USM takes series from Middle Tennessee
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Taylor Braley hit a two-run home run in the first inning, and Southern Miss held on after jumping out to an early lead to beat Middle Tennessee 4-3 on Saturday.
Southern Miss (33-12, 15-5 Conference USA) won its second straight game against Middle Tennessee (20-23, 7-13) to win the series. The teams will play the finale of the three-game set Sunday at 1 p.m.
Mason Irby had two hits and scored twice for Southern Miss, and Dylan Burdeaux drove in a run with a ground out. Matt Wallner and LeeMarcus Boyd had two hits apiece.
Braley’s home run helped Southern Miss take a 4-1 lead after three innings, but it did not score again. Middle Tennessee cut it to 4-3 with a two-run homer by Ryan Kemp in the seventh inning.
Southern Miss closer Nick Sandlin finished with two scoreless innings, however, to earn his fifth save of the season.
Braley (4-2) also started on the mound and pitched seven innings to get the win. He allowed three runs and worked around 10 hits while striking out six.
Auburn 17, Mississippi State 8
Auburn 5, Mississippi State 3
Mississippi State’s status as the Southeastern Conference’s top dog disappeared in a day.
Auburn ripped the Bulldogs, 17-8, in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field, and then completed the sweep by winning game two 5-3 on Saturday night.
The sweep moved Auburn (32-14, 14-7 SEC) into a tie for first place with Mississippi State (30-16, 14-7) in the SEC West, but Saturday’s sweep gave the Tigers the series victory and the tiebreaker between the two teams.
The 17 runs Auburn scored in the first game were a season high and its most in an SEC game since 2010. Dylan Ingram hit a grand slam for the Tigers during a seven-run rally in the fourth inning, and they put the game out of reach with five runs in the eighth and two in the ninth.
Brent Rooker, Cody Brown and Harrison Bragg all homered for Mississippi State.
In game two, Auburn used another big inning to propel itself to the victory. It scored all of its runs in the fourth inning — including two on another home run by Ingram and two more on a single by Conor Davis.
Rooker went 3-for-4 with a double and a solo home run for the Bulldogs, and Bragg was 3-for-4 with an RBI.
LSU 4, Alabama 3
Michael Papierski lined a run-scoring single in the top of the 11th inning Saturday to lift LSU over Alabama.
Greg Deichmann hit a two-run home run in the first inning for LSU. Hunter Newman pitched two innings of scoreless relief to earn the victory.
LSU’s Jordan Romero had an RBI single in the seventh inning that tied the game at 3.
Cody Henry had an RBI double for Alabama and finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Kyle Kaufman also had two hits and scored a run.
Saturday’s win completed a sweep of the Southeastern Conference series for the Tigers (30-15, 13-8 SEC). Alabama (15-29, 2-19) has lost seven consecutive games and 10 of its last 11. The Crimson Tide has also lost 12 straight SEC games and been swept in its last four league series.