After a 4 hour, 42 minute weather delay, Mississippi State triumphed in their third consecutive elimination contest, this time over #10 Southern Miss, 8-1.
Jacob Billingsley started on the bump for the Bulldogs, and he had arguably the best performance of any Dawg pitcher all season long. He threw State’s first complete game of the year, striking out five batters and giving up only one run from six hits, coming in the 1st inning. With the expended pitching staff that State faces, it was absolutely humongous that Billingsley would go a long way, let alone a complete game.
The Golden Eagles got things started in the 1st with an RBI single, but that would be the extent of USM’s scoring. After two innings that spotlighted four stranded runners, the Bulldogs got the bats going. Jake Mangum commenced the runs with an RBI single that scored Ryan Gridley. Following a balk that brought home Cody Brown, Josh Lovelady (yes, you read that right) hit a three run bomb over the left field wall to score Mangum and Elijah MacNamee, extending State’s lead to 5-1 through 3 innings.
The hot bats continued in the 6th, plating two runs from Brent Rooker’s 22nd home run of the 2017 campaign, scoring Hunter Stovall. The final Bulldog run was tacked on in the next inning, as Josh Lovelady racked up his fourth RBI of the ballgame; a sac fly that brought home Hunter Vansau. After retiring the side in order in the dreaded 8th inning, Billingsley took care of the Golden Eagles in the 9th to wrap up a Bulldog victory.
Although starting slow in the “timely hits” department, Mississippi State made a complete 180 degree turn. State has done a fantastic job scoring runs in the last couple of games, and they need to continue the trend as they play for a spot in the Baton Rouge super regional, facing Southern Miss once more in Hattiesburg.