OMAHA, Neb. – Effective two-out hitting early in the game, and a masterful performance by starter Dylan DeLucia helped Ole Miss baseball win its first game in the 2022 College World Series 5-1 against Auburn.
The Rebels' first-game starter, DeLucia went 7.2 innings, allowing one run on four hits with 10 strikeouts. He retired the first 14 batters he faced at Charles Schwab Field.
Ole Miss built a 3-0 lead through three innings that ultimately proved to be enough. But in the sixth, they added two more.
It was the top of the first inning, before Auburn even batted, that got things rolling for the Rebels and set the tone in this one.
A two-out single by Tim Elko was followed by a Kevin Graham double to the left field corner to put runners in scoring position. On a 2-2 count, Kemp Alderman singled to right and moved to second on a throwing error by Auburn third baseman Blake Rambusch. Both Elko and Graham scored.
As DeLucia basically cruised, Ole Miss was ready to add another run soon. In the third, they increased their lead to 3-0 with a solo home run by Graham, who had three hits in the game. Once again, there were two outs and the opportunistic Rebels managed to get something on the scoreboard.
Not until Brody Moore singled to right field with two outs in the fifth did Auburn have a baserunner. DeLucia got the next batter, Kason Howell, to strike out on three pitches.
Alderman led off the top of the sixth with a single that Tiger right fielder Bobby Peirce raced toward but couldn't quite make the play. Hayden Dunhurst was then hit by a Joseph Gonzalez pitch, and the Auburn starter's night was done.
The first pitch from reliever Carson Skipper was a base hit to right for Calvin Harris. But Peyton Chatagnier sent a hard-hit ball to third that Rambusch stopped, stepped on third, and threw to first for a double play. However, Alderman came home to score, and it was 4-0 Ole Miss.
After Harris had advanced to third on a wild pitch from Skipper, he scored on a single to left by T.J. McCants for a 5-0 Ole Miss lead.
After DeLucia got the Tigers out in a hurry in the bottom of the sixth, the Rebels went to work again offensively in the top of the seventh but were not able to score. Gonzalez singled, then Elko struck out. A base hit got Graham aboard to put runners on first and second. But strikeouts by Alderman and Dunhurst ended the Rebel threat.
Garrett Farquhar of Auburn led off the bottom of the seventh with a double to right-center. There were back-to-back singles from Sonny DiChiara and Peirce, and the Tigers had their first run as Farquhar scored.
DeLucia then got a big strikeout of Brooks Carlson, followed by a fly out to right field by Moore. A popup to Chatagnier by Howell ended things and left the score 5-1 Rebels.
Ole Miss, which outhit the Tigers 11-4 in the contest, went quietly in the top of the eighth. Auburn was quickly back up to try to close the gap. DeLucia headed back out to the mound for the bottom of the eighth.
With two outs, Jacob Gonzalez made a rare error at shortstop to allow Rambusch to reach. With that, DeLucia was relieved by Josh Mallitz. But on the next Auburn batter, Dunhurst—from his knees—threw to Elko at first, which resulted in an out of Rambusch, as the Rebel first baseman tagged him. The play was reviewed but stood.
The Rebels came up with no runs in the top of the ninth, and Mallitz returned to the mound to try to close this one out. He did so emphatically with three strikeouts.
DeLucia (7-2) got the win, while Gonzalez (7-4) got the loss.
Ole Miss had beaten Auburn two games to one on the road to win the first Southeastern Conference series of the season in March.
The Rebels now face another SEC foe, Arkansas, on Monday at 6 p.m. CT. The Razorbacks beat Stanford 17-2 earlier on Saturday. Arkansas took two of three games from Ole Miss in Fayetteville this season.