Auburn may have taken the first two games in the series against Missouri but fell short in the regular season finale as Missouri defeated Auburn 7-6 Saturday at Taylor Stadium.
"We definitely wanted to win the ballgame so it does sting a little bit," said head coach Butch Thompson. "There's no doubt about that. "We had kind of talked about the tempo and being able to get out of innings, and we just couldn't crab the tempo once we got in the bullpen."
Trace Bright got the start on the mound for Auburn and pitched 3.1 scoreless innings before Blake Burkhalter relieved him.
Auburn was also scoreless to start as they had one-out doubles from Tyler Miller and Cam Hill in the first and second innings, respectively, but were unable to bring them home.
Missouri got a pair of runners on in the third with back-to-back singles with two outs, but Rankin Woley's diving play and step on the bag ended the threat.
After three total hits through the first four innings, Auburn broke through in the fifth inning with three runs on four hits off Missouri starter Zach Hise.
Bryson Ware led off with a double and advanced following a sacrifice bunt by Judd Ward. Ware scored following an RBI single by Nate LaRue.
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With LaRue on first, Ryan Bliss' single to right advanced LaRue to third before he scored on Miller's sacrifice fly. Woley faced a two-out and two-strike count but his base hit scored Bliss from second.
Missouri responded with three runs in the sixth to tie the game up, but Ware's leaping catch in right field prevented a go-ahead three-run home run.
Auburn took back the lead in the top of the seventh as LaRue's leadoff double was followed by a groundout that advanced him to third. He then scored following a sacrifice fly to shallow left. Saturday's contest was LaRue's second multi-hit game of the season and his career.
Missouri took the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh with a four-run inning. Missouri's first four batters reached on two hits and two walks, and they all came around to score as Missouri took a 7-4 lead.
Ward bunted in the eighth with two on and two outs, and both runners scored off a throwing error at first. Ward reached third in the eighth but was stranded.
Auburn had another chance to tie the game up in the ninth with a runner on with two outs, but Missouri's right fielder made a running catch to rob Brody Moore of a third hit and game-tying RBI.
Eight of Auburn's nine starters had hits in the game. Moore, Woley, Hill and LaRue all had two hits each.
Overall in the series against Missouri, Auburn's starting pitchers combined to throw 18 innings and did not allow an earned run over the weekend. Auburn's starters allowed a combined 10 hits, one walk and struck out 16 batters over the three games.
Auburn will now head to Hoover, Alabama, for the SEC Tournament. 12th-seed Auburn will take on fifth-seeded Ole Miss Tuesday night.
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