Amonite Powers Tigers Past Bulldogs

Auburn evened the series with Mississippi State with an 8-5 victory Saturday in Starkville.

Starkville, Miss.--Karl Amonite broke out of his slump in a big way Saturday in front of 11,316 fans at Dudy Noble Field, going 3-4 including a two-run home run in a big seventh inning for the Auburn Tigers as they went on to defeat Mississippi State 8-5 and even the series.

The Tigers (28-8, 10-4) scored three runs in the seventh to break open a 4-4 tie and then the bullpen held up on the way to the win over the Bulldogs (25-6-1, 10-3).

Cory Dueitt (6-1) picked up the win in relief for the Tigers after tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Dueitt entered the game with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning and struck out Thomas Berkery on three pitches to end the Bulldog threat.

Senior right-hander Levale Speigner came on for starter Arnold Hughey and held Mississippi State scoreless in three innings of work. Hughey gave up four runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings before being replaced by Speigner in the third. Steven Register picked up his SEC-leading 11th save of the season while finishing the last 1 2/3 innings.

"This was a big win against a great team," Auburn coach Steve Renfroe said. "We got out early which helped, but they came right back. Levale came in and was outstanding and Cory came up with a big strikeout with the bases loaded. We had some big hits and our bullpen did what they've done all year when we've gave them the lead."

With the game tied going to the seventh, Doug Vines got things started by earning a walk. Doing his job to perfection, Javon Moran bunted Vines over to second base to bring Tug Hulett to the plate. Going 3-5 on the day, Hulett singled up the middle to score Vines from second base to give the Tigers the lead.

Following a Bobby Huddleston groundout, Amonite came through with the big blow for the Tigers, a bomb over the right field wall to make it 7-4 Tigers. Register escaped trouble in the eighth inning as the Bulldogs got two runners aboard before the sophomore coaxed a pop up to Hulett to end the inning. Both teams added a run in the ninth to make the final 8-5 Auburn.

Karl Amonite had a big day for the Tigers.

The Tigers wasted little time in jumping on the Bulldogs as Chuck Jeroloman led off the inning with a single to center. After moving to second on a Sean Gamble sacrifice bunt, Jeroloman was still standing at second when Moran ground out to third base. With two outs Hulett came through, tripling to left field to score Jeroloman for the first run of the game. Following a Huddleston walk, Amonite doubled down the right field line to score Hulett and make it 2-0. Scott Schade continued his hot hitting with a single to center field that pushed across both Huddleston and Amonite. Ahead 4-0, Auburn's lead would be short lived.

Oxford, Ala., native and four-year starter Matthew Maniscalco led off with a home run and J.B. Tucker tied the game later in the inning with a two-run single. In between the Bulldogs roughed up Hughey and forced the Tigers to bring Speigner into the game. Getting out of the inning with two runners aboard, Speigner kept the Bulldogs at bay until his teammates could take the lead for good.

Hulett went 3-for-5 with three runs and two runs batted in while Amonite was 3-for-4 with three RBI. Scott Schade and Javon Moran each had two hits as Auburn pounded out 14 hits against Bulldog pitching. Mississippi State's Alan Johnson lasted just three innings in a starting effort, surrendering four runs on six hits.

Sunday's series finale will begin at 1:30 p.m. CT and will be televised live by Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast.

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