Picking up their first shutout in SEC play since turning the trick against Auburn in 2013, the Mississippi State Bulldogs used a strong starting pitching performance from Trevor Fitts (4-2) and the long ball to knock off Auburn 3-0 Friday at Plainsman Park in Auburn.
C.T. Bradford, who led the Bulldogs with three hits in four at-bats, smacked a leadoff homer over the right field fence in the top of the fourth to put Mississippi State ahead 1-0, and in the fifth inning, Cody Brown sent a roundtripper to right center to push the lead to 2-0.
In the top of the eighth, Matthew Britton picked up a one-out single, and Bradford drove him home with a double to set the final margin.
Fitts cruised through his first five innings of work, only allowing six base runners, before finding trouble in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, Blake Austin swung at strike three, but advanced to first on the misplayed pitch. Fitts then hit Keegan Thompson with a pitch, and Austin and Thompson advanced to scoring position on a wild pitch, prompting Mississippi State coach John Cohen to bring Jacob Lindgren out of the bullpen with the Tigers (25-21, 9-13) threatening.
Lindgren ended the threat with back-to-back strikeouts, and he went on to strike out six in the game. In the bottom of the ninth, Thompson reached first after swinging at strike three, and Lindgren issued a walk to Anfernee Grier to bring the tying run to the plate for Auburn.
The Bulldogs (29-18,12-10) brought Jonathan Holder (6) to the mound, and he used ten pitches to force a line out and a double play to end the game.
The teams return to action Saturday at 6 pm, and it can be seen on CSS and ESPN3.