May 3, 2008
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-- Auburn sophomore right-hander Taylor Thompson
recorded his best outing of the season in six innings of work, allowing four runs with a season-high seven strikeouts, but it was not enough as the Tigers fell to Mississippi State, 4-3, Saturday. The Bulldogs, who evened the series improved to 19-27 overall and 7-16 in the league. Auburn fell to
25-23 and 9-14 in the SEC.
"I thought both teams pitched well," Auburn head coach Tom Slater said. "Our kids gave themselves a chance to win late and we played great defensively with some big plays. Taylor Thompson did a really nice job in his start and Michael Hurst pitched well out of the bullpen."
Ricky Bowen (3-5) was credited with the win for State after allowing two runs, one of which was earned, on five hits with five strikeouts in six innings.
Aaron Weatherford, who has a sparkling 0.00 earned run average in 22 2/3 innings on the year, notched his fifth save. Weatherford tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
David Cunningham's ground out plating Joseph Sanders from third base in the second inning gave the Tigers a short-lived 1-0 lead.
Sanders doubled to lead off the frame and advanced to third on a wild
Mississippi State countered with three runs on three hits in the third inning behind an RBI single by Grant Hogue and a two-run single to center by Ryan Collins.
Auburn trimmed the lead to a run in the bottom of the third when Justin Hargett scored from third on a two-out throwing error by Bulldog shortstop Ryan Powers. Hargett led off with a single and advanced on a pair of groundouts before Powers' throw forced first baseman Tyler Moore off the bag.
Moore hit his team-leading 11th home run of the season for State with a lead-off shot to left-center field in the sixth inning, giving the Bulldogs a 4-2 advantage.
For the second consecutive game, Mike Bianucci went deep, hitting a solo home run in the eighth inning to left field, getting the Tigers to within a run.
Weatherford came on after the Bianucci homer and retired two straight batters to end the inning.
"Weatherford's been dominate," Slater said. "His numbers are impressive, but credit out kids for giving themselves a shot at the end."
Auburn had the tying run in scoring position in the ninth as Matt Hall walked with two outs and stole second before Hargett hit a ball deep to center that was caught by Mark Goforth to end the game.
Both clubs recorded six hits apiece with Auburn's Hunter Morris and Justin Hargett as the only players on either team to have two hits.
Michael Hurst tossed three scoreless innings out of the bullpen for Auburn.
The rubber game of the series is slated for Sunday at 2 p.m. CT.
Junior right-hander Luke Greinke (3-3, 4.50 ERA) will start for Auburn, while Mississippi State will counter with senior lefty Justin Pigott (2-1, 4.13 ERA).