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Ole Miss machine grinds down Auburn

The Ole Miss Rebels continue their workman-like approach to the post season, grinding out runs in their 5-1 win over the Auburn Tigers in Omaha

The Ole Miss Rebels continue their workman-like approach to the post season, grinding out runs in their 5-1 win over the Auburn Tigers in Omaha

After a 13-2 start, the Rebels were national number one before falling hard at the beginning of conference play, losing five of their first seven SEC games. Barely squeaking into the NCAA tournament, Ole Miss have turned around a complete 180, not only going undefeated in the post season, but completely dominating opposition.

In their first game at the College World Series, the Rebels showed no sign of letting off that run of dominance. With two outs in the first inning, Tim Elko slapped a single into center field on the first pitch, then Kevin Graham did the same, with the first pitch slapped into left for a double. It took Kemp Alderman five pitches to get one he liked, but when he poked a hanging slider into left, both runners scored.

In the third inning, Kevin Graham hit a routine fly ball to Mike Bello in left field that carried, and carried, and cleared Bello’s glove, and the fence, by just a few inches.

Auburn kept the Rebel bats in check for a couple of innings after that, but come the sixth inning and Ole Miss had a little more magic, mixed with a healthy dose of luck, up their sleeves.

Kemp Alderman hit a fly ball to right that simply died, falling just under the diving glove of Bobby Peirce. In the following at-bat, Hayden Dunhurst was hit by a pitch, and then Calvin Harris poked the first pitch into right to load the bases with nobody out.

Peyton Chatagnier hit the ball sharply to third, and Blake Rambusch stepped on the bag and went to first for the double play, trading one run for two outs. TJ McCants hit a looper to left to score the remaining baserunner, in a three-run outing for the Rebels.

The Tigers struggled all day to get anything going with the bats, failing to string together any hits until the seventh, when hit three consecutive singles to finally push a body across the plate.

Garrett Farquhar led things off with a double that creeped under TJ McCants’ glove in center. SEC co-Player of the Year Sonny DiChiara followed up with a single that put runners on the corners for Auburn. Bobby Peirce slapped an RBI single into left to make it 5-1.

But the key to the Rebels win was the guy on the bump, Dylan DeLucia, who had an outstanding evening. He went seven and two-thirds, giving up only four hits and one run for ten strikeouts and no walks on 114 pitches. DeLucia was perfect through five, sitting down the first 14 batters that he faced. Starting the game on high heat, after the fifth, he switched to favor the lower half of the zone and leaned on his breaking ball.

Whatever he threw, Dylan DeLucia was a puzzle that the Tigers were simply not able to solve. “It was either us late to our approach or them early to their approach,” said Auburn coach Butch Thompson. “Was it because Dylan had his stuff set at the beginning of the game and then we started getting to him? That’s kind of the million dollar question.”

Auburn right fielder Bobby Peirce said of the Ole Miss pitcher, “Really I think the biggest thing was a lot of first-pitch strikes. It was not necessarily fastballs, but with off-speed. He was just kind of putting it where he wanted to today.

Number fourteen Auburn must now face number two Stanford in the wrong bracket for the right to stay in the competition. Ole Miss moves on to face another SEC rival, Arkansas, following their run-packed showing against the Cardinal. This College World Series is giving us more than we could ever have hoped for.


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