Auburn bats fall silent in 3-0 loss to Mississippi State
From the Auburn University Athletics Department:
AUBURN, Ala. – Mississippi State's three-run third inning was enough in a 3-0 Bulldog win Saturday night at Plainsman Park, sending Auburn to a second straight shutout loss.
The Tigers (25-22, 9-14) managed just four hits on the night as MSU's Ross Mitchell pitched his fourth complete game of the season. Mississippi State (30-18, 13-10) clinched its fifth SEC series victory of the season with tonight's win.
"Offensively, we did a poor job against Mitchell," Auburn head coach Sunny Golloway said. "He did was he was supposed to, he kind of floats it in there. We made a change to move up in the box. That's the way you can beat him. If we had that approach from the get-go, I think it's a different outcome. We had the scouting report but we didn't have a very good offensive approach. We've got to be better at having a better approach against certain guys.
"I don't understand it. I've never coached a team that couldn't score runs in college baseball. … It's frustrating to say the least. But we've got to come back tomorrow. We've got to have a good attitude, and we've got to have a good approach and try to find victory tomorrow."
Keegan Thompson (5-3), despite another quality start, was charged with the loss after giving up three earned runs on five hits while walking two and striking out four. The two walks proved to be a difference-maker as both runners would come around to score in the three-run Bulldog third.
"He really wasn't bad in that inning," Golloway said. "There was the double down the line and two walks. He was frustrated, so I tried to calm him down. I thought he did a good job pitching out of it. We got first and third with the run in, we've got to turn the double play. If we turn it, we get out of the inning with just one run in.
Trey Cochran-Gill pitched two innings of shutout ball in relief with two strikeouts.
Mitchell, with a fastball in the low 80s and a variety of breaking pitches in the mid-60s to low-70s, kept Auburn hitters off-balance the whole game, allowing just five base runners through the first eight innings. He walked one and hit three batters while striking out four on 132 pitches.
The Tigers had only two good scoring opportunities in the game. The first came in the sixth when a leadoff double by Dan Glevenyak, a walk to Damek Tomscha and a wild pitch put runners at second and third with two out, but Auburn was unable to capitalize.
Auburn loaded the bases with two out in the ninth, as Tomscha was hit by pitch and Jordan Ebert and Anfernee Grier delivered back-to-back singles to put the tying run at first. But the Tigers again could not push the run across as Mitchell finished off the shutout.
MSU scored three times in the third inning. Back-to-back walks led off the inning, and those two runs would score on an RBI single by C.T. Bradford and a fielder's choice that could have been an inning-ending double play. One batter later, Brett Pirtle laced a double into the right-field corner, allowing Alex Detz to score from first and make it 3-0.
The series concludes Sunday with a 1 p.m. game at Plainsman Park. Senior lefthander Michael O'Neal is slated to be the Tigers' starting pitcher.
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