May 5, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN — It would have taken a fire truck, a long ladder and a very tall man to climb the Green Monster to steal Damek Tomscha's go-ahead homer in the eighth inning that sent Auburn to a 5-4 win over Ole Miss on Sunday.
Hunter Kelley needed no such props to rob Ole Miss of two would-be homers in the third and seventh innings. He simply jumped, stuck his glove up and took two homers away against the right field wall that had the Plainsman Park crowd buzzing.
Had Kelley ever robbed two homers in a game?
"I had never done it once in a game," he said.
But he did it Sunday to help Auburn take two of three games from No. 18 Ole Miss in the weekend series. Auburn improved to 27-19 overall and 9-15 in the SEC. Ole Miss fell to 33-16 and 12-12 in the league.
It was a game of entertainment, from Tomscha's homer, to Kelley's defensive plays, to Auburn coach John Pawlowski being tossed out for the first time this season for arguing a strike call to closer Terrance Dedrick making a spectacular over-the-shoulder tumbling catch to end the game.
Pawlowski sheepishly said he was thrown out over "just a little disagreement."
Auburn, down 2-1 at the time, took a 4-2 lead with the seventh-inning theatrics. Pawlowski, by then, was back in his office watching the game on a TV receiving the stadium feed.
"I'm screaming. Nobody is hearing it," Pawlowski said.
Auburn players said they appreciated his fire on the field.
"It was a good reaction," Kelley said. "We were all pumped up. We got the momentum going a little bit."
Ole Miss tied it when Sikes Orvis crushed a two-run homer high off the batter's eye in the eighth, but that only served to set up Tomscha's game-winner.
"I was able to get up in the wind," Tomscha said.
The wind whipped around Plainsman Park all day, but Kelley had it mastered.
"It was two balls that were hit perfect to the wall to give me an opportunity," he said "I didn't have a good day at the plate. I was trying to do anything to help my team."
He said the catches were similar. By the time the second was coming down, "I said, ''I already made this play. Let's make it again.'"
Pawlowski said "our defense was the difference. Hunter Kelley made two spectacular plays, both from over the fence."
And Dedrick came through in the ninth after allowing a game-tying homer in the eighth.
"He came right back when we really needed him," Pawlowski said.
Ole Miss led 2-0 in the second before Blake Austin drove in Auburn's first run in the bottom of the inning. The Tigers took a 4-2 lead in the seventh on RBI hits by Cullen Wacker and Patrick Savage and a wild pitch.
"Our offense came in big with big hits," Dedrick said. "Everybody kept their composure; the defense stepped up.... Hunter Kelley robbing balls left and right. I just can't talk enough how well they did."
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