MOBILE, Ala. - The Michigan State baseball team collected 10 hits, but committed seven errors in the field, leading to five unearned runs in an 11-6 loss to No. 29 Auburn Saturday night at the Coca-Cola Classic held at Stanky Field on the campus of South Alabama. Michigan State (0-2) returns to action tomorrow (Sunday, Feb. 25) to take on Jacksonville at noon ET.
The Spartans fell behind early as Auburn catcher Josh Donaldson hit a solo homer in the bottom of the first, however, MSU (0-2) came right back with a run in the top of the second as Sean Walker connected on a solo shot, the 20th of his career. After the Tigers (9-1) scored another run in the bottom of the second, the Spartans tied it up once again in the third on a Steve Gerstenberger RBI single that brought home Dennis Jones, making it 2-2.
Auburn took the lead for good with three unearned runs in the bottom of the third. The Tigers knocked out MSU starter Jon Kibler in the fourth after going up 6-2. Kibler, a junior college transfer, threw 3.2 innings in his first start for the Green and White, allowing six runs, three earned, on six hits and three strikeouts.
MSU got one run back in the fifth to cut the lead to 6-3, as freshman Chris Roberts led off with a double and later scored on a Jones groundout.
The Tigers jumped right back, scoring one in the fifth and three in the seventh to take a commanding 10-3 advantage.
The Spartans rallied for three runs in the top of the eighth to make things interesting. Kyle Day drove in the first run on a groundout to second, and Evan Friedland singled to shortstop two batters later to plate Eric Roof. Friedland later scored on a Roberts RBI single. Playing in his first game, Roberts went 3-for-4 at the plate.
With the score at 10-6, Auburn tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, and got the Spartans out in order to close the game out in the ninth.
Donaldson finished the game 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBI for the Tigers. Paul Burnside improved to 3-0 for Auburn as he struck out eight and only allowed three runs in 5.2 innings of work.