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SEC Baseball is BACK at Swayze!

SEC Baseball is BACK at Swayze!

OXFORD, Miss. — SEC Baseball is BACK at Swayze!

Ole Miss (16-4) welcomed the Auburn Tigers (11-8) to Swayze Field this weekend for the Rebels’ first series versus an SEC opponent in two years, thanks to the shutdown last season resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Game One: Ole Miss 1, Auburn 0

On a chilly opening night, Friday starter Gunnar Hoglund managed to shut out Auburn as he went eight complete innings, throwing 121 pitches and 13 strikeouts. 

Hoglund’s performance was not overshadowed by a gutsy seven-inning performance by Auburn’s Cody Greenhill, but Hoglund would have to wait until the bottom half of the eighth to be rewarded. 

Calvin Harris, who remains unavailable to play in the field due to Tommy John surgery, had his name called and came out swatting to lift his first dinger for the Rebs as showers poured in right field, ultimately giving Ole Miss the 1-0 victory.

Game Two: Ole Miss 6, Auburn 5

Game two against Auburn saw sophomore pitcher Drew McDaniel add to his win total for the season as the bats heated up for both teams. 

The Rebels scored six runs by the end of the third but would rely on their bullpen the rest of the way. 

While the Tigers tried to claw their way back in the seventh inning, Taylor Broadway came in from the bullpen and threw nothing but straight gas. Broadway would earn the save for the second night in a row and celebrate in grand style before a crowd of 10,304.

Game Three: Ole Miss 19, Auburn 11

On Sunday, the Diamond Rebs stormed the field in their beautiful powder blues and put all of their hitting blues behind them. 

On top of the hill was Derek Diamond, and he notched a blazing fastball at 97 mph right out of the gate.  Although his effectiveness has been tested this year, “Doc” Diamond executed his other three pitches and located them with precision. 

Tim Elko led off the bottom of the second inning, beginning the hitting flurry that was to come for the Rebels. 

Auburn starter Trace Bright walked two runs home just before Peyton “Chatty” Chatagnier exploded with a 2-RBI blast off the bullpen in left. The Rebs would finish out the second inning with a seven-run lead and never look back. 

With Diamond vying for a win, his true freshmen teammates jumped into the action. The fourth inning saw T.J. McCants come up to the plate and jack his first dinger into the right field student section that remained packed all weekend. Elko and Chatty would help to bring in three more runs in the fourth. 

The Rebs knocked in four insurance runs to push the lead to 14-0 as they closed out the sixth inning, but Auburn hitters — combined with some errant pitches — would not go down easily. 

After seven straight shutout innings, the Tigers scratched back into the game with a burst of nine runs in the top of the eighth. 

However, the Rebels ended the game victorious with the 19-11 decision.

Analysis

This Ole Miss team is showing it can fight through adversity as evidenced by the two, one-run wins over an SEC opponent. 

The Rebels are also being tested in their depth with two players out of the lineup as a result of COVID contact tracing protocols, as well as the loss of two of their first basemen in Cael Baker (out for 4-6 weeks after surgery to repair a bone in his hand) and Trey LaFleur who is out indefinitely with mononucleosis. 

It is still not certain when pitcher Max Cioffi will make his return. He will throw bullpen on Tuesday to see how he feels and that will go a long way in determining if he makes the trip to ‘Bama. Coach Bianco expects to have Saturday starter return during the upcoming series with the Tide.

Ole Miss has to use its depth and develop true freshmen faster than scheduled, but the Rebels are proving they can rise to the challenge. The next challenge will take place in Tuscaloosa, but first, the Rebs must play the Central Arkansas Bears at 6:30 pm on Tuesday.  

(Feature image credit: Bruce Newman, Ole Miss Athletics)

About The Author

Chad Smith

Chad holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Ole Miss and stays immersed in Rebel sports and alumni affairs. As a second-generation Rebel, he loves everything that makes the university unique and appealing. While he supports every sport on campus, his primary love is Ole Miss Baseball. As a baseball scout and creator of the only group dedicated to Ole Miss Baseball, Chad enjoys focusing on the players’ and the team's success on and off the field. The unique atmosphere created by the fans, facilities and coaching staff has transformed Swayze Field into a world-class program that others only dream of having. Chad currently lives in Lula, Georgia with his wife Danielle, his German Short-Haired Pointer Renegade "Hotty Toddy," and a cat named Boudreaux.

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