LEXINGTON, Ky. – Mississippi State baseball took a 9-6 loss to Kentucky in the opening game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series Friday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
With the loss, MSU fell to 27-23 (11-14 SEC), while Kentucky improved to 32-17 (12-13 SEC).
Jake Mangum led the game off by drawing a walk. Two batters later, Tanner Allen singled. After a groundout, Hunter Stovall singled and scored Mangum and Allen to give the Dawgs a 2-0 lead.
The Wildcats got a run back in their half of the first after Tristan Pompey drew a walk and scored off of a Luke Heyer double.
In the top of the second inning, the Diamond Dawgs pushed the lead to 4-1. Elijah MacNamee singled, Marshall Gilbert walked and Jake Mangum reached after being hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rowdey Jordan then hit a two-run single.
Pompey doubled to right field and scored a pair of runs for Kentucky to make it a 4-3 ballgame.
The score remained the same until the fourth inning when Kentucky produced four runs in the fourth inning to take a 7-4 lead.
The Dawgs added a run in the fifth inning after Stovall homered to left field and closed the gap to two runs. State added another run in the seventh inning when Stovall tripled and scored on a single by Justin Foscue to draw within one run of Kentucky.
The Wildcats grew their lead to 9-6 in the eighth inning to pull away for the win. Pompey drew a walk and reached second after Kole Cottam singled. Both runners advanced a base after a wild pitch. Luke Becker then singled to score both runs as Kentucky went on to win 9-6.
The Diamond Dawgs posted an 11-hit game, but stranded 10 base runners. Hunter Stovall led the way with four hits. MacNamee added two hits. Kentucky tallied 12 hits.
Konnor Pilkington (2-6) got the start on the mound before being pulled with two outs in the fifth inning. He allowed allowed seven runs, all earned, on nine hits. He had five strikeouts and four walks.
Riley Self pitched 2.2 scoreless innings of relief. Kale Breaux, Keegan James and Cole Marsh also pitched for MSU.
Sean Hjelle (7-4) pitched seven innings while earning the win. He allowed six earned runs on nine hits. He struck out three batters and walked five.
Chris Machamer earned his 10th save on the year.
MSU and Kentucky will be back on the field today for a 4 p.m. CT first pitch. The contest will be nationally televised on SEC Network, and can also be streamed via WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.