In the opening game of the crucial series between No. 5 Auburn and No. 8 Mississippi State, the Bulldogs claimed the victory, 5-2 at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville, Miss. Auburn’s Keegan Thompson (5-2) took the road loss of the pivotal series, which features the top two teams in the SEC West.
“I thought Keegan [Thompson] went to another gear a couple of times,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. “There’s a reason why, outside of their first weekend, they’ve won every Friday night. We knew something had to give tonight.”
Thompson’s 6.2 innings were the most for the redshirt junior in a single game this season. The righty dropped five strikeouts, suffering five runs on six hits.
The Tigers took the field without streaking infielder Conor Davis and home-run machine Jay Estes. As a result, the Tigers (30-14, 12-7 SEC) mustered only four hits and two runs overall, while the starters’ replacements Jeremy Johnson and Will Holland both finished 0 for 3 at the dish.
Mississippi State (30-14, 14-5 SEC) attacked Thompson early in a series highlighted by superstar Bulldog Brent Rooker’s single, capped by a balk from the ace Auburn pitcher, his first of the year. The Tigers ended the contest with a 2 for 10 clip with runners on base and a 1 for 6 mark with runners in scoring position.
Josh Anthony’s sac fly in the top of the fourth tied things up, however Mississippi State responded by scratching a pair of runs across in the bottom of the fourth to grab a 3-1 lead. Redshirt senior Cody Brown ripped an RBI double in the sixth inning to push the scoreboard to its final tally of 4-2.
“We just kept battling,” Thompson said. “It was just one of those nights. No excuses, I thought we did play hard. I thought we were engaged the entire ball game and battled, but just came up short.”
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The Tigers must make a quick turnaround, as games two and three were both rescheduled to Saturday due to inclement weather suspicions for Sunday. True freshman Davis Daniel will start the first game of the day, while typical game three pitcher Casey Mize is “TBA” per coach Thompson on Thursday. The second game of the series and the first of the double header is set to begin at 2 p.m. CST.
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