Sean Gamble and Javon Moran each produced a career-high four hits and Doug Vines added two hits and a career-high four RBI as Auburn had seven players with two or more hits. All nine starters had at least one hit. The win moves the Tigers to 27-15 overall and 9-9 in SEC play while Mississippi State falls to 23-15-1, 9-8 in the conference.
Auburn starter Levale Speigner, staked to an early lead for the first time since early in the season, pitched seven strong innings on Sunday to pick up his seventh win of the year. He allowed just two runs on five hits and struck out six Bulldog hitters as Auburn earned its first series win since taking two-of-three at Tennessee four weeks ago.
"It's huge," Speigner said of the win. "We've been struggling and couldn't put a two-win weekend together for some reason. We pitch well and don't hit or hit well and don't pitch at all. Today we came out and swung the sticks. I felt good and it all worked out for us."
In a change from the norm it was Auburn that got off to a fast start in Sunday's game. Jonathan Schuerholz led off the bottom of the first by earning a walk from Mississippi State starter Joey Collums. Gamble followed with a single to right field and suddenly the Tigers had some much-needed early offensive success.
Moran was up next and putting down a perfect bunt, he reached to load the bases. Bobby Huddleston then lifted a fly ball to center field scoring Schuerholz from third and moving both runners into scoring position. That would be important as Trent Pratt singled to center field, pushing both runners across, for the early 3-0 lead.
Auburn starter Levale Speigner
"I think our hitters decided last night when they were sleeping or must have dreamed about hitting the ball," Speigner smiled when asked about the early lead. "They came out and made a statement in the first inning today. They just hit and hit and hit and hit, we needed that. We needed our hitters to have a good day and they came out and did well."
With Speigner in command the Auburn bats went back to work in the second inning. Schuerholz again led off the inning with a base-on-balls. Gamble was up next and he reached on an error by third baseman Brent Lewis to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Moran once again came through with a single to right field to score Schuerholz making it 4-0. Huddleston then grounded out to Matthew Maniscalco at short to score Gamble from third and Auburn had a five-run lead. Later in the inning a Vines single up the middle scored Moran to make it 6-0 Tigers and the rout was on.
Doug Vines drives home one of his four runs on the day.
In the bottom of the fourth, Moran led things off but flied out to center for the first out of the inning. Huddleston was up next and the big junior singled to right field for his only hit of the game. Pratt followed with a walk to again give the Tigers a runner in scoring position. Huddleston would score easily as Scott Schade ripped a double to right-center field moving Pratt to third with just one out.
Vines then hit a one-hopper to Bulldog second baseman Chad Henry. Not keeping his head down, Henry allowed the ball to roll under his glove allowing both Tigers to score for the 9-0 lead. Tug Hulett followed with a single to right field that scored Vines from second but he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.
With two outs and nobody on, freshman shortstop Chuck Jeroloman singled to left field. Schuerholz, up for the fourth time already in the game, walked again setting the table for Gamble. The Montgomery native doubled to right-center to drive home both runs and a 12-0 lead. The carnage would finally end, but not before a Moran single to right field scored Gamble giving Auburn a commanding 13-0 lead.
"They're coming," Auburn coach Steve Renfroe said of his hitters. "We had good approaches in the first few innings last night, but it kind of got away from us and that kind of changes it. I think we have battled the last two or three weeks a lot better. We're getting better...Today was one of those days where early we were aggressive and got some breaks. It all went our way today--we needed one of those."
The game settled in somewhat for the next two innings as neither team got on the scoreboard thanks to some solid pitching on both sides. Speigner would finally give up a run in the seventh inning thanks to the long ball off the bat of Steve Gendron. After a lead-off single from Brent Lewis, Gendron took an inside pitch and turned on it to send it over the left field wall for the first two runs of the game for the Bulldogs. But Auburn would get those back in the seventh and then some.
Pratt led things off by reaching on another error by Lewis at third base. Schade then doubled again, this time to left-center field. With runners on second and third, Vines grounded out to Henry at second base to score Pratt for the first run of the inning. Before things were done the Tigers would add four runs in the inning for a 17-2 lead. Mississippi State would add three in the eighth and two in the ninth while Auburn put two more on the board in the eighth, including Vines' first home run of the season.
The Tigers return to action Friday night when they travel to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama for the first of three SEC Western Division games. Alabama leads the SEC while Auburn is in fifth place in the division a half-game behind Mississippi State.