April 14, 2018 7:24:52 PM
From Special Reports
AUBURN, Ala. - A strong pitching performance by sophomore left-hander Ethan Small set the tone as Mississippi State beat No. 21 Auburn 7-2 in Southeastern Conference baseball action Saturday at Plainsmark Park.
MSU will look for its second straight conference series win when the teams meet in the series finale Sunday. MSU is now 19-17 overall and 5-9 in league play, while Auburn is 24-12 and 5-9.
"There were a lot of good things in this game," MSU head coach Gary Henderson said. "We had some key extra-base hits with runners on. Ethan Small found his rhythm in the fourth inning and it was huge that he could knock out seven innings for us.
"It was a good win for us all the way around against a great offensive team."
After MSU's Konnor Pilkington and Cole Gordon combined on a four-hitter in a 2-1 loss Friday night, Small and JP France were equally dominant with a five-hitter.
Small (3-3) worked seven innings, allowing four hits and two runs (both earned), with seven strikeouts and two walks. France faced eight batters in the final two innings of play, allowing one hit while collecting a pair of strikeouts.
Offensively, the Bulldogs would get all the offense they needed during a five-run third inning. After Auburn scored twice also in that inning, MSU responded with two more scores in the fourth inning.
In the third inning, all the damage took place with two outs. Luke Alexander singled and Tanner Allen doubled. Hunter Stovall followed with a two-run single. Josh Hatcher singled, before Jordan Westburg walked to reload the bases.
This time, Marshall Gilbert had the big blow with a three-run double.
In the fourth inning, Rowdey Jordan hit a leadoff double to chase Auburn starter Davis Daniel (2-3). Jake Mangum and Stovall followed with RBI-singles.
The Bulldogs collected 11 hits and stranded eight base runners. Stovall had three hits, while Jordan had two hits.
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