Offense sputters again as Ole Miss drops final SEC series at Auburn

Published 9:38 pm Friday, May 19, 2017

Things are getting dicey as far as Ole Miss’ NCAA Tournament hopes go.

The Rebels went quietly against No. 23 Auburn again in a 9-1 loss Friday at Plainsman Park that clinched the series for the Tigers. The loss assured Ole Miss of a losing record in Southeastern Conference play for the first time since 2012 with a game left before next week’s SEC Tournament.

The teams’ series finale is Saturday at 1 p.m.

Seven SEC teams in the last five years have made the NCAA Tournament with a sub.-500 league record during the regular season, but all of them had a top-30 RPI. Ole Miss, which has lost three straight, began the series with an RPI of 34.

Auburn ace Casey Mize was scratched from his scheduled start, but it didn’t matter much against an Ole Miss offense that’s scored two runs over its the last 27 innings. The Rebels (31-24, 13-16 SEC), who trailed 9-0 before Tate Blackman plated Ole Miss’ lone run with a single in the seventh, had seven hits but just one for extra bases.

Freshman Davis Daniel (4-2) filled in and limited Ole Miss to four hits, worked around three walks and struck out eight over 6 1/3 innings. Conner Green fanned five over the final 3 1/3 innings, but the Tigers (34-21, 16-13) got to left-hander Ryan Rolison (6-3) for five runs on seven hits in the first 3 2/3 frames.