Starkville, MS (EETV)-- The No. 12 Auburn Tigers lost the series to the No. 4 Mississippi State Bulldogs this weekend, losing the final two games after winning the series opener.
Coming off of a series sweep over Tennessee last weekend, the Tigers had momentum on their side facing the top-ranked team in the SEC. The Bulldogs were prepared heading into the matchup, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and holding the Tigers scoreless through the fifth inning. Auburn rallied late however, outscoring the Bulldogs six to nothing in the final four innings of the game. Auburn's Rankin Woley and Kason Howell led the way for the Tigers as each had two hits and one RBI a piece en route to the team's 6-5 victory Friday night.
Despite their success in game one, the rest of the weekend yielded memories that the team will be much less fond of going into the remainder of the season. The Bulldogs' bats heated up during Saturday's game, as they jumped out to another early lead in the bottom of the first. Auburn would answer with one of their only two runs of the game in the second inning, but struggled to come up with any answer defensively as the Bulldogs finished the game out with 10 runs in their last four plate appearances. Mississippi State stifled any chance of the Tigers making a run behind a well pitched seven innings by JT Ginn, who was rewarded with the win after the Bulldogs finished Auburn off 15-2.
The series finale on Sunday was a slugfest, as the two teams combined to score 35 runs. Four Auburn players ended the game with three hits each, while Judd Ward and Steven Williams both added homers to the Tigers' hot offensive performance. The scales tipped in Mississippi State's favor however, as Auburn failed to slow down the Bulldogs' explosive offense. Mississippi State took Sunday's game and the series, winning the game 20-15.
After the past two weeks, Auburn is much more aware of its current standing in comparison with the best of the country's ranks. Offensively, the Tigers have the firepower to keep up with the best, but is struggling heavily to find consistent success on the mound.
Following the series, Auburn is 20-4 on the season and will head to Montgomery on Tuesday night for the Capital City Classic against Alabama. The game is set to start at 6 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.