STARKVILLE, Miss. — MSU took a 5-0 lead early, but six unanswered runs over four innings from the Tigers proved to be the difference as the Diamond Dawgs dropped the Southeastern Conference series opener, 6-5, on Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.
With the loss, MSU falls to 20-3 (2-2 SEC), while Auburn improves to 20-2 (4-0 SEC).
The Diamond Dawgs jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Senior Jake Mangum led the inning off with a single, but was out on a fielder’s choice a play later that allowed sophomore Jordan Westburg to reach first. Sophomore Tanner Allen and senior Elijah MacNamee then followed up with back-to-back walks to load the bases. Westburg then scored on a wild pitch before sophomore Justin Foscue hit a two-RBI double to make it 3-0. Junior Dustin Skelton’s single scored Foscue to cap off the four-run frame.
The Dawgs then added a run in the fifth inning to increase their lead to 5-0. Foscue struck out, but reached first on a wild pitch. He then moved to second on a wild pitch before coming around to score on a dropped flyball.
Back-to-back one-out home runs from Auburn’s Steven Williams and Rankin Woley made it a 5-2 ballgame after six innings of play. The seventh inning got started with a single from Auburn’s Kason Howell. Sophomore Judd Ward followed that up with a double to put runners on second and third. A pair of ground outs scored Howell and Ward to make it 5-4.
Woley began the top of the eighth inning with a single before coming around to score on a double from sophomore Edouard Julien. Julien then scored on an RBI single from Howell to make it 6-5.
MSU was outhit 9-7 in the loss. Westburg was the lone Diamond Dawg to secure a multi-hit game. He finished with two. Foscue led the team with two RBIs.
MSU got a quality start from redshirt-junior Ethan Small. He tossed six innings and allowed two earned runs on three hits. He struck out seven batters and walked three. Senior Jared Liebelt got two outs in the seventh inning, but allowed two runs on two hits. Redshirt-junor Trysten Barlow got the final out of the inning with a strikeout. Junior Colby White (1-1) was charged with the loss after allowing two runs in one inning of work. Freshman Brandon Smith pitched the final inning and struck out one batter and only allowed one hit.
Junior Elliott Anderson (4-0) earned the win after recording the final two outs of the seventh inning.
The squads will take the field again on Saturday for a 2 p.m. CT first pitch. Saturday’s game will also be the program’s Salute to Service game, featuring various pregame ceremonies beginning at 1:45 p.m. The pregame festivities will also feature a flyover before first pitch.