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Auburn, Alabama

Relentless effort leads Auburn past No. 1 Ole Miss

326 days ago
Auburn Athletics
Photo: Auburn Athletics

AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn turned in its largest offensive output in SEC play since 2018 as the Tigers took down No. 1 Ole Miss, 19-5, to even the series at one game apiece Friday night at Plainsman Park.

Auburn's 19 runs were the most in a league game since defeating Alabama, 20-5, on Apr. 21, 2018. The Tigers scored multiple runs in five separate innings, highlighted by a six-run seventh frame.

"We were relentless offensively," head coach Butch Thompson said. "I want our guys to compete every at-bat, and that's what we saw tonight. Up and down the lineup, we did a ton of work. This is huge. I have a lot of confidence in our squad. Tomorrow, we have a chance to win a SEC series, and that's always big."

Auburn (14-5, 1-1 SEC) compiled 15 hits and eight of 10 players to get an at-bat recorded a hit, including four with multiple hits.

Blake Rambusch led the way with a season-high four hits and four RBI, while Mike Bello went 3-for-3 with four runs and two RBI in his first career start.

"Just believing in myself and knowing I'm there with all the great leaders." Bello said. "I was just focused on playing my game and staying comfortable."

"It's always nice to see a freshman get his first taste of SEC play," Thompson added. "He had a great night and looked comfortable at the plate."

Hayden Mullins (2-1, 3.65) made his first SEC start and earned the win in a career-high 5.0 innings. The junior southpaw allowed one run on just two hits and struck out three. He retired seven of the last eight batters he faced after allowing the lone run to score.

"I was just trusting the guys behind me," Mullins said. "Our whole talk before the game was that we were playing for each other, not ourselves."

"Mullins battled and gave us five innings while being competitive the whole time," Thompson added.

Ole Miss (14-4, 1-1 SEC) struck first with a two-out double in the third, but the Tigers immediately responded with four runs in the bottom of the frame. Bello led off the inning with a walk and moved to third on a walk and errant throw on an attempted steal. Sonny DiChiara tied the ballgame with a sacrifice fly to right field, and Bryson Ware gave Auburn its first lead with a two-RBI double down the third-base line. The scoring was capped off with a RBI single from Brody Moore.

Auburn added three more runs in the fourth on back-to-back doubles to right field from Bello and Rambusch, giving Auburn a four-run lead. Friday's performance extended Rambuschs' hitting streak to a season-best 10 games and marked his ninth game of the season with multiple hits. DiChiara followed the pair of doubles with a two-run home run to put Auburn ahead 7-1. The homer was the senior slugger's seventh of the season, this one clearing the scoreboard at 415 feet and leaving the yard at 106 miles per hour.

After Mullins limited the Ole Miss offense in the first five innings, graduate righty Tyler Drabick entered in the sixth inning and turned in a scoreless frame. Drabick stranded runners at second and third with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.

Rambusch ripped his second RBI double of the game to drive in another run for the Tigers in the bottom half of the inning, extending the lead to 8-1. The leadoff man later scored on a wild pitch.

After surrendering a pair of unearned runs in the seventh inning, Chase Allsup picked up a strikeout to limit the Rebel damage to two.

Auburn continued to apply pressure on offense in the home half, pushing across six more runs. The big inning began after a bases-loaded walk scored Ware. Bello struck once again with a RBI single, and Rambusch added another on a fielder's choice before Howell drove a three-run home run over the left field wall to put Auburn up 15-3.

Allsup came back out to start the eighth and ultimately worked 1.1 innings before turning the ball over to Nate LaRue, who pitched the final 1.2 innings in scoreless fashion.

The Tigers capped off the scoring in the contest with four runs in the bottom half of the eighth. Six straight singles from Moore, Brooks Carlson, Garrett Farquhar, Bello, Rambusch and Howell, and bases-loaded walk from DiChiara gave Auburn a 19-5 advantage that sealed the win for the Tigers.

The rubber match between the Tigers and Rebels is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. CT at Plainsman Park.