By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
AUBURN, Ala. – It was a tough series for the Ole Miss bullpen a week ago, and redemption did not come Saturday.
The Rebels led 5-3 when starting pitcher Mike Mayers left after giving up a leadoff single in the bottom of the sixth.
Auburn needed just one batter to even things up against Aaron Greenwood, and the Tigers pulled away for an 8-5 win before a sparse gathering at Plainsman Park. Rain until early afternoon moved the game back four hours to a 6 p.m., start.
The series is tied, and Game 3 is today at 1 p.m. No. 24-ranked Ole Miss (33-15, 12-11 SEC) is trying to avoid its second-straight conference series loss.
Greenwood was a central figure against Kentucky when the bullpen blew late leads in the Rebels’ two losses at Swayze Field last weekend.
“I’ve been leaving balls up and not getting my breaking ball over the plate,” Greenwood said. “That’s left me behind, and I need to get back into plus counts for me instead of letting the hitters be in control.
Relieving Mayers, Greenwood faced Auburn’s Damek Thomscha, the eight-hole hitter, who lifted a deep fly ball well over the monster in left field to tie the game at 5. The next man up, Blake Austin, followed with a double off the monster and came around to score the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly.
Greenwood faced five batters and retired only one. Chris Ellis needed one pitch to end the sixth with a double play ball.
tigers score again
Auburn padded its lead with two more runs against Ellis in the bottom of the seventh. As it turned out, that was more than enough cushion.
With a 6-5 lead to protect Terrance Dedrick, the Tigers’ third pitcher, retired Stuart Turner and Andrew Mistone with Tanner Mathis at second after a leadoff hit and sacrifice bunt in the top of the seventh.
Dedrick went on to throw 22⁄3 hitless, scoreless innings. Ole Miss had 10 hits before Dedrick entered.
Rebels coach Mike Bianco said Tomscha hit a good pitch to put the Tigers (26-19, 8-15) in front.
“The guy got it up in the air and got it over the monster,” he said.
Greenwood, though, hasn’t strung good pitches together as well as he did earlier in the season.
“He left some other pitches up,” Bianco said. “He can’t pitch like that. He’s a guy who’s not out there necessarily because of his stuff, he’s there because he’s going to locate the ball. The last three or four outings he hasn’t located very well.”