Men’s tennis drops 5-2 decision at Mississippi State

SACKVILLE, Miss. – The No. 37 Auburn men's tennis team concluded the weekend at Mississippi State and fell to the No. 55 Bulldogs, 5-2, Sunday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre in Starkville. The loss drops the Tigers to 8-11 overall and 4-6 in the SEC as Mississippi State improves to 9-10 and 2-7 in the conference.

"We weren't ready to play right away at the start and that cost us," head coach Eric Shore said. "Mississippi State is a very good team that wanted it more. It is hard to win on the road in the SEC and we have to learn what it takes to win in these situations."

The Bulldogs picked up the doubles point to start the day, opening with wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. Louis Cant and Chris Doerr defeated Nick Maurillo and Michel Monteiro at No. 3 double, 8-4, and Daniel Sanchez and Tanner Stump followed with a win at No. 2 doubles over Auburn's Tim Hewitt and Lucas Lopasso, 8-4.

A battle formed at No. 1 doubles as Auburn's tenth-ranked Tim Puetz and Alex Stamchev took on Mississippi State's George Coupland and Artem Ilyushin. The two teams tied the match at seven apiece before the Bulldog duo came away with the tiebreak to win by a score of 8-7 (3).

MSU put two more points on the board after taking wins at No. 5 and No. 3 singles. Antonio Lastre began singles competition with a two-set (6-4, 6-1) victory over Auburn's Oliver Strecker. At No. 3 singles, No. 125 Coupland topped No. 107 Stamchev in two-sets, 6-4, 6-3.

Auburn got on the board with solid play by freshman Lopasso at No. 4 singles. The Santa Barbara D'oeste, Brazil, product improved to 10-9 overall on the season with a two-set (6-4, 6-2) win over Max Gregor Smith.

The Bulldogs secured the team win with a two-set victory at No. 6 singles as Daniel Sanchez defeated Andreas Mies, 6-4, 6-1.

The day concluded with two three-set matches at No. 1 and No. 1 singles. The 20th-ranked Puetz tallied a 6-1 set-one victory over No. 67 Cant before the Bulldog recorded a 7-6 (4) second set win. The two battled to a one-point tiebreak in the third set and Puetz pulled off a 1-0 (7) win to earn his 13th victory of the season.

After falling 6-2 in the first set at No. 2 singles, Auburn freshman Tim Hewitt rallied with a 6-3 victory in the second over Ilyushin to force a third and final set. Ilyushin endured to take a 6-4 set-three win to conclude the day.

Auburn is set to close out the regular season against cross-state rival Alabama April 17th in Tuscaloosa. The matchup is set for 5 p.m. at the University of Alabama Tennis Stadium.