Auburn drops back-and-forth series opener at Missouri

Box Score (PDF)
Grayson Belanger/Auburn Tigers

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In a game that saw a combined 47 baserunners, Auburn lost a back-and-forth affair against Missouri 12-11 Friday night at Taylor Stadium.
The Tigers scored six runs in the seventh inning to take a five-run lead, but Missouri answered with six runs in its next two at-bats to secure the series-opening win.
"I thought the first five innings of our offense reminded me of earlier in the season when we were just playing great offense," head coach Butch Thompson said. "Then the big inning came, the big six-spot came in the seventh. We felt really good and still had our best guys on a Friday night, but it's just been one of those challenges in conference play where the things that usually don't happen have happened."
Offensively, Auburn's 11 runs came on 11 hits, including two doubles, a triple and three home runs. Ike Irish finished a double shy of the cycle and drove in a team-high four runs. He was joined by Caden Green and Eric Guevara as Tigers who collected multiple hits and drove in multiple runs.  
Auburn starter Tanner Bauman worked around a pair of baserunners to turn in a scoreless first and retired the first two batters of the second, but a two-out single followed by a two-run homer gave Missouri the early lead.
After Cooper Weiss and Cooper McMurray drew walks, Green delivered with a two-out, two-run double to tie the game in the top of the third.
The Tigers came out swinging in the fourth, taking the lead on a solo homer from Chris Stanfield before hitting two more solo shots courtesy of Irish and McMurray to extend the advantage. The long balls from Irish and McMurray marked the team-best 13th of the season for both.
Missouri plated an unearned run after a leadoff double and error in the bottom of the fourth. Bauman ultimately allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits with three strikeouts in 4.0 innings.
Dylan Watts relieved Bauman to start the fifth, and Missouri took the lead with three runs on two hits, two walks, three wild pitches and an error. After allowing the first four batters to reach and a run to score, Auburn nearly escaped the jam with an out at home on a ground ball and a strikeout, but a bases-loaded walk followed by a wild pitch gave the home Tigers the lead.
Trailing 6-5, Auburn exploded for six runs in the seventh to take an 11-6 lead. Guevara's two-run double gave the Tigers the lead, and Irish followed two batters later with a three-RBI triple down the first base line, marking his third hit of the game and upping his RBI total to four. A RBI groundout from McMurray capped off the six-run frame.
Missouri answered with two runs after a leadoff walk and hit batter in the bottom of the inning to cut its deficit to 11-8. The Tigers loaded the bases on the second hit batter of the inning, but Parker Carlson entered and recorded the final out to avoid further damage.
Auburn looked to add to its lead by loading the bases on three walks to start the eighth, but a comebacker to the pitcher resulted in a double play from home to first, and a groundout ended the inning.
Missouri started the home half with an infield single on a squibbed ball back to the pitcher and eventually made it a two-run game on a two-out single. The Tigers loaded the bases on two more singles and reclaimed the lead, 12-11, on a bases-clearing double.
Auburn put the tying run in scoring position with one out in the ninth, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the game.
Game two between Auburn and Missouri is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. CT. at Taylor Stadium.