AUBURN, AL -
Missouri broke open a 2-2 tie with two runs in the eighth to take a 4-2 win over No. 21 Auburn Friday night at Plainsman Park.
Auburn (18-10, 4-4 SEC) dropped its first SEC series of the year and its third straight series against Missouri (13-12, 3-5 SEC), which moved above the .500 mark on the season and clinched its first league series of the season.
The final game of the series gets underway at noon CT Saturday with Dave Neal and Larry Conley set to call the action in a televised game on SportSouth. Senior LHP Michael O’Neal (1-2, 3.62) will get the start for Auburn, and Missouri will counter with junior RHP Brett Graves (3-1, 1.51).
“They out-pitched us out of the bullpen,” Auburn head coach Sunny Golloway said. “Their bullpen out-pitched our bullpen. Their bullpen shut us down, and our bullpen gave up two runs. … We had 15 balls in the air, and they had five balls in the air. That’s a big difference. You’ve got to get the ball on the ground in college baseball, and we’re not doing a very good job of that.
“We seem to be defensive offensively. We’ve been defensive offensively all weekend, and we’re going to face their best pitcher tomorrow. I don’t recognize the team I’m coaching the last two days. You’ve got to be mentally tough at this game. That’s the bottom line. You’ve got to be able to bounce back.”
Auburn freshman ace Keegan Thompson got his sixth quality start in seven outings but worked just six innings, his shortest start since Auburn’s third game of the year. He was one shy of a season-high with nine strikeouts but gave up two earned runs on a season-high seven hits.