May 6, 2007
STARKVILLE, Miss. -
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Auburn and Mississippi State played a back-and-forth game but it was No. 15 Mississippi State that came out the victor on Sunday as MSU won, 9-5, in the series finale.
Brett Butts (1-1) threw 3.0 innings of relief for Auburn but Mississippi State capitalized in the bottom of the ninth as it loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks before Andy Rice hit a walk-off grand slam to give Mississippi State the win.
"I thought we played really well today but (Andy) Rice did a nice job of hitting that grand slam," Auburn Head Coach Tom Slater said. "This one hurts but we have to keep persevering like we did today."
Auburn (28-22, 7-17 SEC) took its first lead of the series in the top of the second on Ross Smith's (3-for-4) RBI double down the line in left that scored Robert Brooks (1-for-4) from first to give Auburn a 1-0 lead.
Auburn added to its lead in the top of the fourth as Joseph Sanders (1-for-4, 2 R, RBI) drew a leadoff walk and scored on Andy Bennett's (3-for-4, 2 RBI) two-out RBI single to right that made it 2-0 Auburn.
Auburn stretched its lead to 3-0 in the fifth as Eric Skinner (1-for-2, BB, R) led off with a single, went to second on a Bruce Edwards (0-for-4) sacrifice bunt and scored on Luke Greinke's (2-for-5, RBI) single up the middle.
Mississippi State (31-12, 13-9 SEC) trimmed Auburn's lead to a run at 3-2 in the fifth, scoring on a wild pitch and an Edward Easley RBI single.
Mississippi State scored three in the sixth to take its first lead of the game, getting two runs off of Chris Dennis and one off of Butts to take a 5-3 lead. After getting the first batter he faced, Dennis issued a walk and allowed a single after a wild pitch to put runners on the corners. Butts was then summoned from the bullpen and he induced a groundout before allowing back-to-back singles that allowed MSU to take the lead.
Auburn rallied to tied the game with a pair of runs in the top of the eighth as Sanders's double scored Josh Donaldson (1-for-4, R), who walked and stole second, and Bennett's flair single to shallow right scored Sanders to make it 5-5.
Ricky Bowen (5-1) picked up the win for Mississippi State, pitching the ninth inning and allowing just one hit.
Bryan Woodall had a solid start for Auburn, throwing 5.0 innings and surrendering just two runs.
Auburn stole three bases during the game to give it 100 for the season. It is just the third 100-steal season for Auburn and the first since 1974 when it stole a school-record 116 bases.
Auburn returns home for its final home series of the season next weekend. The Tigers will host No. 1 Vanderbilt at 6pm CT on Friday, 2pm on Saturday and 1:30pm on Sunday.