The Auburn baseball team (12-16, 1-11 SEC) was swept this weekend at home by top five opponent Mississippi State. Auburn has now faced three top five opponents in the first four weeks of conference play. The Tigers hung tight with the Bulldogs in game one before ultimately falling 6-5. Neither of the final two games in the series were particularly close with the Bulldogs picking up 7-2 and 19-10 victories. After Auburn got a relatively fine start from Cody Greenhill (3-0 1.83 era) in game one, Auburn's starting pitchers (Jack Owen and Joseph Gonzalez) struggled in the next two games. Ryan Bliss (5 hits, including a double and a home run, and 3 RBIs), Kason Howell (4 hits including a home run), Bryson Ware (2 home runs, 3 RBIs), and Brody Moore (4 hits including a double) led the Tigers at the plate for the weekend. Auburn hit six total home runs on the weekend to bring their season total to 43, which is tied for tenth nationally.
Game one (Friday):
Mississippi State 6 Auburn 5
The Bulldogs struck first with an unearned run in the top of the second inning without recording a hit in the inning to take an early 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs used two walks, a hit by pitch, and an error to bring home the run. Auburn took the lead in the bottom of the fourth on a pair of solo home runs, one from Rankin Woley and one from Bryson Ware. Mississippi State immediately answered with two home runs of their own in the top of the fifth. Tanner Allen hit a two run shot after a leadoff error by the Tigers put a baserunner aboard, and Kamren James followed with a solo homer in the next at-bat. Both home runs were hit off Auburn starter Cody Greenhill who allowed two earned runs in five innings pitched. The Bulldogs extended their lead to three in the top of the seventh when Rowdey Jordan and Tanner Allen led off the inning with back-to-back doubles. Auburn responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at 5 apiece. A pair of walks and a single loaded the bases for Tyler Miller who came through with a single to plate a pair. Brody Moore then chopped one up the middle which forced Mississippi State into an error to plate the third run of the inning. Steven Williams struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning, as the Tigers failed to make the most of their opportunity. Tanner Leggett hit a one out infield double in the top of the eighth when the Tigers' infield lost the ball in the night sky. Leggett would eventually come home to score on a wild pitch with what proved to be the winning run. Carson Skipper was charged with the loss after throwing the final two innings.
Game two (Saturday):
Mississippi State 7 Auburn 2
Mississippi State scored six times in the first four innings to jump out to an early 6-1 lead and then cruised rest of the afternoon. Auburn starter Jack Owen, in just his second start of the season after suffering a hand injury in preseason practice, was charged with the loss after allowing 6 runs, all earned, on nine hits in 3.2 innings pitched. The Auburn bullpen did an admirable job keeping the game from getting farther out of hand, holding the Bulldogs to one run, on a solo home run, in the final 5.1 innings. However, Auburn was unable to get going offensively. Cam Hill scored Auburn's first run of the game in the second on a solo home run, but the Tigers did not score again until the eighth inning when Ryan Bliss singled home a run.
Game three (Sunday):
Mississippi State 19 Auburn 10
Mississippi State jumped on Auburn for 10 runs in the first inning and never looked back as they cruised in the series finale. Nine of the ten runs plated in the first were charged to Auburn freshman starter Joseph Gonzalez who only lasted two-thirds of an inning. The Bulldogs added two more in the third, fifth, and sixth, and three in the eighth to go up 19-5. Auburn scored five runs in their final six at-bats but it was too little too late for the Tigers. Will Morrison and Peyton Glavine were the only two Auburn pitchers to throw at least an inning without allowing a run to score. Ryan Bliss, Kason Howell, and Bryson Ware all homered for the Tigers.
Auburn is back in action this Tuesday when they travel to Atlanta to take on number twenty Georgia Tech before traveling to Tuscaloosa for a three game series with the Crimson Tide.