No. 17 Auburn loses Starkville series 2-1

April 12, 2022; Auburn, AL, USA; Mike Bello (31) runs to first during the game between Auburn and Samford at Plainsman Park. Mandatory Credit: Jacob Taylor/AU Athletics
April 12, 2022; Auburn, AL, USA; Mike Bello (31) runs to first during the game between Auburn and Samford at Plainsman Park. Mandatory Credit: Jacob Taylor/AU Athletics

The No. 17 Auburn Tigers traveled to Starkville, MS to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Dudy Noble Field. Auburn came into this series after taking two out of three games against the No. 12 Vanderbilt Commodores at home last weekend and beating the Samford Bulldogs at home on Tuesday night. Mississippi State came into this series after getting swept by the No. 15 LSU Tigers at home last weekend and beating the UAB Blazers at home on Tuesday night. 

Blake Burkhalter started the first game for Auburn and Brandon Smith started it for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs got off to a fast start scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Nathan LaRue hit a homerun for Auburn in the top of the third inning to score the Tiger’s first run. Mississippi State scored another run in the bottom of the third inning. Auburn scored four runs in the top of the fifth and sixth innings to give them a 5-3 lead going into the seventh inning. Mississippi State scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Cole Foster hit a home run in the top of the eighth inning to put Auburn up 6-5. Auburn would carry that lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, but Auburn gave up a run on a wild pitch and forced a run in on a walk to give Mississippi State a 7-6 win. Head coach Butch Thompson said, “We've played this game over and over and have found a way, just not tonight,". He added, “It wasn't totally clean, but we hung in there”. 

Trace Bright got the nod for Auburn in game two and Preston Johnson got it for Mississippi. Auburn did not make any noise offensively until the top of the seventh inning, Mississippi State held a 4-0 lead. Bobby Pierce got across for Auburn’s first run due to a fielding error. Mississippi State tacked on three more in the bottom of the seventh inning to almost insure the win for the Bulldogs. Auburn scored four runs in the top of the eighth inning to make the score 9-5. That ended up being the final. After the game, head coach Butch Thompson said, “The last three weekends we have been good on that third game, and we will need to be tomorrow”. He added, “We need to get something out of this series and come out here ready to fight.”

Joseph Gonzalez took the mound in the series finale for Auburn, and Cade Smith had those duties for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs scored two runs in the bottom of the second inning, and that was all the scoring until the top of the seventh. Kason Howell hit a double that scored Blake Rambusch. Cam Hill also hit a single that scored Kason Howell and tied the game. In the top of the eighth inning Brooks Carlson hit a double down the right field line and there was a fielding error that allowed Bobby Peirce to score and gave Auburn a 3-2 lead. Blake Burkhalter was able to nail down the save for Auburn in the bottom of the ninth inning to help the Tigers avoid the sweep. 

Auburn has five games at home next week. The Tigers play Alabama State on Tuesday, Kennesaw State on Wednesday, and South Carolina on Friday-Sunday.

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