STARKVILLE, Miss. — The No. 2 Mississippi State baseball team scored 20 runs on 21 hits in a 20-15 rubber match win over No. 16 Auburn Sunday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU (22-3, 4-2 SEC) scored a run in the first inning, a run in the second inning, three runs in the third, one in the fourth, four in the fifth, three in the sixth, two in the seventh and five in the eighth in the Southeastern Conference win. Auburn (20-4, 4-2 SEC) scored four runs in the third inning, seven in the fourth, one in the sixth and three in the seventh.
Senior Jake Mangum got the bottom of the first started by reaching first on a throwing error. He then came around to score after reaching third base on a double from sophomore Tanner Allen and scoring on a sacrifice fly from senior Elijah MacNamee to make it 1-0 after the first frame. The Diamond Dawgs added another run in the second inning after sophomore Rowdey Jordan reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and came around to score on an RBI double from Mangum.
The Tigers scored four runs in the top of the third after an RBI single from sophomore Edouard Julien, a two-RBI double from freshman Ryan Bliss and an RBI single from freshman Kason Howell. The Dawgs then responded with three runs in their half of the third to make it a 5-4 MSU lead. After a ground out, MacNamee hit a double. A flyball moved him to third before junior Dustin Skelton’s RBI single scored him. Skelton then stole second. A double from Freshman Brad Cumbest scored him before a double from Jordan plated Cumbest.
Auburn then scored seven runs in the fourth inning on a two-run home run from sophomore Steven Williams, an RBI double from Julien, an RBI single from junior Conor Davis, an RBI single from sophomore Judd Ward, where another run scored on a fielding error and the final run of seven-run frame coming at the hands of a ground out to give Auburn an 11-5 lead.
The Dawgs got a run back in the bottom half of the fourth after sophomore Jordan Westburg reached on a fielder’s choice, reached second on a passed ball and came around to score on an RBI single from Allen.
State then scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth to draw within one at 11-10. Skelton drew a leadoff walk, which was followed by a single from Jordan where both runners moved up a base. Junior Gunner Halter then singled up the middle to score two runs. The inning was capped off with a two-run home run to center field from Westburg.
Auburn increased its lead by one in the top of the sixth after junior Matt Scheffler doubled and came around to score on an MSU error. In the bottom half, MacNamee singled to center to start the frame. Sophomore Justin Foscue then drew a walk to put two runners on base. Skelton then singled to load the bases before Jordan hit a three-RBI double to to clear the bases and give the Dawgs a 13-12 lead.
The Tigers would then regain a 15-13 lead after Ward hit a three-run bomb to right center.
The Diamond Dawgs responded by scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI double from Foscue and another run off of a single at the hands of Skelton.
MSU would then add five runs in the bottom of the eighth to give the Dawgs a game-clinching 20-15 lead. Mangum singled to start the inning before a Westburg double brought him home, Foscue then singled before Skelton hit a three-run home run to left center.
Eight Diamond Dawg hitters finished with multi-hit games, including Skelton with four, Cumbest and Jordan with three apiece, and Mangum, Westburg, Allen, MacNamee and Foscue each hitting two.
Redshirt-junior Keegan James got the start on the mound and tossed three innings and allowed four runs on eight hits. He struck out three batters and walked one.
Four relief pitchers would then come in for the next six innings before graduate student Cole Gordon (3-0) pitched the final three innings while earning the win. He allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits. He struck out three batters and walked one.
Sophomore Cody Greenhill (0-1) was charged with the Tiger loss after coming into the game in the sixth inning. He tossed 2 1⁄3 innings, where he allowed five runs on seven hits.
The Diamond Dawgs will be back in action Tuesday when they host Mississippi Valley State at Dudy Noble Field. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT.