STARKVILLE, Miss. – Clinging to a one-run lead Tuesday afternoon, Mississippi State redshirt freshman left fielder Cody Brown leaped into the Left Field Lounge and robbed a would-be walk-off home run by redshirt junior Wes Rea, giving Gray a dramatic 9-8 win vs. Black in a five-inning scrimmage. The next intrasquad scrimmage at Dudy Noble Field takes place Thursday at 2 p.m., prior to the Bulldogs’ football game vs. Kentucky.
The contest itself was an offensive showcase, with junior Matthew Britton going 3-for-3, junior Seth Heck going 3-for-4 and four other Bulldogs collecting multiple hits (junior Derrick Armstrong, senior Demarcus Henderson, senior CT Bradford and freshman Joey Swinarski).
Armstrong started the offensive explosion for both teams in the top of the first when he hit a leadoff infield single for Gray on a full count. After stealing second and moving to third on a spectacular diving catch by Rea, Armstrong tapped the dish on an RBI single through the right side by Henderson.
Black responded by tallying a four spot on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first, which started with a one-out single by Heck. Following a walk by Rea, the two advanced a base courtesy of a balk. Sophomore Kyle Hann drove in Heck with a grounder to shortstop, and after walk by junior Jake Vickerson and freshman Reid Humphreys getting plunked, Swinarski connected on a two-out, two-RBI double to right field.
Gray earned a run back in the top of the second when Britton singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a double to left by Brown.
The hero’s team took a commanding 7-4 lead in the top half of the third with a five-run barrage. Senior Brett Pirtle stole second after a leadoff single and moved to third on a groundout by Henderson. With a runner on third, fellow senior Alex Detz knocked him in with a groundout to second to cut the deficit to one run at 4-3 in favor of Black.
Trailing by one with one out in the top of the third, Britton singled for the second time in the game and stole second. The junior scored following three-straight walks to redshirt junior Zack Randolph, Brown and freshman Brent Rooker. With the bases still juiced, newcomer Dylan Ingram connected on a two-RBI base knock to the outfield, scoring Randolph and Brown. Armstrong wrapped up the onslaught with an RBI single to left, pushing Rooker across the plate.
Owning a commanding 7-4 lead, Gray tacked on its final two in the fourth when Britton cranked out an RBI double and Detz scored on a wild pitch.
Not giving up despite being down 9-4, Black clawed its way back in the final two frames. In the fourth, Swinarski singled for his second base knock of the game and eventually scored on an RBI single by senior CT Bradford.
Down by four entering the last inning, Hann and Vickerson led off with a pair of walks. Hann scored easily on an RBI single by Humphreys up the middle. After a double play which moved Vickerson to third, junior Cody Walker bounced a double off the wall in left for an RBI extra-base hit. Bradford then drove in his second run of the day on an RBI single to right.
Next, Heck singled to put the tying run on second and the walk-off run on first. It was then when Rea launched a ball deep into the Mississippi sky, only for Brown to do his best superman impression at the wall with a leaping catch. As he took the ball out of his glove to signify the game’s last out, his teammates mobbed him in left field as Gray celebrated the narrow one-run victory.