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MSU drops SEC series opener to Auburn

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) — Mississippi State suffered its second straight shutout, falling 5-0 to Auburn in the opening game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Dudy Noble Field.

The Bulldogs have lost back-to-back games by shutout for the first time since being shut out in the first two games of an SEC series against Vanderbilt in 2011.

“Right now, we aren’t scoring runs,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “When you do that, you have to be perfect on defense. In this game, we certainly weren’t perfect on defense.”

Auburn improved to 16-10 overall and 2-5 in league play, while MSU fell to 18-10 and 2-5. The Bulldogs have now dropped the series opener in all three conference series.

MSU junior right-hander Preston Brown (3-3) threw the team’s fourth complete game and his first while becoming a tough-luck loser. Brown allowed seven hits and five runs (four earned), with seven strikeouts and two walks.

“Preston deserved a much better fate,” Cohen said. “When you pitch and you are out there competing, you expect your team to eventually score some runs. You also expect some of the average defensive plays to be made. We didn’t do that in that one inning. It’s tough for Preston because he should he have been out there fighting for a win.

“We need more guys out there competing the way he was tonight.”

Auburn scored in the second inning on an RBI-single by Cody Nulph. The Tigers expanded the lead with four runs on three hits and two MSU errors in the third inning. The big blow in that at-bat was a two-run double by Daniel Robert.

That would be more than enough offense for the Auburn pitching duo of Cole Lipscomb (4-0) and Trey Wingenter.

Lipscomb, a sophomore right-hander, allowed four hits and struck out seven in seven innings of work. Wingenter allowed one hit and faced eight batters in two innings of work.

The duo combined to throw Auburn’s first SEC road shutout since 2007 and the team’s first shutout in Starkville since 1976.

John Holland had two of MSU’s five hits.

Anfernee Grier and Nulph each had multiple hits for the Tigers, who totaled seven hits in the contest.

The series resumes with a 2 p.m. start Saturday.






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