#5 Mississippi State @ Auburn
- Friday: 6-5 L
- Saturday: 7-2 L
- Sunday: 19-10 L
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Man, it just isn’t our year.”, only to see something that surpasses what you thought could possibly happen to prove to yourself that it, in fact, is not your year at all? That happened to me Friday night. For the record, I wasn’t expecting much this weekend. Auburn played better against Arkansas, in fact the best they’ve played in an SEC series all year to this point. Mississippi State is the thorn in Auburn’s side for a few years now and nothing about this season suggested that State would roll over here. As we went to the 7th on Friday night, everything was progressing about right, State would add a run to pad their lead to a 5-2 cushion as we stretched it out and it seemed as if this was the lot we had been given. However, the offense woke up in a big way as Tyler Miller was able to pound out a 2 RBI single and Brody Moore reached on a throwing error to score Judd Ward and Auburn tied it up and Plainsman Park erupted! Carson Skipper came on and looked good getting a quick ground out but then Tanner Leggett would work a 9 pitch at bat that would result in a normal routine pop up. However, on this night, it was anything but. Tyler Miller lost it in the lights and Brody Moore wasn’t able to corral it. Leggett, who was off like a shot out of the box, slid in under the tag for my first ever seen, infield double. A ground out sac to get the runner over to 3rd and a wild pitch, only Skipper’s second of the season, and State had the lead back without getting the ball out of the infield.
The rest of the weekend was tough, State is a very good ball club that is jockeying for a National Seed. Pitching continues to be the key point of Auburn taking the back seat in games and only time and experience are going to fix that at this point. Auburn has talent, there is no question about that when you look at the credentials of the players and the reports from people who scout and know the game. Those that watch baseball will tell you, you sometimes get into a personal skid and sometimes you can get into a team skid. Auburn is currently in a position and team skid in a bad way. In 12 SEC games this season, Auburn has played in 7 games that have been decided by 1 run (1-6 in those games). If you want to expand that by a run, its 9 games (1-8). Auburn has not been in 3 games this season, 1 to #4 Ole Miss and 2 to #5 Mississippi State. That is not that far out of the way things should be to be completely honest, especially with how good both Ole Miss and State are. The disconnect is that Auburn is not at least splitting those 1 or 2 runs games. We have said it before here and it will continue till things correct themselves. Auburn needs that out, one pitch before, or that base hit instead of a pop fly and it needs to happen soon, or we can start looking toward the 2022 season, because it will only be six weekends away.
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
It was a long weekend for Auburn pitchers against a State offense that found themselves for the most part, but Will Morrison looked good in a combined 2 innings of work with no hits, 2 walks and a strike out on Saturday and Sunday. Even though he worked himself into a little trouble with the walks and a hit batter, he was able to work a timely double play and another ground out to work out of any damage on Sunday. It will be little confidence builders like that, going inning by inning to get the team’s psyche back to where it expects to win and not just hope.
HITTING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
Once again, the toughest out for the Bulldogs this week was Ryan Bliss. Bliss has been on a tear lately and it didn’t let up this week as he went 5 for 11 with a 2 run home run on Sunday, 3 RBIs for the weekend and a double on Saturday. They say that hitting is contagious and if it is then the rest of the team shouldn’t social distance and hug all over Bliss. Ryan has been the ray of hope for Auburn fans when hope is the thing that fans can hang on to during this skid of bad luck.
It’s a big week for the Tigers as they hit the road for 4 games and a quick week. Auburn heads to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech, who fell out of the Top 25 this week after a skid of their own, dropping 2 of 3 to Virginia and Notre Dame in back to back weekends and a head scratcher to USC-Upstate during the mid week last week. From there, a 3 game set in Tuscaloosa awaits for a Thursday-Saturday series. Thursday will be on the Network and, without putting undue pressure on things, is a make or break series for Auburn. We will do a deep dive on the other instate team on Thursday morning but Auburn is in for a test, but one that they can push through if they buckle down and play the game.