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Gunnar Hoglund, Calvin Harris lead Ole Miss to 1-0 win over Auburn in Game One

Gunnar Hoglund, Calvin Harris lead Ole Miss to 1-0 win over Auburn in Game One

OXFORD, Miss. – After dropping two straight games for the first time in the 2021 campaign, the No. 4 ranked Ole Miss Rebels looked to rebound as they began conference play at home against SEC West foe Auburn.

A cool evening and excellent pitching from both Ole Miss’ Gunnar Hoglund and the Tigers’ Cody Greenhill held hitting and baserunners at a premium for the entire evening.

To say Hoglund was impressive is an understatement. The junior threw eight scoreless innings, allowing just five hits and one walk en route to striking out 13 Auburn hitters.

The biggest test for Hoglund came in the seventh inning when Auburn led off the inning with a double that was then followed by a walk.  A passed ball moved both Tiger runners into scoring position and put the shutout in peril.

However, Hoglund found another gear and was able to retire the next three Tigers in a row, all via strikeouts.

“It was the same mentality as all the others,” Gunnar said when asked how he approached that seventh inning jam. “Commanding all three of my pitches and just try to find a way to keep them off the board,” he added. 

Pinch hitter Calvin Harris, himself a hero in the win, was asked about Gunnar’s performance in the seventh. 

“That was electric,” Harris said. 

That was a huge inning by Gunnar. He threw well all night. He had second and third with no outs and he strikes three guys. That was huge for us and gave us a huge boost energy wise and that was awesome.

Calvin Harris on Gunnar Hoglund’s night on the mound

After the game, Coach Bianco noted Hoglund’s maturity from the time back when Gunnar would hit a wall after throwing 75-80 pitches to now, where he went 117 pitches against Auburn.

“He really competed tonight,” Bianco said of his pitcher. “We really needed that lift.”

Offensively, the Rebel bats were held at bay, save a threat in the seventh when Tim Elko and Hayden Durhurst pieced together a single and a double with one out.  However, much like the Rebels in the top of the inning, Auburn and Greenhill escaped the Ole Miss threat without allowing a run.

Home run heroics

The man who saved the day was Harris, pinch hitting for John Rhys Plumlee. The freshman, who had surgery at the beginning of the fall, only began hitting in December. But he stepped up for the Rebels when most needed Friday night. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Harris had a 1-2 count when he homered to right field.

Coach Bianco wasn’t surprised at the newcomer’s performance under the bright lights.

Harris told media after the game he did have a bit of the jitters — but that’s to be expected when making what is only your 17th at bat in college baseball — and your first in an SEC game. 

“I choked up and tried to put the ball in play and put a barrel on it,” Harris said of his home run. 

Boy, did he! The result was what became the eventual game-winning run over the right field wall at Swayze, giving the Rebels a slim 1-0 lead.

That was all Ole Miss would need as closer Taylor Broadway was able to retire the Auburn hitters in order in the ninth to secure the Rebels’ first SEC win and 14th overall win of the season.

Injury News 

Cael Baker had successful surgery Friday morning to repair a broken bone in his hand. Coach Bianco said Baker is likely going to be out of action for 4-6 weeks. Also, Trey LaFleur has been diagnosed with mono and will be out at least three weeks.

Next Up: 

Ole Miss returns to action at Swayze Saturday at 1:30 p.m. for Game Two of the series, followed by Game Three Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

(Feature image credit via Ole Miss Baseball)

About The Author

Chris Muller

Chris is our Director of Baseball Content and Senior Baseball Writer. Muller is a 1995 Graduate of Ole Miss. He is a collegiate recreational sports professional currently residing in Arlington Texas with his wife of 24 years, Amber, and German Shorthaired Pointer, Sophie. Chris is an avid Ole Miss Baseball and Football fan. His hobbies include watching college football and baseball and playing poker with his friends.

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