Columbia, Mo.--Looking for their first SEC baseball series win, Auburn's ninth inning rally came up short when the visiting Tigers stranded two runners on base as they lost 4-3 to Missouri.
The Tigers dropped to 15-17 overall and 3-9 in SEC play. Missouri improved to 20-14 overall and 4-9 in the league.
Missouri led 3-0 much of the contest with a single run in the first and two more in the second inning.
Neither team scored until the visiting Tigers put a single run on the scoreboard in the seventh inning. Melvin Gray, who reached base on a fielder’s choice, scored on a groundout by Kyler Deese.
Auburn cut the lead to 3-2 in the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly by Niko Buentello. He scored Anfernee Grier, who reached on an infield hit and moved to third base on a double by Jordan Ebert.
Auburn gave back a run in the bottom of the eighth inning by giving up an unearned run set up by an error from first baseman Buentello.
Coach Butch Thompson’s Tigers had a chance to tie the game or take the lead, but left a pair of runners stranded in the top of the ninth.
Jackson Burgreen, who led the Tigers at the plate with three hits, started the rally with a single and with one out Deese was hit by a pitch. A Cody Nulph single up the middle scored Burgreen, but Jonathan Foster and Grier struck out to end the threat.
“We battled,” Thompson said. “Having a couple of guys out made it tougher to create offense today. We battled hard. It feels like this has happened a lot to us being on the short end, but our guys battled hard. I was proud of that.”
The Tigers wasted a good relief pitching effort by freshman Carter Mize. He entered in the fifth inning and stranded two runners without letting in a run. He pitched 3 2/3 scoreless inning with six strikeouts and just two hits allowed.
Auburn starting pitcher Andrew Mitchell gave up three runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings. He took the loss to drop to 4-2 for the season.
The Tigers return to action with a 5 p.m. CDT game at Kennesaw State on Tuesday.