STARKVILLE, Miss. — Trailing 4-2, the No. 3 Mississippi State baseball team scored three runs in the seventh inning to eke out a 5-4 series-opening win over the Missouri Tigers on Thursday night at Dudy Noble Field.
With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 36-11 overall and 17-8 in Southeastern Conference play. The win also marks the 100th victory for Chris Lemonis as the head coach of the Bulldogs. The Tigers fall to 12-33 (5-20 SEC).
MSU starting pitcher Christian MacLeod tossed three innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits with one strikeout and two walks.
After that, the MSU bullpen took over. Junior Brandon Smith pitched two innings and allowed one run on two hits with three strikeouts. Junior Preston Johnson (3-0) earned the win after pitching a hitless sixth and seventh inning. He fanned six batters and walked one.
The Bulldogs turned to closer Landon Sims for the final two innings, and he delivered. Sims didn’t allow a single baserunner and struck out four of the six batters he faced to earn his seventh save.
For the Tigers, graduate student Lukas Veinbergs (1-4) was charged with the loss. He allowed three runs on three hits with one strikeout and four walks in 1 2⁄3 innings of relief pitching.
In the bottom of the first inning, senior Rowdey Jordan singled up the middle before senior Tanner Allen followed with a double to left-center field to put runners on second and third. A groundout scored Jordan before junior Luke Hancock’s RBI single gave MSU a 2-0 lead.
Missouri cut the deficit in half in the top of the second inning. Senior Alex Peterson drew a one-out walk. He then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. Sophomore Ty Wilmsmeyer brought him home with an RBI single to left field to make it 2-1.
In the top of the third inning, junior Tre Morris and senior Andrew Keefer hit back-to-back singles. A flyout moved Morris to third before the Tigers executed a double steal to tie the game at 2-2. Junior Joshua Day’s RBI single to left-center then gave Missouri a one-run lead.
Keefer hit a leadoff double in the top of the fifth inning and advanced to third on a groundout. Redshirt sophomore Luke Mann’s RBI single up the middle made it a 4-2 ballgame.
Senior Brayland Skinner got the bottom of the seventh inning going with a leadoff walk. After a strikeout, Allen sent a ball to right field for what looked like a game-tying home run, but Keefer made the catch for the second out of the inning. Sophomore Kamren James then hit an infield single before a wild pitch scored Skinner. Back-to-back walks then loaded the bases. Graduate student Scotty Dubrule came through with a two-RBI single up the middle to give the Bulldogs a 5-4 lead.
The Bulldogs and Tigers will return to action Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT for the second game of the three-game series. The contest will be streaming on SEC Network+.