Following Friday night’s disappointing loss, Auburn needed to find answers Saturday to have a chance for first place in the SEC West. Auburn did just that.
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The fifth-ranked Tigers swept a doubleheader from No. 8 Mississippi State Saturday to pull even with the Bulldogs atop the SEC West.
Auburn won game one 17-8 followed by a 5-3 victory in the nightcap.
“We just keep coming up with a new name,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson on Auburn’s postgame radio broadcast. “I’m just proud of our guys for how they played the entire day. We finished the deal.”
In game one, Mississippi State jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the third inning by way of home runs by Harrison Bragg and Brent Rooker.
Auburn then responded with one of its biggest innings of the season. The Tigers erupted for seven runs, capped by the second grand slam of the season by Dylan Ingram.
The inning began with back-to-back singles by Josh Anthony and Jeremy Johnson. Anthony scored on a wild pitch by Bulldogs’ starter Cole Gordon to close the deficit to 3-2. Following a walk and hit batsman, Jonah Todd singled through the left side to score Johnson and tie the game. The Tigers then took a 4-3 lead on a sacrifice fly by Jay Estes.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Ingram took Peyton Plumlee deep to left field for his sixth home run of the year. The grand slam was Auburn’s third in 11 games after not hitting one for a stretch of 276 games dating back to 2012. Ingram is the first Auburn player with two grand slams in a season since Zach Alvord in 2012.
“I just went up there trying to get a pitch to hit,” Ingram said. “They had been working me with fastballs, and I just tried to jump on the first one. It worked out.”
After Mississippi State closed Auburn’s lead to 10-8 in the seventh, Auburn exploded for five runs in the eighth inning to put the game out of reach. The inning was highlighted by a two-out, three-run triple by Todd.
Cole Lipscomb (4-0) earned the win out of the Auburn bullpen, firing 4.2 innings and allowing just one run. He struck out four without allowing a walk.
Todd finished 3-for-4 with a career-high four RBI. Ingram, Anthony, Estes, Conor Davis and Damon Haecker each finished with two hits for Auburn.
Gordon (2-1) took the loss for the Bulldogs who hit three home runs in the game. Rooker, Bragg and Cody Brown went deep for Mississippi State.
In game two, Auburn jumped on the Bulldogs in the fourth inning and never looked back. The Tigers scored all five of its runs in the inning.
The inning began with back-to-back walks to Todd and Estes, who came around to score on a two-run single by Davis. The crushing blow came off the bat of Ingram, once again.
The junior launched his second home run of the day to extend Auburn’s lead to 4-0. It was Ingram’s team-leading seventh home run of the year.
“We came out today with a lot of fight and a lot of energy and we got the sweep and it’s awesome,” Ingram said.
Auburn, who was without Casey Mize, gave Andrew Mitchell the start in the rubber game of the series. Mitchell lasted 4.1 innings and allowed just one run on seven hits. Freshman Elliott Anderson relieved Mitchell and gave Auburn 2.1 innings out of the bullpen of one-run ball to earn his first-career win. Calvin Coker pitched the final 2.1 innings to pick up his second save of the season. Anderson and Coker each allowed one run without walking a batter.
“Andrew Mitchell got us off to a great start and held the rope,” Thompson said. “Elliott Anderson … I had no idea he would be in the situation he was in and gave us good outs. And then Calvin Coker, that’s the one thing he hasn’t done, finish a ballgame.”
Johnson finished game two 3-for-3 with a RBI double. Davis had two hits for the Tigers in game two to go along with his two hits in game one.
Rooker, the SEC’s leading hitter, finished game two 3-for-4 with a double and a home run. Bragg also finished 3-for-4. Jacob Billingsley took the loss for the Bulldogs.
Auburn improved to 32-14 overall and 14-7 in the SEC with Saturday’s doublehader sweep. Mississippi State fell to 30-16 and 14-7. The Tigers and Bulldogs each sit one game ahead of Arkansas and LSU in the SEC West. Auburn has the tiebreaker over Arkansas and Mississippi State after its back-to-back series victories over the Razorbacks and Bulldogs.
“We’re not done yet. We’re still hungry,” Johnson said. “We’re looking forward to the next one.”
Auburn will return to action Friday as it hosts archrival Alabama at Plainsman Park for a three-game series.
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