Auburn takes one of three in Starkvegas against second ranked Bulldogs
The Tigers were able to overcome a 5-0 deficit for a game one victory over Mississippi State. Games two and three proved to be offensive showcases for the Bulldogs though as they took advantage of an Auburn pitching staff missing two starters by scoring 35 total runs.
Auburn fell behind 4-0 in the first inning and then 5-0 in the fifth before the rally was sparked in the sixth inning by Steven Williams then Rankin Woley.
“Our guys just hung in there,” head coach Butch Thompson said. “I give them a ton of credit. Our bats were tough. We didn’t make some routine plays early, but we at least hung in there.”
One of the routine plays Coach Thompson was alluding to was the fifth run for Mississippi State when center fielder Kason Howell dropped a fly ball.
“Their fifth run was a line drive that Kason is running in on and he’s got to catch,” Thompson said. “But the resiliency of a young player, for him to get the two-strike hit, which was the winning run, after that play happened, it just keeps telling us and our fans and our team that we keep hanging in there and battling away.”
Kason redeemed himself in the eighth inning with a two-out, two-strike single to right field which scored Edouard Julien. This would ultimately be the game winning run as Cody Greenhill entered the game in the bottom of the eighth and allowed only one hit while striking out two batters.
Auburn went into Saturday with a chance to get a huge series victory over a great team on the road. With Jack Owen dealing with elbow tightness against Tennessee and again during the week, Carson Skipper was given the nod, but did not make it out of the first inning after giving up five hits and five runs.
Brooks Fuller pitched 3.2 innings in relief and allowed a single run. The rest of the bullpen had a tough day and allowed 15 total runs with seven coming in the eighth inning. They allowed twenty hits.
The run support was not there as Auburn only scored twice and only had four hits.
The rubber match provided offensive fireworks with a total of 35 runs between the Tigers and Bulldogs.
Elliot Anderson got the start for Auburn after several weeks of impressive relief work. He worked 2.2 innings after also pitching Friday night. He would allow five runs (four earned) on six hits.
Mississippi State opened up the scoring in the bottom of the first with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Mississippi State would go on to score in every inning including a five-run eighth frame to give the Bulldogs the win.
Auburn’s bats were impressive as well with a four-run third inning, seven-run fourth and three-run seventh.
“I was really interested when I woke up this morning to see how we would bounce back, and if we’d leave it on the field today, and we did,” head coach Butch Thompson said. “I thought Gabe Gross was our guy today because he implored and got a lot out of our hitters.”
Both teams had 21 hits each which was the highest hit total for Auburn in SEC play since they recorded 22 against Tennessee in 2010.
The middle of the lineup was key for Auburn as the four through seven hitters had three hits each.
Judd Ward had two hits including a three-run homer in the top of seventh to give Auburn a 15-13 lead.
The bullpen struggled most of the weekend having two starters out with injury and having to mix and match guys.
Auburn returns to action on Tuesday when they travel to Montgomery to face Alabama in the Capital City Classic. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. on SEC Network.
They will travel to Columbia, South Carolina for a weekend series against South Carolina following that.