The first time through the Mississippi State order, the Bulldogs had little to show for a few solid balls hit into the outfield. That would change in the third inning as with two outs, Bulldog catcher Jack Kruger ripped a Cole Lipscomb pitch deep over the wall in left to give State a 1-0 lead. The rounder tripper was Kruger's sixth big fly on the campaign.
After Nathaniel Lowe reached on an error, Gavin Collins would roll a single back up the middle to give Brent Rooker a chance to break the game wide open. On Rooker's second hit of the evening, he blasted a ball to right that bounced over for a ground rule double. Lowe scored to make it 2-0.
Bulldog left fielder Reid Humphreys pulled a fast ball to left to plate Collins, but Rooker was retired at the dish to end the Mississippi State half of the third. State would take their next turn on defense with a 3-0 lead.
The Bulldogs would get back on the scoreboard in the 6th with another two out rally. Jacob Robson would reach base safely for the third time on the night with a ball he punched back up the middle.
The senior center fielder is rounding back into form and back into good health. While Robson would love to be back at the top of the Bulldog order, he is happy to be back in the line-up and contributing.
"I would like to be the lead off hitter," Robson said. "At the same time, I understand what the coaches are thinking. I haven't been playing for a while, so they're trying to ease me back in. Right now, the seven spot is where I fit best with the team."
Ryan Gridley would single to left and Robson would take third when Auburn left fielder Jackson Burgreen would bobble the hot shot. Robson was chased home on a solid single to left by State second sacker John Holland and it was 4-0.
On the other side of the Bulldog baseball ledger, starter Dakota Hudson kept throwing up zeroes on the Auburn scoreboard. The talented right hander scattered six Auburn hits, while striking out six Tigers and issuing two free passes, one in the ninth via the hit by pitch with two outs.
In a similar situation against Missouri, Hudson was pulled. On this night though, Bulldog pitching coach Wes Johnson allowed his ace to stay in the game to try to secure the final out.
"They had the same deal on," Hudson said with a grin. "Coach Johnson and I had some words out there a little bit, but I feel like since I had two outs they gave me one more batter. That last guy was it for me no matter the outcome."
The battle between Mississippi State and Auburn provided a reunion of sorts for head coaches John Cohen and Butch Thompson. Cohen was quick to give a lot of credit to Thompson for Hudson's success as a college pitcher.
"I want to say this out loud. Butch Thompson is one of the big reasons that Dakota Hudson is at Mississippi State," Cohen said in the post game. "I know what it's like to sit in that dugout and know that somebody you worked your tail off with for two and a half years and recruited and brought them in just pitched their tail off against you.
"That happens a lot in professional sports, but it doesn't happen a lot in college sports. I know that things are not going phenomenal for Butch and his club right now, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he is the right guy. He is going to have incredible ball clubs here."
With the win, Mississippi State improved their record to 35-14-1 and 16-9 in the Southeastern Conference, while Auburn fell to 22-28 overall and 8-17 in league play.
Game two of the three game series is scheduled to take place tomorrow with first pitch slated for 3:30. A win tomorrow would guarantee that the Bulldogs would have won every SEC road series on the season.
Mississippi State is scheduled to start Austin Sexton (5-2, 3.66 ERA), while Auburn will counter with Justin Camp (3-3,3.58)