By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State was six outs from another win when the weather took a turn for the worse Thursday night.
The No. 16-ranked Bulldogs were leading Auburn 6-3 in the series opener at Dudy Noble Field when play was halted just before 9 p.m. Lightning entered the area, and it was soon followed by torrential rains that flooded the field and dugouts.
MSU was batting with one out in the seventh inning. SEC rules state that all nine innings must be completed for the game to be considered official.
The game will resume Friday following the conclusion of the scheduled 6:30 p.m. game, which will be televised by CSS.
SEC rules state that if a Friday or Saturday game is suspended – and in this case, Thursday is Friday – then “the game shall be completed from the point of interruption on the following day prior to the regularly scheduled game. In the event that the regularly scheduled game is to be televised, the continued game may be played afterward.”
Before action was stopped, MSU (30-9, 8-7 SEC) had taken control with some timely hitting and strong relief pitching. It also helped that Auburn (23-14, 5-10) committed four errors.
MSU tied the game in the second inning on Wes Rea’s fourth home run of the year, a solo shot to left-center field. Auburn answered in the third with two scores, but that didn’t last long.
State quickly loaded the bases in the bottom half, and a bases-loaded walk and sac fly by Rea tied it at 3-3. C.T. Bradford’s two-out single through the right side gave MSU the lead.
Auburn starter Conner Kendrick settled in after that, but he was chased after yielding a pair of singles in the sixth. Reliever Trey Cochran-Gill issued a walk and then balked home a run. Adam Frazier’s sac fly made it 6-3.
Kendrick was charged with six runs in 5 1/3 innings, but just two of the runs were earned. The left-hander had three strikeouts and four walks.
MSU starter Luis Pollorena lasted just 3 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Long reliever Ross Mitchell, the SEC’s leader in ERA, turned in three scoreless innings.
He left in the seventh after giving up two singles, and then Jonathan Holder recorded back-to-back strikeouts to strand the baserunners.