After maintaining the lead into the bottom of the ninth, miscues cost Auburn the win in its first College World Series game since 1997.
Mississippi State scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to get the walk-off 5-4 win. It was the Bulldogs' 28th comeback victory of the season.
Edouard Julien had been the star of the game until there was one out left in the game. In the second, Julien hit a two-run homer to get Auburn the 2-0 lead. In the fourth, he hit an RBI single to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. Julien was responsible for all three of Auburn’s RBIs for the night, and he was the only Tiger with multiple hits in the game.
Then the ninth inning came and an error by Julien shifted the game entirely. With two outs and a runner on second, Dustin Skelton hit a ground ball to Julien at third. Julien could have tagged Elijah MacNamee, who was running to third, to get the final out of the game, but he chose to throw to first for the out. The ball flew over Rankin Woley’s head at first base, allowing MacNamee to score and tie the game 4-4.
Skelton took second on the error, Rowdey Jordan was intentionally walked and Josh Hatcher hit a single to third to load the bases with two outs. The winning run was 90 feet away, and a single up the middle from Marshall Gilbert allowed Skelton to score the unearned run to win the game for the Bulldogs.
"We had a chance to win the baseball game, I don't think there's any doubt about that," said Auburn coach Butch Thompson. "Just one play away tonight."
Mississippi State had threatened multiple times throughout the game, but Auburn got the big outs until the bottom of the ninth.
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In the fifth, the Bulldogs loaded the bases on a single, walk and single, but a foul out ended the inning. The sixth started off with a single and a walk allowed by Jack Owen. Elliott Anderson took the mound, and a single scored the Bulldog’s first run of the game.
Cody Greenhill came in to pitch for the Tigers, and after striking out the first batter he faced, he hit a batter to load the bases with two outs. A lineout ended the second potential rally from the Bulldogs, and Auburn held its lead at 3-1.
In the seventh, Greenhill walked a batter then allowed a single to put two on with no outs. Richard Fitts took the mound and got a double play on the first pitch he threw. A ground out ended the inning.
The Tigers scored an unearned run in the eighth to retake a three-run lead at 4-1. Ryan Bliss reached on an error but was throw out during a double play. Will Holland was hit by a pitch then Steven Williams singled. Holland was held at third but scored on a throwing error.
In the bottom of the ninth, a leadoff double spelled the end of Fitts’ night. Tanner Burns took the mound for his first career relief appearance. Burns got a strikeout then walked a batter to put two on with one out. A double scored a run to make it a 4-2 game, and a groundout allowed another run to score putting the Bulldogs within one with two outs.
The error occurred, a batter was walked and back-to-back singles allowed the tying run and the winning run to score. Burns earned the loss, and Auburn moved to the losers bracket.
"We've been through a ton, if you've watched our ball club," Thompson said. "This team's really grown a lot. We've changed, and we're better. I don't think much shocks us. We'll be back."
Auburn will play Louisville on Tuesday at 1 p.m. CST in an elimination game.
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