FINAL: MSU 5, No. 22 Auburn 0

The buzz: For the first time in four years, MSU completed an SEC series sweep. The last time it happened, Auburn was the victim. And today was the first shutout of an SEC foe since 2008, when the Bulldogs (18-6, 4-2 SEC) downed Ole Miss 4-0 on opening weekend. MSU has won four games in a row, its longest winning streak since winning five in a row during non-conference play last season.

Big inning: MSU was struggling until the fifth, when it put up four runs, three of them with two outs. Wes Thigpen drove in the first run with a single, and then Jarrod Parks got a two-strike, two-out single to drive in two runs for a 3-0 lead. Cody Freeman added an RBI single.

Key stats: MSU struck out seven times over the first four innings – three times looking – but only four times over the next four innings; over the final six innings, Auburn had two hits, both in the seventh; Auburn committed three errors; MSU right fielder Jaron Shepherd made five putouts, most of them thanks to his fast legs.

MSU at the plate: MSU had 10 hits; shortstop Jonathan Ogden was 3 for 4 with a run scored; Thigpen had two hits and an RBI; on the weekend, Ogden (7 for 12) and Thigpen (5 for 6) were a combined 12 for 18 at the plate with eight RBIs.

Auburn at the plate: DH Dan Gamache had two hits; like MSU, Auburn had no extra-base hits, totaling four singles.

MSU on the mound: Junior lefty Nick Routt made his second start of the season and first SEC start in over a year. He looked solid, lasting 3.2 innings and 53 pitches before John Cohen pulled the plug. Routt allowed two hits, struck out three and walked two. Freshman Daryl Norris took it the rest of the way, giving up two hits while fanning two in 5.1 innings.

Auburn on the mound: Starter Derek Varnadore was tricky to pick up early, striking out seven through the first four innings. But MSU figured him out in the fifth, and he did not return for the sixth. Three relievers tossed an inning each.

Bottom line: It’s early yet, but the Bulldogs talked postgame about this weekend being a definite sign of progress. They also reiterated the importance of that comeback win at Vanderbilt one week ago.

Quotable: “People don’t respect us like we should, but we know we’re a great club, and we’ll keep playing like we’re a great club.” – Thigpen

Up next: MSU hosts Alabama A&M on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Either sophomore Andrew Busby or sophomore Kendall Graveman will start.

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