1 5 0
WP: Bobby Wahl (9-0). LP: Conner Kendrick (3-3). Multiple Hits: (AU) Garrett Cooper. (OM) Stuart Turner 3, Andrew Mistone 3, Will Jamison. 2B: (AU) Hunter Kelley. (OM) Austin Anderson, Holt Perdzock. HR: (AU) Cooper (7). (OM) Preston Overbey (3). DP: Auburn 2. LOB: Auburn 6, Ole Miss 4. T: 2:21. A: 2,701.
Records: Ole Miss 33-14, 12-10; Auburn 25-19, 7-15