Thompson, Auburn shackle Ole Miss
AUBURN, Ala. — The Ole Miss Rebels are assured of a place in next week’s Southeastern Conference baseball tournament.
That seems to be about the only good news lately.
Keegan Thompson threw six innings of no-hit ball, and reliever Cole Lipscomb carried the shutout into the ninth as Auburn beat the Rebels 4-1 in their series opener Thursday night.
“I think it’s pretty close (to the best game I’ve pitched at Auburn),” Thompson said. “My slider worked really well with two strikes to get some swings and misses with strikeouts in the dirt. I was trying to work ahead and stay ahead to get to that pitch.”
Ole Miss (31-23, 13-15 SEC) lost for the sixth time in eight games, and has scored one run in its last two outings. Tate Blackman doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Colby Bortles in the ninth inning Thursday to end a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings.
Ole Miss is currently the No. 9 seed for the SEC Tournament, one game behind Vanderbilt and one ahead of South Carolina and Missouri. Auburn (33-21, 15-13) and Texas A&M are two ahead.
The Rebels can climb as high as sixth by winning their last two games against Auburn. They’ll need to pick up the offense that has been sorely lacking the last two games, however.
Thompson (6-4) walked two batters and struck out eight in six outstanding innings. He retired 18 of the 20 batters he faced before a weather delay chased him from the game.
“You need someone to get us going again, and that’s what an ace pitcher does,” Auburn coach Butch Thompson said. “Keegan Thompson, I guess the lightning was the only thing that could stop him tonight.”
Lipscomb carried the no-hit bid into the eighth, where it was broken up with a leadoff double by Tim Rowe.
Lipscomb pitched three innings, allowing three hits, one walk and the one run while striking out four. He earned his sixth save of the season.
Daniel Robert hit a two-run homer for the Tigers in the fourth inning. They tacked on another run on an RBI groundout by Jonah Todd. In the second inning, Sam Gillikin doubled and scored on an error.
“We kept the ball in the ballpark and Daniel Robert gets the pitch and hits it out of the ballpark,” Butch Thompson said.
Auburn finished with eight hits, six of them off Ole Miss starter James McArthur (3-6). McArthur allowed three runs, two earned, in 3 1/3 innings.
Relievers Houston Roth and Brady Feigl allowed one run and only two hits in 4 2/3 innings. Neither pitcher walked a batter, and they combined for five strikeouts.