OXFORD, Miss. – The Rebel pitching staff delivered in a big way on Saturday, limiting the Tigers to a single run through a doubleheader as No. 16 Ole Miss (25-8, 7-5 SEC) swept a doubleheader and the weekend series from Auburn (19-14, 5-7 SEC) at Swayze Field.
Left-hander Christian Trent pitched a complete-game shutout in the first game of the doubleheader as the Rebels claimed a 6-0 win. Ole Miss then got a solid outing from starter Sam Smith and reliever Josh Laxer in picking up a 5-1 win in the finale.
Trent (4-0) held the Tigers in check throughout the first game, scattering five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts on the way to the complete-game shutout. Smith (4-2) picked up the win in his sixth consecutive quality start in game two, allowing one run on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work.
Laxer picked up his fourth save of the season, working the final 2.0 innings after entering the game in with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth inning. He then struck out three consecutive batters, two of them looking, to get the Rebels out of the inning and preserve the win.
“I’m really proud of our pitchers,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Christian Trent in game one, even though there are a lot of low-scoring games, there aren’t a lot of shutouts where the pitcher can go all nine and not give up a run. That was a great start of the day. In 18 innings, we gave up one run. I’m really proud of the pitchers.
“(Christian) looked like he was really in control,” Bianco said. “As it got later, the breaking ball got better and better. His velocity dropped, if you looked at the board, but his command was better. A lot of times when his velocity drops he starts to leave some balls up. The last few innings he really pitched as well as he did the whole game.
The Rebels jumped out to the early lead in the first game of the doubleheader and never looked back, scoring the first run on a passed ball in the second inning. J.B. Woodman singled with two outs and went to third on a single up the middle from Will Jamison. He then scored on the passed ball to get Ole Miss on the board.
Three more runs came home in the fifth inning as the Rebels broke things open on Auburn starter Keegan Thompson. Three straight singles from Errol Robinson, Braxton Lee and Auston Bousfield got the first run home before a walk of Austin Anderson loaded the bases. Will Allen then drove a two-RBI hit deep to short to take the Ole Miss lead out to 4-0.
The Rebels pushed a pair of runs home in the fifth to extend the lead to 6-0.
With Woodman and Jamison at first and second, Woodman stole third to put men at the corners. The freshman then stole home on a delayed steal as Jamison took second to bring the first run home in the frame. Two batters later, Errol Robinson drove an RBI single to right and scored Jamison as the Rebels took the six-run lead.
That advantage would hold down the stretch as Trent kept the Tigers off the board to pick up the win and clinch the series.
Game two started out as a pitcher’s battle before the Rebels finally got to Auburn starter Michael O’Neal in the sixth inning.
Ole Miss brought five runs home in the frame and held on from there to pick up the win.
With two men on and one out, Auston Bousfield drove a two-RBI double to left to put the Rebels on the board and jumpstart an inning that would see Ole Miss bat around in the order. Back-to-back walks of Allen and Anderson loaded the bases for Sikes Orvis, who drove a ball back through the right side to score Bousfield and Anderson as the lead grew to 4-0.
Pinch hitter Holt Perdzock laced a hit back through the left side in the next at bat to score Allen and give the Rebels the 5-0 lead before Auburn would get out of the inning.
The Tigers answered with a single run in the seventh inning, getting on the board with a two-out single up the middle from Jordan Ebert, but could manage no more in the frame as left-hander Wyatt Short entered the game and struck out Blake Logan to end the inning.
Auburn then loaded the bases in the eighth as Ole Miss sent two pitchers to the mound before bringing in Laxer to get the home team out of the jam. After entering the game with no outs and the bases juiced, Laxer struck out the first two batters looking before getting a swinging strikeout to keep Auburn off the board and the Rebels on top 5-1.
He then retired the side in order in the ninth to preserve the win and give the Rebels the sweep.
Ole Miss will return to action on Tuesday night, traveling to face the Memphis Tigers at AutoZone Park. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.