WEEKEND RECAP: Tigers take Series at Mississippi State
Dylan Ingram hit two home runs in the series win over Mississippi State (Photo: Auburn Athletics/Wade Rackley)
#5 Auburn Baseball faced more adversity over the weekend. Not only did the Tigers have to hit the road to face the top team in the SEC West, but had to do so with ace Casey Mize and hot-hitter Luke Jarvis. But, much like most conference series’ this season, Auburn fought adversity and took two out of three from the #8 Mississippi State Bulldogs at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville. FRIDAY-- MISSISSIPPI STATE 5 AUBURN 2 The Bulldogs struck first in the bottom half of the first inning. The two key bats on the team, Jake Mangum, and Brent Rooker reached base to open the inning on a hit by pitch and a single respectively. A flyout by Ryan Gridley advanced both runners into scoring position in the next at-bat, with a mishap by starter Keegan Thompson allowing the first run to score. A balk with two on and no outs scored Mangum, moving Mississippi State ahead 1-0. Auburn would score both of their runs over the fourth and fifth innings. Jonah Todd opened the inning by walking on four pitches, and Jay Estes reached on a single to right field. Todd later scored on a sacrifice fly from Josh Anthony. Dylan Ingram scored the final Auburn run by reaching on the second Bulldog error in the fifth inning. Again, Todd was the Auburn runner who scored. The Tigers were never able to grab a lead, however, as Mississippi State scored two runs in the fourth inning, holding on to a 3-2 advantage by the end of the fifth inning. The Bulldogs scored two more runs, one on a double by Cody Brown in the sixth inning, and a Gridley single in the seventh. Thompson was handed his second loss of the season, pitching 6.2 innings, allowing six hits and zero walks while striking out five. Todd led all batters by recording two hits, and scoring both Auburn runs. SATURDAY GAME ONE-- AUBURN 17 MISSISSIPPI STATE 8 Due to rain expected in the Starkville area on Sunday, it was agreed between both clubs that a doubleheader would be played on Saturday. Seven Tigers recorded a hit in the first game of the twin bill, with six of those recording multiple hits. Mississippi State held on to a 3-1 lead heading into the fourth inning, but Auburn took the wind out of their sails by hanging seven runs on the board in the fourth inning. Six out of the seven runs scored in the inning came with the bases loaded. Josh Anthony scored the first run of the inning on a wild pitch. After a walk and a hit by pitch to load the bases, Todd singled through the left side to score Jeremy Johnson to tie the game at three. Auburn took the lead on the next at-bat on a sacrifice fly from Estes. Ingram entered the box and would deliver the big blow of the inning. For the second time this season, Ingram hit a grand slam, extending Auburn’s lead to 8-3. The second big inning for Auburn came in the eighth inning, when five runs scored, extending their lead to 15-8. Much like the fourth inning, four runs scored with the bases juiced. Todd was the key contributor in the inning when his two-out triple scored three runs. A walk to Will Holland earlier in the inning scored the first run. The Tigers scored two more runs in the top of the ninth inning on a groundout and a lineout. Cole Lipscomb earned the win from the bullpen. The senior threw 4.2 innings, allowing four hits and an earned run while striking out four. Todd and Ingram had four RBI each. SATURDAY GAME TWO-- AUBURN 5 MISSISSIPPI STATE 3 For the second week in a row, Auburn would need to find a way to win the decisive game three of a key conference series without Casey Mize on the mound. For the second straight week, the Tigers’ bullpen answered the call. Elliot Anderson tossed 2.1 innings in his second appearance of the week, allowing a run and four hits, picking up his first career win. Calvin Coker earned the save after he pitched 2.1 innings with two strikeouts. Auburn scored all five of their runs in the fourth inning. Tied at zero, Conor Davis, Dylan Ingram, and Jeremy Johnson took advantage of Mississippi State pitching, and plated enough runs to put their team ahead for good. Todd and Estes reached scoring position for Davis with no out, and he scored both base runners on a single to center. Ingram delivered his second home run in as many days one at-bat later to score Davis, extending Auburn’s lead to 4-0. Josh Anthony reached base on a walk and later scored on a Johnson double. Harrison Bragg cut the lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the inning on a single with two on. The Bulldogs attempted a rally in the seventh and ninth innings, but fell short, giving Auburn the 5-3 win. Dylan Ingram hit two home runs in the series, extending his number to seven, the team high. His second grand slam of the season came in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, making him the first Tiger since 2012 to hit two grand slams in a season. Jonah Todd had two games of multiple hits on the weekend, plating four RBI between two games on Saturday. Todd finishes the week with eight hits and four RBI. Next up for Auburn is three-game series with Alabama at Plainsman Park. First pitch of game one is set for 6 P.M. Friday.