STARKVILLE, Miss. — No. 8 Mississippi State baseball swept the Maine Black Bears, 9-2 and 5-1, Friday evening in the first two games of a three-game series at Dudy Noble Field.
The Dawgs have now won 10 straight games, improving to 14-1 on the year. Maine has now lost its 12th straight as the Black Bears fall to 0-12.
GAME 1 – No. 8 Mississippi State 9, Maine 2
Backed by another solid showing from redshirt-junior left-hander Ethan Small, the Diamond Dawgs scored four runs in the fifth inning, three in the sixth, one in the seventh and one in the eighth en route to a 9-2 opening-series win.
Freshman Hayden Jones got the bottom of the fifth going with a leadoff single. He then stole second. Junior Gunner Halter and senior Jake Mangum followed that with back-to-back singles to knock in a run before sophomore Jordan Westburg hit a three-run home run to make it 4-0.
The Black Bears got a run in the top of the sixth inning after back-to-back singles and a fielder’s choice, but MSU was able to respond with three runs in the bottom half to make it a 7-1 ballgame. Jones got things going with a two-out double before sophomore Rowdey Jordan singled to score him. He then stole second. Halter followed that up with a single of his own to score Jordan. Halter stole second and scored on a Mangum single to make it 7-1.
After a ground out began the bottom of the seventh, senior Elijah MacNamee hit a single before scoring on a wild pitch to increase the MSU lead to 8-1.
MSU scored its final run of the game in the eighth inning when freshman Landon Jordan doubled and came around to score on a Westburg single. Maine scored its final run of the game in the top of the ninth inning when sophomore Joe Bramanti singled and came around to score on a double from junior Cody Pasic to make it 9-2.
For MSU, six batters had multi-hit games to compile 14 hits in the game. Mangum, Westburg, MacNamee, sophomore Justin Foscue, Jones and Gunner all had two-hit performances.
Small (1-0) threw six innings while earning his first win of the season. He allowed one unearned run on three hits. He struck out 10 batters and walked two. Senior Jared Liebelt pitched the final three innings and earned his first save of the season. He allowed one earned run on four hits and struck out three batters.
Senior right-hander Nick Silva (0-2) thre 5 2⁄3 innings and allowed seven runs, all earned, on nine hits in the loss. He struck out four batters and walked two.
GAME 2 – No. 8 Mississippi State 5, Maine 1
The second game of the doubleheader featured freshman right-hander JT Ginn (4-0) who impressed yet again in the 5-1 win. Ginn fanned eight batters in six innings of work. He allowed just one earned run on six hits and didn’t surrender a walk.
The scoring got going in the bottom of the second inning when the Dawgs took an early 3-0 lead. MacNamee and Foscue got the game going with back-to-back singles. The center fielder made an error on Foscue’s single, allowing MacNamee to score and Foscue to move up to second. Junior Dustin Skelton followed that up with a two-run home run to left center. It is Skelton’s third home run of the season.
The Black Bears answered with a run in the top of the third inning to make it a 3-1 ballgame. Senior Danny Cassels singled and then advanced to second on a balk before stealing third and scoring on on a sacrifice fly.
MSU scored a run in the sixth inning after L. Jordan doubled as a pinch hitter and moved to third on a flyball to center field by sophomore Tanner Allen. He scored on a passed ball. MSU then added another run in the seventh inning to make it 5-1. The bases were loaded after Halter singled, Mangum reached on an error and L. Jordan was intentionally walked. Allen plated the lone run of the frame with a sacrifice fly to center field.
MacNamee and Halter led the Dawgs with two hits apiece.
Sophomore righty Peter Kemble (0-3) is charged with the Maine loss after throwing five innings. He allowed three runs—all earned—on five hits. He struck out two batters.
MSU and Maine will have a day off Saturday before the series finale on Sunday. First pitch is set for noon.