Mississippi State holds off Auburn for a wild win

Published 8:51 pm Saturday, April 22, 2023

AUBURN, Ala. — Mississippi State needed every bit of offense it could muster to first rally past, and then hold off, Auburn on Saturday.

The Bulldogs hit four home runs and scored all of their runs from the sixth inning on as they beat Auburn 11-10. Auburn scored seven runs in the bottom of the ninth and had they tying run at third base before Mississippi State could finally squash the rally.

Kason Howell led off the ninth with a home run for the Tigers (22-16-1, 6-11 Southeastern Conference), and also brought in their final runs with a bases-loaded triple. In between, four singles and a double spurred things along.

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Howell finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs.

“It was just a lot of weak contact hits just bouncing through. You don’t think they’re going to get that many and they keep coming and coming,” Mississippi State coach Chris Lemonis said.

Auburn’s offensive surge came after an equally impressive one from the Bulldogs (23-16, 6-11).

Slate Aford hit a three-run home run and Amani Larry a two-run shot in the sixth inning to put Mississippi State ahead 6-2.

Kellum Clark added a solo homer and Ross Highfill a two-run single in the eighth, and in the ninth Luke Hancock hit a two-run homer for an 11-3 lead.

Mississippi State broke out big after only scoring one run on four hits in a 2-1 loss on Friday night. It’ll try to win its third consecutive SEC series in the finale Sunday at 1 p.m.

Alford, Hancock and Larry, the Nos. 6-8 batters in the lineup, combined to go 7-for-11 with seven RBIs and six runs scored.

“We just had a better approach,” said Alford, who was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs scored. “We were eager to get out here tody and get us a win, and good things happened.”