STARKVILLE, Miss. – A four-run fifth inning proved to be too much for Mississippi State, as Vandebilt won the series finale, 4-3, and swept the opening Southeastern Conference series Sunday afternoon at Dudy Noble.
Vanderbilt improved to 15-5 and 3-0 in the SEC. With the loss, Mississippi State fell to 10-10 and 0-3 in the SEC.
The Diamond Dawgs took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, as Jake Mangum and and Luke Alexander had a pair of hits to start the game. Tanner Allen followed with a sac-fly, which scored Mangum.
Mangum scored again in the third inning, as he doubled and later scored on a wild pitch to give MSU an early 2-0 lead.
Vanderbilt struck for four times in the fifth inning. The first run of the inning came from on a pair of base hits and an MSU error. The Commodores then struck for a two-run single by Connor Kaiser, giving Vanderbilt a 3-2 lead. A throwing error scored another run, making it a 4-2 ballgame.
Jordan Westburg helped cut into the lead in the sixth inning, as his RBI-single made it 4-3. Unfortunately, the Diamond Dawgs come back attempt came up short, and they dropped the series finale by a score of 4-3.
MSU and Vanderbilt both had six hits in the game, with Mangum leading MSU with two hits. The teams had their offensive chances, as the Diamond Dawgs stranded six runners and the Commodores stranded 13.
Jacob Billingsley (2-1) was charged with the loss. He pitched 4.1 innings, allowing three runs, all earned, on two hits. He struck out five batters, and walked four. JP France came in relief and pitched 3.1 innings, allowing one run on three hits, and striking out four batters. Zach Neff and and Blake Smith both pitched 0.2 innings.
Mason Hickman (4-0) earned the win for Vanderbilt with five innings pitched. He allowed three runs on four hits, and struck out four batters. Tyler Brown pitched four shut out innings, while earning his second save on the year.
The Diamond Dawgs will return to Dudy Noble on Tuesday for a 6:30 p.m. CT first pitch against Alcorn State, before closing a five-game homestand on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. vs. Texas Southern.