Starkville, MS

Mississippi State baseball falls to No. 17 Auburn 3-2 in Saturday’s series finale

Collin Wilmes

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Mississippi State Athletics

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State baseball fell to No. 17 Auburn 3-2 in Saturday’s series finale at Dudy Noble Field.

Despite the loss, MSU managed to win the Southeastern Conference series two games to one with a 7-6 win on Thursday and a 9-5 win on Friday.

The Bulldogs (21-16, 6-9 SEC) led 2-0 after two innings before the Tigers (24-12, 8-7 SEC) scored two runs in the seventh inning and one in the eighth. In the bottom of the ninth inning, MSU freshman Hunter Hines drew a leadoff walk and junior Matt Corder pinch ran for him. Corder advanced on a sacrifice bunt before trying to score from second on senior Brad Cumbest’s single through the left side, but he was thrown out at the plate by junior Bryson Ware.

Hits were even at 8-8. MSU sophomore Kellum Clark was 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run, while Cumbest was also 2-for-4. Auburn had three players record multiple hits. Senior Kason Howell was 2-for-5 with one RBI and one run, sophomore Cam Hill was 2-for-4 with one run and redshirt junior Bobby Peirce was 2-for-4 with one run.

Sophomore pitcher Cade Smith started for the Bulldogs and tossed six scoreless innings, allowing four hits, striking out five batters and walking four. Sophomore Jackson Fristoe (3-4) was charged with the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits with one strikeout and one walk. Freshman Pico Kohn pitched the final 1 2⁄3 innings and allowed just two hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

Auburn sophomore pitcher Joseph Gonzalez (5-0) earned the win after allowing just two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in eight innings. Junior Blake Burkhalter pitched the ninth inning and allowed one hit with one strikeout and one walk to earn his eighth save.

In the bottom of the second inning, Hines and Clark hit back-to-back home runs to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.

The Tigers tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the seventh inning. Redshirt junior Blake Rambusch was hit by a pitch with one out and scored on Howell’s RBI double to left field. Senior Sonny DiChiara was then intentionally walked, and Hill followed with an RBI single through the left side to score Howell.

In the top of the eighth inning, Peirce reached on a fielding error and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on graduate student Brooks Carlson’s RBI double down the right-field line to end the game’s scoring.

The Bulldogs will return to the diamond Tuesday when they host Jackson State at 6 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.

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