2021 SEC baseball tournament thoughts and takeaways: Auburn vs. Ole Miss
Chris Lee • 5/25/2021 in Baseball
Here are thoughts on Ole Miss's 7-4 win over Auburn in Tuesday night's late game.
- Auburn's season is over, and it's a sad farewell to so many guys who have meant so much to the program. Pitchers Cody Greenhill and Jack Owen (both who threw on Tuesday), outfielders Steven Williams (who didn't play due to injury) and Judd Ward and third baseman Rankin Woley are all seniors who've probably played their last college baseball games. Junior Ryan Bliss was a full-time starter on that team.
All those guys had a big part in Auburn's storied run to the College World Series that year, and all will deservedly be remembered for a long time.
- For Ole Miss, this doesn't really change anything--the Rebels are going to host anyway--but I'm sure coach Mike Bianco would have preferred the Rebels not go to closer Taylor Broadway on Tuesday. Broadway threw 28 pitches for a team short on great options--he and Tuesday's starter Doug Nikhazy are the best two Ole Miss has--and that makes facing a potent Vanderbilt lineup tomorrow a challenge.
- The Commodores are expected to throw Christian Little vs. Ole Miss tomorrow. Little is a talented freshman who skipped his senior year of high school to come to Vanderbilt; he's gifted but like a lot of young pitchers, has had some rough patches this year as he's learned what it takes to face SEC hitters. The Ole Miss lineup will be the best one he's ever faced, and I expect we'll see a lot of runs in Wednesday's late game.
B8: Auburn 4, Ole Miss 7
Ole Miss closer Taylor Broadway took care of the Tigers in the eighth, and now, Cody Greenhill takes the mound for Auburn to start the eighth. Greenhill is a senior who may be playing his last college game; he's started, relieved or done whatever coach Butch Thompson asked and generally done it well.
B7: Auburn 4, Ole Miss 7
After Auburn got within a run, Ole Miss catcher Hayden Dunhurst has added a two-run homer two extend the Rebel lead back to three. The game's in Rebel closer Taylor Broadway's hands now.
T6: Auburn 2, Ole Miss 5
It's mostly been the Doug Nikhazy show, as the Rebel lefty retired 14 in a row before his control abandoned him for a spell in the fifth. Auburn strung together three consecutive two-out runners to scratch across a run, but Nikhazy got Auburn's best hitter, Ryan Bliss (who homered earlier) to chase a high fastball to end the bottom of the fifth.
Nikhazy has thrown 79 pitches, so Ole Miss is probably going to need Taylor Broadway to finish at the end if it's close.
B3: Auburn 1, Ole Miss 5
TJ McCants takes a bases-loaded walk and nobody's happier about it than poor Tim Elko, who tore his ACL earlier in the year and is playing through it. The Rebels have mostly been racing around the bases tonight except for Elko, who's going station to station tonight. On his latest trip, Elko singled, got to third on a double and now comes home without any pressure.
That chases starter Jack Owen, who got 11 outs and allowed eight hits and two walks. Right-hander Joseph Gonzalez is now pitching.
B3: Auburn 1, Ole Miss 4
Peyton Chatagnier rips a double to left, scoring two more. The Rebels are hitting a lot of balls hard and there's movement in the Auburn bullpen.
B3: Auburn 1, Ole Miss 2
Justin Bench just hit a home run, which has been termed an "inside the park" homer, but I'm not so sure. The ball seemed to hit something--I don't know if it was the top of the fence in left or something behind it--and take a sharp bounce towards the left field foul pole. Initially, I thought it left a park but the ruling in the press box, at least for now, is that it didn't.
That's just the second inside-the-park home run in tournament history. The Rebels are now piling on base runners and looking for more.
B3: Auburn 1, Ole Miss 1
Ole Miss ace Doug Nikhazy is doing Doug Nikhazy things tonight, using a fastball (90-92), a curve and a change-up as he's retired the nine hitters he's faced since Ryan Bliss homered to start the game. He's struck out three.
B2: Auburn 1, Ole Miss 1
Auburn center fielder Kasen Howell turns in one of the day's better defensive plays, taking a hit away from TJ McCants and possibly keeping a run off the board, as the second inning ends.
To defense: The Rebels have been terrific tonight, especially the middle infield of Peyton Chatagnier and Jacob Gonzalez, who've both shown off good arms so far.
B1: Auburn 1, Ole Miss 1
Auburn's Jack Owen settles down, getting big strikeouts of Kevin Graham and then Tim Elko preceding a harmless fly ball to center by Peyton Chatagnier. We're tied at one; Owen threw 23 pitches and it could have been much worse.
B1: Auburn 1, Ole Miss 1
No. 2 hitter Justin Bench smashes one to Auburn second baseman Brody Moore, which he knocks down. In his haste to make the play, Moore throws wide of first, TJ McCants scores from second and Bench takes second with the game now tied. Starter Jack Owen isn't fooling anyone and now, Jacob Gonzalez lines a single to center.
B1: Auburn 1, Ole Miss 0
Both Auburn and Ole Miss brought a lot of fans to the Hoover Met tonight, and the energy inside this place is palpable. Ole Miss's TJ McCants seems to feel it, too; McCants rips one to right to start the game, never hesitates to take the turn around first and slides in second safely with a leadoff double off Auburn lefty Jack Owen.
T1: Auburn 1, Ole Miss 0
Auburn shortstop Ryan Bliss has just hit the second pitch of the game (thrown by Ole Miss's ace, Doug Nikhazy) out to left center.