Auburn broke open a tight game with three runs in the seventh inning and four more scores in the eighth inning. The Tigers pounded out 16 hits and took advantage of three MSU errors to take the weekend series, two games to one.
With the victory, Auburn improved to 26-23 overall and 10-14 in conference play, while MSU fell to 19-28 and 7-17. Auburn has now won four of the last five series against MSU at Plainsman Park. For the 2008 Tigers, it was their fourth series win of the year in conference play.
Auburn remained 11th in the overall conference standings; however, one game shy of being in the top eight. Meanwhile, MSU enters the final two weekends of conference play, four games out of eighth place.
The Tigers took the lead for good Sunday afternoon in the third inning. Mike Bianucci ripped a solo home run - his second in as many games and 10th on the season. That blast gave Auburn a 2-1 lead.
The hosts expanded the lead with two runs in the fourth inning and another score in the fifth inning.
MSU then tried to rally but scored only a single run in the seventh inning. Auburn had lifted starting pitcher Luke Greinke to start the inning. Reliever Evan Crawford faced three batters and did not record an out. In that inning, Ryan Duffy walked, Jason Nappi singled and Jet Butler walked to load the bases. The Tiges then called on closer Bryan Woodall, who had not thrown in the series.
A groundball out by Ryan Powers brought one run home but the Bulldogs got no closer off Woodall, who earned his 11th save.
The Tigers then removed all doubt over the next two at-bats. In the seventh inning, an RBI-double by Brian Fletcher and RBI-single by David Cunningham were the big blows. Fletcher hit his seventh home run of the year - a three-run shot - an inning later.
Auburn finished with 16 hits. Trent Mummey, Fletcher and Cunningham each had three hits. Fletcher drove in four runs for the Tigers.
MSU finished with eight hits, only collecting 20 total hits for the three-game series. Mark Goforth, Russ Sneed and Jet Butler each had multiple hits for the Bulldogs.
Greinke (4-3) threw six innings to pick up the win. He allowed six hits and one run (earned), with no walks and two strikeouts. Evan Crawford only faced three batters before giving way to Woodall who worked Auburn out of the seventh inning jam. Woodall earned the save by allowing one hit and striking out four in three innings of shutout relief.
Justin Pigott (2-2) took the loss for MSU. Pigott also threw six innings, allowing eight hits and five runs (four earned), with no walks and four strikeouts. Andy Wilson, Michael Busby and Jesse Carver followed in relief. The MSU bullpen was touched for eight hits and seven runs (all earned) in three innings of work.
MSU hits the road for a two-game midweek series against Middle Tennessee State. The Bulldogs and Blue Raiders play at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in Winchester, Tenn. Conference play resumes next weekend with MSU playing LSU in Baton Rouge, La.