By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Its offense hit the skids Friday night, but No. 16 Mississippi State still left Dudy Noble Field on a high note.
The Bulldogs dropped a 3-1 decision to Auburn, but then held on for a 6-3 win in the continuation of Thursday’s game, which had been suspended due to severe weather.
The rubber match of the series is set for 4 p.m. today.
MSU (31-10, 9-8 SEC) turned to closer Jonathan Holder to finish off the win. He’d entered the game on Thursday, and in all he worked 22⁄3 scoreless innings, striking out seven of the eight batters he faced.
It was Holder’s 12th save this season
In the loss, MSU starter Kendall Graveman saw his streak of three consecutive complete games come to an end, as Auburn piled up hits and pushed his pitch count high.
In seven innings, Graveman (5-3) allowed three runs – one earned – on 10 hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
“I don’t think he felt as good as he’s felt the previous three or four times out there, but he just gutted through it and kept competing,” MSU coach John Cohen said.
Auburn’s early scoring was sparked by Patrick Savage, who had RBI singles in the first and third innings to give his team a 2-0 edge. Cullen Wacker then made it 3-0 with a sac fly in the fifth.
MSU went without a hit from the third through sixth innings, then C.T. Bradford led off the seventh with a single.
A double play erased him, but State got two more runners on.
Then catcher Nick Ammirati tried to score from second base on Adam Frazier’s infield single and was thrown out in a rundown.
Auburn starter Michael O’Neal (8-2) retired 11 straight batters at one point. He gave up no runs on five hits in seven-plus innings.