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Mississippi State Drops Series Opener At LSU In 14-13 Slugfest

Courtesy: hailstate.com  
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BATON ROUGE, La. - Mississippi State's tough luck in Southeastern Conference baseball action continued Thursday night. The Bulldogs pounded out 17 hits in a 14-13 loss to Western Division rival LSU at Alex Box Stadium.

The Bulldogs actually sprinted out to a 4-0 lead. However, a six-run LSU second inning proved large. The Tigers scored five unearned runs in that at-bat, benefiting greatly from two Bulldog errors. Things were nip-and-tuck all night with LSU finally closing the deal with two runs in the home half of the eighth inning.

With the victory, LSU improved to 35-19 overall and 13-15 in league play. After an 11-4 start in league play, the Tigers have actually won twice in their last 13 conference games. Still the win moves LSU into a two-way tie with Alabama for seventh place in the overall league standings. The top eight teams qualify for the SEC Tournament.

M-State fell to 22-32 overall and 5-23 in league play. The Bulldogs dropped a school-record 13th straight game in league play. The Bulldogs lost for a 14th time in league play by three or fewer runs. Ironically only three of those 14 defeats have been a final margin of one run.

The Bulldogs built the early lead thanks to a three-run first inning. In that at-bat, Nick Vickerson and Luke Adkins opened business with back-to-back home runs. After a walk to Connor Powers, Russ Sneed smashed the first of two extra-base hits - an RBI-triple.

LSU battled back for a 6-4 lead with six runs in the second inning, including five unearned scores.

The Bulldogs battled back to grab a 7-6 lead by scoring twice in the fourth inning. In that at-bat, the Bulldogs scored both runs on a sacrifice-fly hit by Ryan Duffy. Adkins scored the go-ahead run on that sac-fly when the LSU catcher had the ball pop out of his mitt.

LSU would grab a 9-7 lead with three scores in the fifth inning. The Bulldogs would tie at 9 in the seventh inning but not lead again until a four-run eighth inning gave the Maroon and White a 13-12 advantage. For the Bulldogs, Luke Adkins had the game-tying hit, while a bases-loaded hit batsman forced in the go-ahead run.

LSU answered with a pair of runs in the home half of the eighth inning. Micah Gibbs homered with one out to tie the contest. Matt Gaudet brought home the game winner with a sacrifice-fly.

Sneed doubled to lead off the ninth inning for MSU, but he wound up being the 13th stranded base runner in the contest.

Each team finished with 17 hits and both made three errors.

Adkins led the hit parade for MSU with four hits and four RBIs. For the Nettleton native, it was his second game of four or more hits this season. Vickerson and Thigpen each added three hits. Ryan Duffy and Sneed added multiple hits.

Gibbs and Alex Edwards each had three hits for the Tigers. Blake Dean, Austin Nola, Gaudet and Tyler Hanover each added multiple hits. Gaudet hit a pair of home runs and drove in five runs for the Tigers.

For MSU, Tyler Whitney started and worked the first seven innings. Whitney allowed 14 hits and 12 runs (seven earned), with four strikeouts and two walks. Caleb Reed (1-7) started the eighth inning and took the loss. Kendall Graveman got the final out for the Bulldogs.

Anthony Ranaudo (3-2) worked the final 1.1 innings to earn the win. Joey Bourgeois started but only last three innings. Three other Tigers followed before premier closer Manny Ott took to the mound. Ott was chased during the four-run eighth inning by the Bulldogs.

The weekend series resumes with a 7 p.m. start Friday and concludes with a 3 p.m. start Saturday. The Friday contest will be televised regionally by Cox Sports, while the Saturday contest will be shown regionally by Comcast Sports Southeast.

 


Luke Adkins
Photo Courtsey of hailstate.com
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