AUBURN, Ala. — The No. 6 Mississippi State baseball team capitalized on a misplayed popup in the top of the eighth inning to defeat Auburn 6-5 in a back-and-forth game Friday night in the first game of a three-game series at Plainsman Park.
With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 22-7 (6-4 SEC), while the Tigers fall to 12-14 (1-9 SEC).
Senior Tanner Allen led the MSU offensive attack with two hits, three RBIs and one run scored. Senior Rowdey Jordan recorded two hits, two runs scored and an RBI, while sophomore Kamren James finished with two hits, one RBI and one run.
MSU junior pitcher Christian MacLeod got the start on the mound and allowed just two runs on five hits in six innings pitched. He struck out six batters and walked two.
In the seventh inning, three MSU pitchers surrendered three runs. Junior Brandon Smith (4-1) was credited with the win after getting the final two outs of the inning. Sophomore Landon Sims then earned his third save after pitching two scoreless innings with four strikeouts.
Auburn junior pitcher Carson Skipper (0-1) was charged with the loss after allowing one run on one hit with one walk and three strikeouts in two innings pitched.
The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning despite not recording a hit. Sophomore Logan Tanner walked and moved up to second when senior Josh Hatcher’s fielder’s choice sacrifice bunt did not result in an out. Senior Tanner Leggett sacrificed both runners up a base and senior Brayland Skinner was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jordan drew a bases-loaded walk to score the first run of the game.
The Tigers then took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on a pair of solo home runs from graduate student Rankin Woley and sophomore Bryson Ware.
MSU retook the lead at 4-2 in the top of the fifth. Jordan reached on an error before Allen hit a two-run home run to left field. James then followed with a blast of his own to left field.
In the top of the seventh inning, Jordan and Allen hit back-to-back doubles to right-center to increase the MSU lead to 5-2.
In the bottom half of the seventh, MSU junior pitcher Preston Johnson walked the first two batters before being replaced by senior Houston Harding. After one out was recorded, Harding surrendered a single that loaded the bases. He was then lifted for Smith. Smith allowed a two-RBI single by junior Tyler Miller before a fielding error by freshman Lane Forsythe tied the game at 5-5.
A groundout began the top of the eighth inning before Leggett’s infield popup was lost in the lights and resulted in a double. A groundout moved him to third before he scored on a wild pitch to give the Bulldogs a game-ending 6-5 lead.
The Bulldogs and Tigers return to the diamond Saturday at 2 p.m. CT for the second game of the series. It will be streaming on SEC Network+.