No. 21/21 Auburn Tops Mississippi State 11-3

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Freshman Mackenzie Toler went one-for-two and hit her first career home run Friday at Auburn.
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AUBURN, Ala. - An eight-run fourth inning helped No. 21/21 Auburn to an 11-3 victory against Mississippi State on Friday at Jane B. Moore Field. The first career home run for freshman Mackenzie Toler, a two-run blast in the top of the second, had the Bulldogs ahead 2-0 until the fourth frame.  

Toler finished the night one-for-two with a walk while senior Logan Foulks went two-for-two with a home run, double and hit by pitch.   

Freshman Alexis Silkwood earned the start and threw three scoreless innings. She allowed two hits and struck out one. Sophomore Jacey Punches (6-1) took the loss, throwing one-third of an inning and yielding five runs on three hits and two walks. Senior Shana Sherrod threw the remaining inning-and-two-thirds, allowing six runs on eight hits. She struck out one and walked another. Lexi Davis (14-4) earned the victory for Auburn, scattering five hits and three walks. She struck out four and gave up all three runs.   

Mississippi State (22-9, 1-6 SEC) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second on Toler’s first career long ball. Foulks led off the inning getting hit by a pitch before Toler’s homer. After a foul out, senior Sam Lenahan walked, but a groundout and strikeout stranded her at second base.  

Auburn (27-4-1, 3-1 SEC) tallied its first hit in the bottom of the second with a one-out single to center from Jade Rhodes, but a strikeout and groundout ended the frame.  

The Bulldogs mounted a two-out rally in the top of the third, but could not convert. After a groundout and strikeout, freshman Caroline Seitz drew a walk, Foulks followed with a double that advanced Seitz to third and Toler walked to load the bases. A fielder’s choice force at second base, however, closed the inning.  

Neither team had another threat until the bottom of the fourth, when Auburn scored eight times to go ahead 8-2. Punches entered to the start the inning in the circle for the Bulldogs. Kasey Cooper led off with a single to left and Branndi Melero drew a walk to put runners on first and second. A sacrifice bunt moved the pair up a base and a Jenna Abbott single up the middle plated both runners and evened the score at 2-2. A single and walk loaded the bases with one out and Sherrod entered to relieve Punches. She struck out Tiffany Howard, but with two outs, Auburn scored six runs to break the game open. Emily Carosone poked a single to left that drove in one for a 3-2 lead. A Morgan Estell two-run single to center made it a three-run Auburn cushion. Cooper singled to center to drive in one and Melero doubled down the right-field line to plate two more. A groundout ended the inning. 

MSU got a run back in the top of the sixth as Foulks led off with a home run to left center to make it an 8-3 contest. With two outs, Lenahan singled, but a groundout on a diving stop from second baseman Carosone ended the threat.   

Auburn scored three in the bottom of the sixth to go ahead 11-3 and end the contest due to the eight-run rule. Howard led off with a single and Carosone hit a long ball just inside the right-field foul pole for the seven-run advantage. Estell followed with a four-pitch walk, moved to second on a Cooper single and scored on a Melero single to center field.   

The teams continue the series Saturday with a 1 p.m. CT contest.  

Post-Game Notes
-         Mississippi State was hit by two pitches, giving the Bulldogs 39 HBP this year. The total is the third most in a campaign in Mississippi State history. The 2012 squad owns the record with 57 hit by pitches.

-         The Bulldogs tallied their second two-homer contest in the last six games as MSU hit two at Georgia State on March 12.

-         Senior Jessica Offutt is hitting .500 (seven-for-14) in the last six contests.

-         During Southeastern Conference games this season, Offutt is hitting .625 (five-for-eight).

-         Senior Logan Foulks hit her first home run since March 1 against Memphis. It’s her first Southeastern Conference long ball since May 4, 2013, at Texas A&M.

-         Senior Sam Lenahan snapped a zero-for-37 skid with a single in the sixth inning.

-         Freshman Mackenzie Toler hit her first career home run in the top of the second inning to tie her career high for runs batted in with two.

-         Toler recorded her first multiple-RBI game since Feb. 8 versus Jacksonville State.

-         Toler is hitting a team second-best .308 (four-for-13) in the last five games. She is also tied for the squad lead during the span with two runs batted in.

-         Freshman pitcher Alexis Silkwood made her first career SEC start.

-         Senior Shana Sherrod recorded her first SEC strikeout since 2011, fanning Tiffany Howard looking with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning.


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