Mississippi State wrapped up a three game sweep of Auburn on Sunday.

AUBURN, AL - Mississippi State (37-14-1) entered Sunday a game out of the overall lead in the race for an SEC regular season championship. While the scoreboard watching is fun for fans, the Diamond Dawgs had some work to do with Auburn (22-30) and their talented starting pitcher Casey Mize.

It was a Sunday pitcher's duel in the early going. Jake Mangum's third inning single was the first hit for either team. Mangum would then steal second, his second stolen base of the day, and later score on a Nathaniel Lowe double to left center.

The Bulldogs would another run in the top of four when left fielder Reid Humphreys hit a towering fly ball deep over the left field wall for his fifth home run of the season. The solo blast gave Bulldog starter Konnor Pilkington a 2-0 lead.

State would finally get to Mize (2-4, 3.29) in the 5th. Kruger would lead off the inning with a home run to left field, his seventh. Lowe would follow with a single and Gavin Collins would double off of the left field wall and Mize's day was done. 

Brent Rooker would plate Lowe on a sacrifice fly to shallow right and it was 4-0. A base running error later in the inning would let Auburn off of the hook without any further damage.

Lowe was a hitting star once again reaching base five of six times on the day. The Bulldog first baseman had three hits including a two run home run to center field. To say the talented junior is locked in would be an understatement.

"I am just seeing the ball pretty good," Lowe explained. "I am using my legs a lot. When my legs are feeling good, then everything else stays still, like your head and your eyes. I am just feeling really good. I'm staying down in there and taking some pretty good swings."

In the top of the 7th, Mississippi State would load the bases and push across their 5th run of the day courtesy of a free pass granted to Humphreys. The inning should have ended on a short pop up from Gridley to short right, but Auburn second baseman Melvin Gray dropped the ball allowing two more runners to score to make it 7-0.

The Bulldogs would get six shutout innings from Pilkington (3-1, 1.79) who gave way to reliever Ryan Rigby. The six innings were a career long for Pilkington who has solidified himself as the Sunday starter for the Diamond Dawgs.

"I really felt good today," Pilkington said in the post game. "We won the first two games, so it was a must have to win this third game. We know what's at stake right now and I just have to go out there and throw strikes and pound the strike zone."

On Sunday, the Mississippi native did his part by throwing strikes. Of his 77 pitches thrown, 52 found the zone. Auburn managed just three hits, while striking out four times on the day.

The Tigers broke up the Bulldog shutout in the bottom of the seventh. Gray would reach base to open the inning on a hit by pitch. A Blake Logan single moved Gray to second. The Auburn second baseman would later come around to score on a Kyler Deese sacrifice fly.

With State back at bat, the Bulldogs would answer. After a Kruger single to right, Lowe would homer to center extending the lead to eight as the scoreboard read 9-1 in favor of the visitors. In the ninth, the Bulldogs would add their tenth run and Auburn would touch Bulldog closer Reid Humphreys for a pair of runs in their final at bat to bring the final tally to 10-3, State.

Mississippi State recorded the three game sweep over the Tigers to bring their conference record to 18-9. Auburn fell to 8-18 in the league, but still in the projected field for the SEC tournament at Hoover. The total weekend win was the second consecutive white washing of an SEC opponent by Mississippi State. The Bulldogs took all three from Missouri a weekend ago.

The Bulldogs will be back in action next weekend in the final home SEC series of the year as Arkansas pays a visit to Dudy Noble field in Starkville. While the Razorbacks struggled at home this weekend losing all three to Alabama, Bulldog skipper John Cohen expects Arkansas to come in ready to play.

"We are going to have an Arkansas club that is pretty darn good," Cohen said. "They were leading the league in home runs at one point and time. When you take a Zach Jackson and a (Dominic) Taccolini, those guys can really pitch and cause some issues for you.

"They're a good club. They can come in and sweep you or take two out of three. They're good and we need to be ready. These three days of preparation that we're going to have Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are really going to help our club."

With most of the action in the league already final, the Bulldogs head home knowing that sunrise will find them no worse than third overall in the SEC pecking order and within a game of an SEC regular season championship with just three games left to play on the league schedule. 


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