April 15, 2006
AUBURN, Ala. -
Mississippi State scored eight runs on four hits, two of which were home runs, to break open a 9-9 tie in the eighth inning as the No. 8 Bulldogs defeated the Tigers, 17-10, in a wild game at Plainsman Park on Saturday afternoon.
"I was very proud of how we battled back in that ballgame but when you are walking people and making errors, you are not going to win," AU Head Coach Tom Slater said. "We had a pretty productive day at the plate, getting 10 runs on 14 hits, but it doesn't matter how productive you are at the plate if you are giving away free base runners."
Jeff Boutwell hit his second home run of the season - and the second grand slam of his career - in the bottom of the fourth as Auburn rallied from a 6-1 deficit with seven runs in the bottom of the fourth to take an 8-6 lead. Andy Bennett (1-for-4, 2 RBI) also had a big hit in the inning, driving in two runs with a single to right center.
With the Tigers (17-21, 5-9 SEC) holding onto a 9-6 lead heading into the top of the sixth, MSU (26-8, 7-6 SEC) knotted the game with three runs on two hits, two walks and a hit batsman before exploding for an eight-run eighth inning.
Mike Bianucci finished the game 3-for-4 for the Tigers with a double, a walk and a run scored while Tyler Johnstone (2-for-5, 2 R, RBI, SB), Josh Donaldson (2-for-4, R) and Russell Dixon (2-for-4, 2B, R) each finished with multi-hit games for the Tigers.
Aaron Weatherford relieved MSU starter Josh Johnson after just 3.2 innings and limited Tigers to just two runs despite giving up nine hits and a walk in 5.1 innings to move to 4-0 on the season.
Clarence Nicely (1-1) took the loss after allowing two runs on one hit and a walk with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings.
Brian LaNinfa and Jeff Butts both provided home runs for the Bulldogs in the eighth with LaNinfa hitting a grand slam.
Evan Crawford left with the Tigers in the lead but did not factor into the decision. He allowed six runs, only four of which were earned, on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts in four full innings.
The Auburn pitching staff surrendered a total of nine walks and hit two batters while the AU defense committed a season-high six errors as the Bulldogs tallied the most runs scored on the Tigers this season.
The two teams will play the rubber game of the series beginning at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday. Junior right hander Chris Dennis (1-3) gets the nod for the Tigers while the Bulldogs will send sophomore righty John Lalor (2-1) to the hill.