STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Mississippi State baseball team ended the regular season on a high note Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field, capturing a 13-6 win in the final game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series against No. 1 Florida to complete the sweep of the SEC regular season champions.
The Diamond Dawgs improved to 31-24 (15-15 SEC), while the Gators fell to 41-15 (20-10 SEC). State finished in a three-way tie for third place in the Western Division standings.
After the Gators took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, the Diamond Dawgs responded by scoring four runs in the bottom half and taking a 4-1 lead. Jake Mangum hit a leadoff home run to tie the game. Rowdey Jordan and Tanner Allen followed with a pair of singles and Elijah MacNamee followed with a three-run home run.
An MSU error allowed Nick Horvath to reach first and take second. Deacon Liput then hit a two-run homer to bring the Gators within one run at 4-3.
Hunter Stovall led the third inning off with a double. MacNamee followed with a double of his own to score Stovall. A Luke Alexander singled scored MacNamee to push the lead to 6-3.
Florida made it a 6-5 game in the fourth inning when Cal Greenfield hit a two-run home run. The Gators then tied the game at 6-6 in the sixth inning after Liput drew a walk and later scored on a single by Langworthy.
The Dawgs regained the lead in home half of the sixth inning when Dustin Skelton reached first on a throwing error and took second on a wild pitch. MSU hit into a double play ball, but Skelton was able to reach home for the 7-6 lead, and the Dawgs didn’t look back.
State scored six more runs in the eighth inning to take a game-ending 13-6 lead. Skelton and Mangum hit a pair of singles, and Jordan was intentional walked. Allen drew a bases-loaded walk to score a run and Stovall hit an RBI-single. MacNamee followed with a two-run double. Justin Foscue ended the big inning with a two-run single.
MSU compiled 14 hits in the game, while the Gators tallied 10. MacNamee and Mangum led the way with three hits each. Allen and Stovall also added two hits apiece.
Jacob Billingsley got the start on the mound for MSU. He pitched two innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits. He struck out three batters and walked two.
Denver McQuary then came in relief and pitched 1.1 innings and Keegan James followed with 1.2 innings of work before handing it to Blake Smith.
Smith (4-0) earned the win for the Diamond Dawgs. He pitched 1.2 innings one hit and struck out three batters. Zach Neff then pitched the final out of the inning. Cole Gordon pitched the final two innings for his third save.
Up next for the Diamond Dawgs is the Southeastern Conference Tournament, which will begin on Tuesday.