Cat-Scratched: Auburn Falls 4-2 To Mizzou

Auburn fell to Missouri 4-2 on Friday night and will try to avoid the sweep on Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.--Missouri leadoff man Eric Anderson went 3-4 with three doubles and two runs batted in as the visiting Tigers defeated Auburn 4-2 Friday night to take the series over Coach Sunny Golloway's No. 21 Tigers. Tying the game with single runs in the sixth and seventh, Auburn reliever Justin Camp allowed a pair of runs in the eighth and Keaton Steele closed things out for the second-straight day to give Auburn its first SEC series loss of the season.

Auburn falls to 18-10 overall and 4-4 in league action while Missouri improves to 13-12 overall and 3-5 in Southeastern Conference play. It is the first series win for Missouri on the road versus a ranked opponent since 2009 and they will go for their first SEC sweep on Saturday.

"You just come back and play tomorrow," Golloway said. "That's all there is to it. You've got to be mentally tough at this game. That's one thing this program hasn't been in the past, mentally tough. We've got to get mentally tough, that's the bottom line."

In a game where Auburn couldn't get anything going offensively, starting pitcher Keegan Thompson pitched well enough to win, allowing just a pair of runs on seven hits in six innings. This one was about the relievers however as Missouri allowed just one run on two hits in three and two/thirds innings out of the bullpen to slam the door on the Auburn offense.

"They out-pitched us out of the bullpen," Golloway said. "Their bullpen out-pitched our bullpen. Their bullpen shut us down and our bullpen gave up two runs. I think stealing the base right there changes things a little bit because they are going to little bit more careful to who we have at the plate. We've got some guys coming up behind that who are going to be good. It's different when you've got the tying run at second base not at first base. You've got to get the guy at first base into scoring position. When they give it to you then you've got to be able to do it."

The situation for Auburn came in the eighth inning and trailing Missouri 4-2 following a two-run double from Anderson to put his team back in front. Walking to lead off the inning, Ryan Tella moved to second on a two-out single from freshman catcher Blake Logan to bring the go-ahead run to the plate in freshman Connor Short.

To set the scene you first have to rewind one night to Thursday night's game. Tied in the seventh inning, Auburn tried a double steal with two outs and Tella at second and was unsuccessful to end the inning. Saying the report on Missouri was that they allowed two-out stolen bases, Golloway and Auburn tried its luck again but with the same results as Tella was thrown out to end the rally. Steele closed out the win in the ninth to earn his seventh save of the season.

At the plate Jordan Ebert was the lone bright spot for Auburn with three hits in four at-bats. The rest of the team had three hits as well as they struggled to get anything going all night against a Missouri pitching staff that entered the game with an ERA of 3.57.

"We had 15 balls in the air and they had five balls in the air," Golloway said. "That's a big difference. You've got to hit the ball on the ground in college baseball and we're not doing a very good job of that. Our approach at the plate was not very good. We seem to be defensive offensively. We've been defensive offensively all weekend and we're going to face their best pitcher tomorrow. I don't know what gives there."

Getting hit hard in the first two innings, but striking out five Missouri hitters in the meantime to keep them off the scoreboard, Thompson wouldn't be as fortunate in the top of the third. Leading off the inning, number nine hitter Jake Ring singled to start the rally for the visiting Tigers. Following a fly ball out, back-to-back singles from Logan Pearson and Kendall Keeton made it 1-0 Missouri. A walk to Josh Lester loaded the bases with one out, but Thompson came back to get out of the jam with a strikeout and fly out to Ebert to end the inning.

Missouri pushed its lead to two in the top of the fifth as Anderson started things off with a double to left field. Following a fly ball out, a Keeton groundout moved the runner to third with two outs to bring Lester to the plate. With Auburn's usual catcher Blake Austin at third base, Lester put down a perfect bunt for a hit that scored Anderson to give Missouri starter a two-run lead to work with.

Holding Auburn at bay through five innings, Miles almost got more support from his offense in the sixth as Missouri loaded the bases with two outs thanks to a pair of walks. Thompson would strand three more Tigers however to keep his team within striking distance.

Starting things off right, Damek Tomscha ripped a double to right field to build some early momentum for the Tigers. Following a Ryan Tella fly ball out, Austin came through with a single to score Tomscha and cut the lead in half.

With reliever Justin Camp pitching a scoreless seventh, Auburn's offense tied the game in the seventh as a one-out walk to Damon Haecker moved Short into scoring position after he reaches on a fielder's choice. That brought Ebert to the plate and the sophomore came through, ripping a single to score Short and tie the game. With a chance to take the lead Sam Gillikin's fly ball and a Tomscha pop-up ended the threat for Auburn.

Trying to keep the momentum Camp instead gave up a pair of singles to start the eighth from Kelly and Howard. Following a strikeout, number nine hitter Jake Ring got his second hit of the game to load the bases and bring Anderson to the plate. Getting a pitch to drive, his laser into right field for a double scored both runners to make it 4-2 and Missouri never looked back.

Michael O'Neal will try to salvage a game for Auburn on Saturday when he faces off against Missouri ace Brett Graves on Saturday. The first pitch is scheduled for noon and the game can be seen on Fox Sports Net South.

Game Two Box Score

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