STARKVILLE, Miss. — After dropping the first game of the three-game series against No. 16 Auburn on Friday, the No. 2 Mississippi State baseball team bounced back with a 15-2 win Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU improves to 21-3 (3-2 SEC), while the Tigers fall to 20-3 (4-1 SEC).
The Dawgs scored five runs in the first inning, two in the fifth inning, one in the seventh inning and seven in the eighth en route to the 15-2 win. The Gators scored a run in the second inning and a run in the eighth.
Senior Jake Mangum led the game off with a single before sophomore Jordan Westburg brought him home with an RBI double. Sophomore Tanner Allen drew a walk, which was followed by a fielder’s choice where Westburg was out at third and senior Elijah MacNamee reached first. Sophomore Justin Foscue and junior Dustin Skelton then hit back-to-back RBI singles to make it 3-0. Sophomore Rowdey Jordan then singled and reached third after a throwing error. Two runs also scored on the play to give the Dawgs a 5-0 lead after one inning of play.
Auburn got a run back in the second inning after junior Conor Davis hit a leadoff single to third base. He then moved over to third on a double from freshman Ryan Bliss before scoring on a ground out.
The score remained the same until the fifth inning when State scored a pair of runs on four hits. After a strikeout began the inning, Jordan singled to left field. A trio of singles from junior Gunner Halter, Mangum and Westburg scored two runs in the inning to make it 7-1.
The Dawgs added another run in the bottom of the seventh when Halter doubled to right center before moving to third on a Mangum single and scoring on a Westburg sacrifice fly.
The Tigers scored a run in the eighth inning after sophomore Judd Ward singled and came around to score after junior Matt Scheffler doubled and sophomore Steven Williams hit a sac fly. However, the eighth inning was highlighted by MSU, as the Dawgs scored seven runs on six hits. A MacNamee leadoff walk and a Foscue single began the inning. Skelton then drew a walk to load the bases. Freshman Landon Jordan, who came in to pinch hit for senior Marshall Gilbert, hit a two-RBI single through the right side. A double from R. Jordan then scored Skelton before a passed ball scored L. Jordan. A ground out scored R. Jordan before Westburg homered to left center to make it 14-2. Allen followed that up with a single. Freshman Brad Cumbest pinch hit for MacNamee and hit a double to send Allen over to third. A wild pitch scored Allen to give MSU the 15-2 lead.
As a team, the Dawgs compiled 20 hits compared to Auburn’s four. Mangum led the team with four hits, while Westburg, Halter and R. Jordan added three hits apiece. Westburg also finished with a team-high five RBIs. Foscue finished with two hits and two runs in the contest.
Freshman JT Ginn (6-0) earned his sixth win in as many starts. He allowed just two earned runs on just three hits in seven innings of work. He fanned six batters and walked one. Senior Jared Liebelt then pitched the final two innings and allowed one hit and struck out three batters.
Freshman southpaw Carson Skipper (3-1) was charged with the Tiger loss after surrendering five runs, four of which were earned, on five hits. He was pulled in the first inning after getting just two outs. He struck out one batter and walked two.
MSU and Auburn will now play a rubber-match on Sunday with a 1 p.m. CT first pitch at Dudy Noble Field.