Mize shuts down Bulldogs, Auburn snaps losing streakApril 14, 2018
Auburn returned to Plainsman Park on Friday after a four-game road trip that was…anything but pleasant.
The Tigers fell in all four games: a series sweep at Arkansas, and a midweek tilt in Birmingham against Samford, being outscored 32-8 in those games.
Entering this weekend’s series against Mississippi State, it was clear that Auburn needed a shot in the arm, and there’s only one person in the clubhouse that could administer it — junior pitcher Casey Mize…and, boy, did he deliver.
Mize went the distance in Friday night’s 2-1 victory over Mississippi State, striking out 9 Bulldogs, allowing five hits while walking zero. The complete game performance was the second of the season for Mize and the fourth over the last two seasons. The win moves him to 7-1 on the year.
“It felt really good,” Mize said following the game. “Efficiency is something I take pride in just throwing strikes, letting the defense work, or punching guys out. I don’t like walking guys, I try to shove the ball in the zone and that’s what happened.”
While Mize’s outing was enough to win the game, the Tigers’ offensive output still needs work.
Mississippi State ace Konnor Pilkington fell just short in Friday night’s “ace-off” with Mize, allowing only four hits to Auburn bats, striking out three. Brendan Venter hit a sacrifice fly to score Brett Wright in the third inning, and Will Holland added his fourth RBI in two games on a single to left field that scored Jay Estes in the third inning.
With the offensive struggling lately, it definitely helped that Auburn played in front of their home crowd. Since taking two of three from Texas A&M to open SEC play, Auburn has scored four runs in only three of ten SEC games played in that span.
Scoring runs will need to be of utmost importance over the next two days. Davis Daniel and Tanner Burns have each pitched well at times during the season, but will need help from the bats in order to fully succeed on the mound this weekend.
Game two between Auburn and Mississippi State begins tomorrow at 2 P.M. central time at Plainsman Park. Davis Daniel will battle Ethan Small.