April 5, 2009
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Auburn found itself down by six runs to Mississippi State after the bottom of the fourth but used five home runs to storm back and win, 12-10, on Sunday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field. Auburn scored five runs in the fifth and added two in the seventh and three in the eighth to claim its first series win in Starkville since 2003.
"We were down 8-2 early and it looked like we didn't have anything going and we were playing poor baseball," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "We took the momentum in the middle part of the game and this was a good win for us, especially on the road."
Tony Caldwell finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk, three runs scored and four RBI, hitting the fourth home run of the five-run fifth and a two-run shot in the seventh.
"This team has great character. We are going to come back and we are never down. Games are never over until the last inning," Caldwell said.
"Tony has done a great job for us. We slid him up in the four-hole and he has handled that very well," Pawlowski said. "He has also handled our pitching staff really well and made some nice adjustments back there."
Joseph Sanders also had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-6 with three runs scored, securing his first career triple in the first and his team-leading 13th home run of the season in the fifth, tying him for second in the SEC. The junior also had the lone hit in Auburn's three-run eighth, starting the two-out rally with a single to left .
Bradley Hendrix (5-2) earned the win in relief to win his fifth straight decision. The sophomore threw the final four innings and allowed just one run, solo home run to lead off the ninth, on two hits and two walks, striking out two, entering with two on and none out in the sixth with Auburn down 8-7.
"I used all of my pitches more today. I wanted to keep them off balance instead of relying on one pitch and it really worked out for me," Hendrix said. "We stress keeping the momentum in our dugout. Once we score and get ahead, we need to get out there, get them out and get us back in the dugout so we can get some more runs."
"Bradley is probably one of our best sinkerball guys and we needed that today, a guy that could get some ground balls because of how the wind was blowing out," Pawlowski said.
Drew Hollinghead (1-1) suffered the loss, allowing two runs in 1 1/3 innings of relief.
Auburn is now 20-10 on the season, 6-6 in the SEC while Mississippi State is 16-15, 4-8 SEC.
Down 8-2, Auburn started its furious comeback with a five-run top of the fifth to knock out Mississippi State starter Forrest Moore before an out was recorded in the inning. Casey McElroy lead off the inning with his fourth home run of the season and then Trent Mummey blasted his 12th of the year following a walk to Justin Hargett to draw Auburn to within three at 8-5, knocking Moore from the game. Reliever Jared Wesson couldn't stop the bleeding as Sanders greeted him with his 13th home run of the season, this one to left, and Caldwell hit his fifth of the year, the third home run of the inning to center, to pull Auburn to within a run at 8-7. The four home run inning was the second such inning for Auburn this season.
"The guys got some balls up in the zone and the wind was really howling out today," Pawlowski said. "They got some balls that they could handle and drove some balls out of here."
Mississippi State went back up by two, 9-7, in the bottom of the sixth on Jet Butler's bases-loaded sacrifice fly that scored Connor Powers, who had the only base hit in the inning to go along with three walks, a sac bunt and Butler's sac fly.
Caldwell's second home run of the game tied the game at 9-9 in the top of the seventh, sending a two-run shot to left after Hunter Morris led off the inning with a walk. The home run was the 64th of the season for Auburn, the fourth-most in Auburn history for a single season.
Auburn finally reclaimed the lead it lost in the third with a three-run top of the eighth, with all of the base runners coming after there were already two outs in the inning. Sanders singled and went to second on a wild pitch before three Mississippi State pitchers issued a combined five consecutive walks to put Auburn up, 12-9, and send Auburn to its 10th come-from-behind win of the season and second of the weekend.
The two teams traded first inning runs as Caldwell hit a sacrifice fly to score Sanders after his triple before Connor Powers hit his third home run of the weekend in the bottom half of the inning.
Auburn went up 2-1 in the top of the third on Morris' RBI single that scored Mummey from second after he walked and stole second.
Mississippi State broke the game open with a five-run bottom of the third on four singles, a double, a hit batter and a fielder's choice to go up 6-3 and knock Auburn starter Taylor Thompson out after just 2 2/3 innings in which he allowed six runs on six hits and three walks, striking out one.
Connor Powers and Ryan Duffy started the third inning with back-to-back singles before Thompson hit Scott DeLoach to load the bases. A Russ Sneed single tied the game at 2-2 before Butler's RBI fielder's choice gave Mississippi State the one-run lead. After Thompson got Ryan Collins to fly out to left for the second out of the inning, Ryan Powers hit a ground-rule double that scored a run and put two runners in scoring position, ending Thompson's day with the score 4-2. Grant Hogue sent reliever Paul Burnside's third pitch back up the middle to score two and give Mississippi State the four-run lead before the inning ended.
Back-to-back singles by Connor Powers and Duffy in the bottom of the fourth started another run-scoring inning for Mississippi State, which scored two runs on Sneed's single up the middle to go up 8-2.
Butler led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run for the final run of the game.
Auburn's five-homer game was the fourth this season in which it has hit at least five in a game.
Auburn returns to Plainsman Park for five straight home games beginning Tuesday at 6pm against Georgia State. Auburn will then play host to Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday at 6pm in a game added to replace the snowed out contest against Florida State earlier in the season.
Auburn 12, Mississippi State 10 (Apr 05, 2009 at Starkville, MS)
Auburn.............. 101 050 230 0 - 12 10 1 (20-10, 6-6 SEC)
Mississippi State... 105 201 001 X - 10 13 0 (16-15, 4-8 SEC)
Win-Bradley Hendrix(5-2) Loss-Drew Hollinghead(1-1) T-3:31 A-5925
HR AU - Trent Mummey (12); Joseph Sanders (13); Tony Caldwell 2 (6); Casey McElroy (4).
HR MSTATE - Connor Powers (8); Jet Butler (3).