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Tigers come up short against Rebs

AUBURN – Auburn’s baseball team fought gamely from behind Friday night at Plainsman Park, but the hole was too deep. Ole Miss jumped to an 8-2 lead in the fourth inning and held on to win 10-7 and even the series at a game apiece.

Zach Blatt lasted just three innings Friday night/Todd Van Emst photo

The rubber game is set for noon Saturday.

Right-hander Zach Blatt, pitching despite a blister on his right index finger, didn’t get out of the fourth inning and the Tigers couldn’t recover.

That wasn’t all the bad news. Left fielder Bobby Andrews, Auburn’s hottest offensive player, suffered an injury to his left wrist when making a diving catch and left the game in the third inning. X-rays were negative and Auburn coach John Pawlowski said he is day to day.

In the topsy-turvy SEC West, Arkansas (27-9, 8-7) moved into first place when its game at Kentucky was rained out. Ole Miss (24-16, 9-8) is percentage points behind. Alabama is 25-16 and 8-8. Auburn is 21-17 and 8-9.

“We didn’t get out of the gate very well,” Pawlowski said. “We had our chances, but they hit the big three-run home run and kind of put us back on our heels. The kids we put in there kept battling back and made it an interesting game.”

After Ole Miss scored a run in each of the first two innings, Auburn scored two in the third on Andrews’ run-scoring single and Cullen Wacker’s run-scoring groundout. But Ole Miss chased Blatt with four in the third, three coming on Matt Snyder’s home run, and two more in the fourth.

Asked if the blister was a problem for Blatt, Pawlowski said Blatt said it wasn’t.

“He says it’s not bothering him,” Pawlowski said. “He gave us everything he had today.”

Auburn got two runs in the fifth and three more in the seventh after Pawlowski four starters.

Sean Ray replaced Blatt in the third and gave up three runs on three hits over three innings. Bradley Hendrix pitched three scoreless innings.

Saturday’s game could have major repercussions. At the end of the weekend, Auburn could be in first place or it could be in fourth place.

“It’s obviously an important game for a lot of reasons,” Pawlowski said. “Our guys are going to have to flush this out of their system quickly and be ready to go tomorrow.”

Jon Luke Jacobs will get the call on the mound for Auburn in Saturday’s game.

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