Baseball Bulldogs Drop Slugfest To Auburn

AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn hit a school record seven home runs as the 19th-ranked Tigers beat Mississippi State 16-14 in a Southeastern Conference baseball game played Saturday afternoon at AU's Plainsman Park.

The Tigers rallied from down nine runs for only the second time in school history. M-State actually sprinted out to a 9-0 lead early but the league's top hitting team pounded out 17 hits to roar back for the weekend conference series-clinching victory.

With the victory, Auburn improved to 32-15 overall and 14-9 in the Western Division. MSU fell to 20-27 and 5-18. For the Bulldogs, the present 10-game losing streak is the longest in school history.

After spotting Auburn six first-inning runs in a 9-6 defeat Friday night, the Bulldogs turned the tables by scoring five times in the first inning Saturday afternoon.

With one out, Luke Adkins singled, Connor Powers singled and Russ Sneed reached as a hit batsman to load the bases. Jaron Shepherd followed with a two-run single to left field. Later in the inning, Cody Freeman added a two-run single. An AU infield error scored the final run of the at-bat.

An inning later, the lead grew to 9-0 as the Bulldogs scored four more runs. Nick Vickerson reached as a hit batsman. Luke Adkins followed with a two-run home run off the batter's eye behind the center field wall. Connor Powers drew a walk prior to Russ Sneed slapping a monster two-run shot between the scoreboard in left center and the center field wall.

The hosts began their rally with three runs in the second inning. The Tigers still trailed 11-4 before scoring six times in the fifth inning of play. In that at-bat, the Tigers hit back-to-back-to-back home runs by Brian Fletcher (a two-run shot), Hunter Morris and Kevin Patterson. After the second MSU error of the inning, Dan Gamache slapped a two-run shot, cutting the deficit to 11-10.

The Bulldogs actually extended the lead to 13-10 on a home run by Connor Powers in the sixth inning and an RBI-single by Nick Vickerson in the seventh inning.

Auburn then took the lead with six runs in home half of the seventh inning. McElroy hit a two-run home run to cut the deficit to 13-12. A follow-up solo home run by Gamache tied the teams 13-13. A double play almost allowed the Bulldogs to escape but three more runs followed, including a two-run double by Fletcher and an RBI-double by Morris.

After pounding out 16 hits Friday, Auburn added 17 hits to the ledger Saturday. The Tigers received three hits from Morris and Gamache, as well as multiple hits from Fletcher, Kevin Patterson, McElroy and Ryan Jenkins.

The Bulldogs finished with 14 hits, including the season's first four home run game. Adkins had three hits and three RBIs, as well as his first two home run game in the Maroon and White. Ryan Collins had three hits, while Powers and Vickerson added multiple hits.

Bradley Hendrix (2-2) worked 1.1 innings in relief to earn the win. Austin Hubbard relieved Hendrix in the ninth inning to earn his sixth save. Devin Jones (2-3) - the third of six MSU pitchers used - took the loss. Starting pitcher Chris Stratton worked 4.1 innings, allowing seven hits and six runs (five earned), with five strikeouts and one walk.

The series finale is at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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