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May 3, 2013- -
AUBURN | Auburn's offensive struggles extended on Friday night after a 6-1 loss to No. 18 Ole Miss.
"We have to find a way to manufacture some runs and we just weren't able to do that tonight," head coach John Pawlowski said.
The Tigers lone run came in the bottom of the fourth inning after Garrett Cooper hit his seventh home run of the season. Cooper leads the team with a .347 batting average.
However, former All-SEC center fielder Ryan Tella's hitting slump continues to be a focus for Auburn (25-19, 7-15). The junior went 0-for-2 against Ole Miss on Friday and is now hitless in his last 20 appearances at the plate.
"That top of the order is the thing that we talked about over there at Missouri (last weekend)," Pawlowski said. "Hopefully, we can get something going in the top of the order whether we got to change it up or not. That is something we have to evaluate."
Conner Kendrick started for the Tigers and cruised through the first three innings, but found himself in a 3-0 hole after allowing Preston Overbey to hit one over the left-field wall.
"I thought Conner did a very good job, but unfortunately he left one ball out over the plate," Pawlowski said. "It was a pitch that just got away from him."
Auburn went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position Friday, again adding serious pressure to the pitching staff's task.
"When you're not doing a lot offensively, one pitch and one play could mean the difference and it certainly was tonight," Pawlowski said.
Auburn has scored only 13 runs in their last eight SEC games and Pawlowski hopes that his team can turn it around before the end of the season.
"These guys have to understand that it can turn around so quickly. I know that they believe that," Pawlowski said. "I just want to see our offensive have some success and gain some confidence. They haven't had that in the last several games so hopefully tomorrow will be a different game for them."
The Tigers look to even the series against Ole Miss (33-14, 12-10) on Saturday. First pitch is schedule for 2:15 p.m.