BATON ROUGE, La. – Mississippi State could match a monster offensive afternoon by the LSU baseball team Sunday afternoon.
The Bulldogs dropped the final game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series, falling 17-4 to the Tigers at Alex Box Stadium. LSU tallied its best afternoon in conference play with 17 runs scored and 20 base hits.
LSU handed MSU its first three-game sweep of the season. The Bulldogs are now 20-13 overall and 6-6 in league play, while the Tigers improved to 24-8-1 and 6-5-1.
“Things are bunched in our league and it is going to be a wild race to the end,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “Quite simply, things did not happen for us this weekend. We had some hard-hit balls. We couldn’t turn those into runs. On the mound today, we couldn’t contain them. That has not happened very often this season.”
LSU quickly built a 7-0 lead with two runs in the first and second innings and three more scores in the third inning. The Bulldogs crawled back into the contest with single scores in the fourth and fifth innings.
In the MSU fourth inning, Jake Vickerson singled and later scored on a double by Gavin Collins. In the MSU fifth inning, Brett Pirtle reached on a dropped third strike. Derrick Armstrong followed with a single, while C.T. Bradford connected for an RBI-single.
The Bulldogs left the bases loaded in that at-bat and could get no closer.
LSU went back to work, putting the game away with three runs in the fifth inning and six runs in the sixth inning. In the sixth inning, the Tigers homered twice with Christian Ibarra hitting a solo home run and Kade Scivicque later lining a grand slam.
The Bulldogs scored in the eighth inning when Collins doubled and later scored on an RBI-ground out by Cody Walker. Bradford finished a two-hit night with an RBI-double in the ninth inning.
“We hit a lot of balls hard in this game,” Cohen said. “In the second inning, Seth Heck lines a ball to first when the bases loaded. If there ball is another inch either way, we have a chance to score two or three runs early. It was that type of weekend.”
For MSU, Dakota Hudson (1-2) drew his first start in league play and took the loss. Hudson allowed six hits and six run (five earned) in 2.2 innings of work. Jonathan Holder, Myles Gentry, Vance Tatum, Austin Sexton and Lucas Laster worked in relief.
Laster allowed three hits and one unearned run in 2.2 innings of relief.
Offensively, the Bulldogs had 12 hits, including a three-hit game by Jake VIckerson and two-hit games by Armstrong, Bradford, Collins and Zack Randolph.
Scivicque and Ibarra each had three hits for LSU. Parker Bugg (1-1), the third of five LSU pitchers used, was credited with the win.
The Bulldogs now turn their thoughts to a week full of in-state rivals.
“It’s a very big week ahead for our club,” Cohen said. “It is always fun to play in Pearl and we need a big Maroon and White crowd down there supporting us. Then of course the weekend means Ole Miss and we look forward to having the best atmosphere in all of college baseball for that weekend series.”
MSU faces Southern Mississippi at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at Trustmark Park in Pearl. Southeastern Conference play resumes next weekend when Ole Miss comes to Dudy Noble Field for a Super Bulldog Weekend three-game series. The Bulldogs and Rebels meet at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday (Fox Sports Net South) and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.