AUBURN, Ala. (WCBI/Ole Miss Athletics)– For the ninth consecutive week, junior right-hander Bobby Wahl turned in a quality start and the Rebels put together a pair of two-out rallies as No. 18 Ole Miss (33-14, 12-10 SEC) defeated Auburn (25-19, 7-15 SEC) by a score of 6-1 on Friday night.
Wahl (9-0) worked 8.0 innings in the start and allowed one run on four hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts. The one run came on a solo home run to open the Auburn half of the fourth.
Conner Kendrick (3-3) took the loss for the Tigers, allowing four runs on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts through 6.0 innings of work.
Preston Overbey hit his third home run of the season to get the Rebels’ scoring started as Ole Miss scored five of its six runs with two outs on the board in two separate rallies.
“I was really proud of the way we swung the bats tonight,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We got off some good swings and we made some timely hits, especially with the two, two-out rallies. Bobby (Wahl) was terrific again tonight and I think sometimes we forget how much of a warrior he is out there on the mound for us on Friday nights.”
Ole Miss got on the board in the fourth inning when Preston Overbey hit a three-run shot over the green monster in left field to put the Rebels up 3-0. Stuart Turner and Andrew Mistone scored on the long ball after notching back-to-back hits with two outs to set up the score on the Overbey shot.
Auburn responded with a solo shot over the wall in left from Garrett Cooper to start the bottom half of the fourth. Wahl retired the side in order the rest of the way to get out of the inning and keep the Rebels on top 3-1 after four innings of play.
Ole Miss got the run back in the sixth when Turner came home on a ground ball to short from Christian Helsel. Turner reached on a single to right, his third hit of the evening, before going first to third on a single up the middle from Mistone. The Tigers got Mistone out on the play as he took an aggressive turn toward second on the play and was thrown out going back to first.
Auburn then intentionally walked Overbey to bring Helsel to the plate. The freshman then delivered the ground ball to short and Auburn failed to turn the double play as Turner crossed the plate to put Ole Miss up 4-1.
Wahl retired 12 consecutive batters before a leadoff double from Hunter Kelley opened the eighth. The Rebel right-hander responded, however, getting a pair of strikeouts around a groundout and a walk to end the inning and keep Auburn off the board.
Ole Miss extended the lead in the ninth with another two-out rally. Holt Perdzock doubled to left with a ball that a diving Cullen Wacker couldn’t maintain control of to set things up for Will Jamison. The Rebels’ right fielder then singled up the middle to score Perdzock and took second on the throw home from the Tigers.
Jamison then scored from second in the next at bat when a wild pitch went to the backstop and got lost by the catcher, allowing the speedy base runner to give the Rebels the 6-1 lead. It was the second time this season that Jamison has scored from second on a wild pitch.
Tanner Bailey then took the mound for the Rebels in the ninth, closing things out as Ole Miss grabbed the series opener.
The two teams will take the field for game two at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday in a game that is scheduled to be televised by Fox Sports.