A wild pitch from Auburn in the eighth inning proved to be the difference in Mississippi State’s narrow 6-5 victory in its series opener on the road Friday night.
The Bulldogs (22-7, 6-4 SEC) built a 5-2 lead after the top of the seventh inning thanks to home runs from Tanner Allen and Kamren James, but relinquished the lead by allowing three Auburn (12-14, 1-9) runs in the bottom frame.
In the eighth, Tanner Leggett led off the inning with a double on a nine-pitch at-bat, but he had some help from an Auburn infield that lost a pop up in the stadium lights. He was moved to third on a groundout in the next at-bat then scored the go-ahead run after Carson Skipper uncorked a wild pitch.
“Tanner Leggett gives us a great at bat with one out in the [eighth] inning,” Chris Lemonis said in a news release. “Even though he hit a pop up, he competed, fought to put a ball in play and is running as hard as he can. He gets to second base and [it later] rewarded us with a run [on the wild pitch].”
Allen was 2-for-3 in the contest with three RBIs coming on a two-run home run and a double, while Rowdey Jordan extended his hitting streak to eight games by collecting two hits and scoring two runs. James was 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base. MSU collected eight hits and made two errors, while Auburn had seven hits as a team and made two miscues.
On the mound, MSU ace Christian MacLeod earned a no-decision after pitching six innings and allowing two earned runs on five hits while striking out six batters.
“I thought he was really good,” Lemonis said. “He left a couple of balls in the middle of the plate and they hit them. Besides that, he was really good, and he had the breaking ball going.”
Landon Sims picked up a two-inning save, retiring every batter he faced and striking out four of six hitters.
MSU is back in action against Auburn at 4 p.m. Saturday.