CHARLESTON, S.C. — Mississippi State head baseball coach Chris Lemonis was victorious against his alma mater on Wednesday night as the No. 4 MSU Bulldogs defeated The Citadel 10-2 at Riley Park.
The game was supposed to serve as a reunion between Lemonis and The Citadel head coach Tony Skole, who were teammates on the military school’s storied College World Series team of 1990. However, Skole was forced to miss the game after testing positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Instead, The Citadel assistant coach Zach Lucas presented a commemorative bat to Lemonis.
With the win, MSU improves to 33-10 (14-7 SEC), while The Citadel falls to 11-29 (3-17 SoCon).
The Maroon and White scored single runs in the first and second innings, two in the third, five in the fifth and one in the ninth. The home Bulldogs scored one run in the fourth inning and one in the fifth inning.
Junior Brad Cumbest led MSU with a 2-for-4 night at the plate with four RBIs and one run. Sophomore Logan Tanner was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs, while freshman Lane Forsythe finished 3-for-4 with one RBI.
Freshman pitcher Cade Smith (2-0) got the start and allowed just one hit with three strikeouts in three scoreless innings. MSU used seven pitchers in total and allowed two runs on five hits with 13 strikeouts and one walk.
The Citadel starting pitcher Cameron Reeves (2-8) tossed 2 2⁄3 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits with three strikeouts and three walks.
In the top of the first inning, senior Tanner Allen hit a one-out single through the right side and advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt. Junior Luke Hancock then reached first on a fielding error to put runners on the corners. After a strikeout, graduate student Scotty Dubrule hit an RBI single to center field to make it 1-0.
Freshman Kellum Clark led off the top of the second inning with a walk before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. Forsythe followed with a single to right-center field to put runners on the corners. Senior Rowdey Jordan plated Clark on a sacrifice fly to increase the MSU lead to 2-0.
Back-to-back walks by Hancock and Tanner began the top of the third inning before Cumbest came through with a two-RBI single to right-center to make it a 4-0 ballgame.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, The Citadel junior Ryan McCarthy hustled his way to a one-out triple down the right-field line and scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-1.
MSU then struck for five runs in the top of the fifth inning to take a commanding 9-1 lead. Hancock hit a leadoff single up the middle and advanced to second on a passed ball. Tanner followed with a two-run home run to left field. A muffed throw then allowed Dubrule to reach first before Cumbest followed with a two-run blast to left field. Clark then doubled to left-center and made his way home on Forsythe’s RBI single.
In the bottom half of the fifth, freshman Noah Mitchell homered to left field to make it 9-2.
Freshman Davis Meche hit a leadoff double to right field in the top of the ninth inning, advanced to third on Forsythe’s single and was plated on sophomore Drew McGowan’s sacrifice fly to end the game’s scoring at 10-2.
Up next, the Bulldogs visit South Carolina for a three-game series beginning Friday at 6 p.m. CT at Founders Park.