After an extra innings pitching duel that went Mississippi State's way on Friday, we saw the bats work a bit more on Saturday, as State outlasted the Commodores, 5-4.
Austin Sexton started on the mound for Mississippi State. Up to the 7th inning, he had a good outing going. Through 6 innings of work, he gave up seven hits, two runs, and struck out seven. A two run home run in the 7th ultimately ended his day. It wasn't his best showing, but not bad either.
Once again, the bullpen showed out. Kale Breaux overcame his recent struggles to pitch a 1 inning game, in which he gave up zero hits and struck out one. That performance earned him his first win of the year. Noah Hughes closed out the ballgame for State, dealing a no hits, one walk, two strikeout performance in 2 innings of work, giving him his first save of the year.
The hitting wasn't fantastic, but it still got the job done. As opposed to Friday night, Mississippi State was able to bring runners home. The Bulldogs halved the number of runners left on base from Friday to Saturday, stranding eight on Saturday.
The hitting seemed anemic through the first 3 innings, not being able to put anything together in that stretch. But, down 1-0 with 2 outs, Jack Kruger doubled to right center, followed by a homer to left field by Reid Humphreys, which gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead in the 4th. Vandy responded with a run of their own, but State came back with another 2 out RBI, this time a single by Gavin Collins that scored Jake Mangum. State was able to hang on for dear life until the 7th, when the Commodores launched a two run shot to right, which gave them a 4-3 lead. But, the Dawgs were able to respond once again. With two outs in the bottom of the 8th and the bases loaded, Jake Magnum shot a ball through the left side for a single that scored Jack Kruger and Mike Smith. Noah Hughes held them off in the 8th and 9th to seal the series.
I went through all of that to explain the major difference between Friday and Saturday, which was clutch hitting. On Friday, State stranded 16 runners and couldn't come up with a big, clutch hit to save their lives. But, on Saturday, State scored all of their runs from 2 out hits. That is legitimately the polar opposite of what we've been doing at the plate the last two years that has been absolutely frustrating to watch. It seems like we're starting to figure things out at the plate.
Mississippi State is now 14-5-1 and will continue their series in Nashville, looking for their 2nd consecutive sweep of a top 10 team, Sunday at 1:00.