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#10 State Splits Decisions With Auburn Friday; Rubber Game Saturday

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Jonathan Holder picked up his 12th save in the conclusion of Game 1 against Auburn Friday night.
Photo Courtesy of Bill Simmonds

STARKVILLE, Miss. – A late rally fell short Friday night as No. 10 Mississippi State dropped a 3-1 decision to Auburn in a Southeastern Conference baseball game played at Dudy Noble Field.

The Bulldogs and Tigers then turned around and completed the Super Bulldog Weekend series opener late Friday night. The teams were in the seventh inning when heavy rains forced suspension of the nationally-televised contest Thursday night.

No scoring took place in the resumption and MSU held on to post a 6-3 victory. Thus, a rubber game in the weekend series is set for 4 p.m. Saturday. This will be the third time in six weekend series the Bulldogs have played a rubber game.

MSU is now 31-10 overall and 9-8 in league play, while Auburn is 24-15 and 6-11. The Bulldogs have won six of their last eight games in league play.

In Friday’s opener, MSU had few answers for Auburn starting pitcher Michael O’Neal. O’Neal (8-2) threw seven innings of five-hit shutout baseball, with four strikeouts and four walks. Terrance Dedrick completed the contest for his fourth save.

“We let the game beat us offensively,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “Our pitcher had an overthrow on a routine play. Our outfielder overruns a ball. If we make those two plays, we might still be playing. Adam Frazier had three hits and as a team, we hit a lot of balls hard. That is also the ingredient for a double play ball.”

The Bulldogs hit into two double plays and did not score until an RBI-single by Nick Ammirati in the ninth inning. A double by C.T.Bradford started that at-bat. The Bulldogs stranded two base runners in the ninth inning and 10 for the game.

“When we were down 3-0, we kept battling,” Cohen said. “We kept putting pressure on them but they made the plays. Sometimes in baseball, it is not your night. We didn’t get anything done offensively, even though we had some chances.”

Auburn touched MSU starting pitcher Kendall Graveman (5-3) for 10 hits and three runs (one earned). The Tigers scored single runs in the first, third and fifth innings.

Adam Frazier had three of MSU’s eight hits. Bradford and Ammirati added multiple hits.

In the completion of Thursday night’s game, Jonathan Holder threw the final 2.2 innings to record his 12th save. Holder is now tied with Caleb Reed for third all-time on the career saves list at MSU with 21. The 12 saves is also good for third all-time in a single season, along with Adam Larson and Reed.

The Bulldogs erased a 3-1 deficit with three runs in the third inning. Brett Pirtle drew a bases-loaded walk. Wes Rea drove in the game-tying run on a sacrifice fly. Bradford plated the go-ahead run on an RBI-single.

After Auburn scored in the first inning, Rea tied things with his fourth home run of the season.

Ross Mitchell (7-0) earned the win, with three innings of four-hit shutout relief, following starting pitcher Luis Pollorena. Pollorena was lifted during AU’s two-run fourth inning.

Conner Kendrick (2-2) was lifted in the sixth inning for Auburn and took the loss.

Bradford and Ammirati each had two of MSU’s seven hits.

Auburn received three hits from Cullen Wacker. The Tigers’ nine-hit attack was thwarted by four errors in the field.

In today’s series finale, MSU is scheduled to start sophomore left-hander Jacob Lindgren (3-1, 3.08 ERA), while Auburn is scheduled to start junior left-hander Will Kendall (0-4, 6.75).

 

 


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