AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn allowed three runs in the final inning in a game that was called after seven innings due to Missouri's travel plans and fell 4-3 in the second game of a Sunday afternoon doubleheader at Plainsman Park. The loss dropped Auburn's record to 1-2 on the season while Missouri is 2-1.
Auburn's pitching staff, which had been solid for the six innings behind freshman Daniel Koger and senior Justin Bryant, faltered in the seventh, issuing four walks and allowing a bunt base hit (along with an error on the play) and two sac flies to turn a 3-1 lead into a 4-3 deficit. The four walks were more than half of what Koger and Bryant allowed in the first six combined (three).
"We did some things in that inning that aren't going to help you win a ballgame," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "You walk four guys and you make a mistake defensively; when it's a close game like this where one run, one pitch or one play could mean the difference, we certainly came up on the short end."
The three-run seventh made a winner out of Missouri's Dusty Ross (1-0), who threw 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief behind starter Jeff Cline. After entering and allowing a one-out double to Blake Austin, Jake Walsh got the final two outs to pick up his second save of the day.
Zach Blatt (0-1) took the loss for Auburn, allowing two runs on a hit and a walk in the seventh.
Austin finished the game 2-for-3 with two doubles, a run scored and a RBI and now has four doubles on the year.
"We had two games that we could have won," Austin said. "There are little plays we need to clean up but we'll keep swinging and we'll keep having fun out there."
Jay Gonzalez was 1-for-2 with a walk, a run scored and a RBI while Garrett Cooper was 1-for-3 with a RBI. Gonzalez also had two steals in the game to up his season total to four.
Koger threw five innings and allowed an unearned run on five hits and three walks, striking out five.
Cline allowed all three of Auburn's runs in 4 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and two walks without recording a strike out.
Auburn lost 6-4 in the first game of the doubleheader as Dane Opel drove in four runs for Missouri, hitting a pair of home runs in the game.
Auburn returns to the diamond on Tuesday at 3pm when it plays host to Alcorn State.