Auburn 3, Mississippi State 1: Tigers win behind O'Neal gem

Missy Hazeldine

Michael O"Neal threw seven shutout innings against the hard hitting Bulldogs lineup, giving Auburn a big road win against a top-10 squad.

Auburn's (24-17, 6-11 SEC) win means they have a shot at winning a road SEC series at a nationally ranked top ten program.

The Tigers grabbed an early lead, something they are usually near allergic to, when, with two outs, a Cullen Wacker single and State error off of Garrett Cooper contact gave Patrick Savage a chance with runners at the corners. Savage singled home Wacker to give Auburn the 1-0 lead.

It became 2-0 after Wacker and Cooper reached base consecutively again for Savage who grabbed his second RBI single in the first three innings. Auburn's final run scored on a sac fly from Wacker plated Ryan Tella.

Tiger starter Michael O"Neal is now 8-2 after reaching the eighth and allowing no runs on four hits and four strikeouts. Terrance Dedrick (4 saves) closed out the final six Bulldogs outs.

State starter Kendall Graveman (5-3) made it seven innings as well, but allowed ten hits. Only one run against him was earned, due partly to State's own two errors in the field. Reliever Trevor Fitts threw the last two innings against the Tigers, giving up just a walk while getting two K's, one looking and one swinging, and four pop outs, three in foul ground.

Although Auburn put two errors on the board, following last night's abysmal fielding anti-clinic, they also showed some flash on several occasions, several times from Mitchell Self at shortstop.

The Tigers finish up the series tomorrow at 4pm, trying to win their second road series of the season.

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