May 4, 2007
STARKVILLE, Miss. -
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The Auburn pitching combination of Evan Crawford and Chris Dennis limited No. 15 Mississippi State to just six hits but a pair of eighth-inning home runs broke open a one-run game as Auburn fell, 4-1, on Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.
Mississippi State scored two unearned runs in the first off of a walk, a double and an error to jump out to the 2-0 lead but Crawford (4-5) would continue to give the Tigers solid pitching from there on out, holding Mississippi State to just three hits before leaving the game in the sixth with two on and two down and Auburn trailing 2-1.
The turning point in the game came in the eighth as Luke Greinke struckout but reached first on a wild pitch, brining Josh Donaldson to the plate. With Greinke running on the pitch, Donaldson crushed a ball to left-center that appeared destined for the left-field lounge, but the wind held it up just enough for MSU left fielder Joseph McCaskill to get under it and double-up Greinke to end the inning.
"We were running on the pitch, trying to steal second and Donaldson gets a hold of one. Worst case scenario that's a double off the wall that we are going to score on because we were running on the pitch. We were all shocked that that ball was caught," Auburn Head Coach Tom Slater said. "Donny put some good swings on the ball tonight and he just couldn't find any holes."
Immediately following the unlikely double play, Edward Easley and Mitch Moreland hit back-to-back home runs for Mississippi State to give itself a three-run cushion.
Auburn (28-20, 7-15 SEC) had its chances early to put runs on the board, loading the bases in the third on a walk and a pair of errors by Mississippi State third baseman Connor Powers, but it could not get anyone home, stranding three runners in the inning.
Auburn's lone run of the night came courtesy of a Robert Brooks' RBI double to right-center that scored Joseph Sanders from first in the fourth.
Chad Crosswhite (6-2) earned the win for Mississippi State (29-12, 11-9 SEC), going 7.0 innings and allowing just three hits and a walk, striking out two.
Aaron Weatherford picked up his third save of the season with 2.0 innings of perfect relief.
The two teams will resume the series on Saturday at 6pm CT. The game will be aired live on CSS.