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No. 12 Mississippi State advances to Starkville Regional championship with 16-4 win over VCU

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Bulldogs improve to 42-15.

Mississippi State Athletics

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The No. 12 Mississippi State baseball team ended the nation’s longest winning streak on Saturday night at Dudy Noble Field as the Bulldogs defeated VCU 16-4 to advance to the Starkville Regional championship.

The Bulldogs (42-15) scored six runs over the first five innings before they erupted for nine runs in the sixth inning. They added one more run in the eighth inning.

The Rams (38-15) entered the game with a 22-game winning streak. They scored one run in the second inning and three in the sixth.

Senior Tanner Allen, senior Rowdey Jordan and sophomore Kamren James each recorded three hits to combine for nine of MSU’s 14 hits. Allen also contributed with three RBIs, while Jordan and James each added two.

MSU junior starting pitcher Christian MacLeod (6-4) tossed 5 23 innings and struck out 12 batters to tie a career high. He surrendered four runs on five hits with three walks.

Junior Brandon Smith pitched 2 13 scoreless innings in relief, while junior Parker Stinnett pitched the ninth inning and struck out all three batters he faced.

VCU freshman starting pitcher Mason Delane (3-1) lasted just three innings. He allowed three runs on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks.

In the bottom of the first inning, Jordan led off with a single. After a strikeout, James doubled to left field to put runners on second and third. A groundout scored Jordan before sophomore Logan Tanner singled to left field to make it 2-0.

VCU cut the MSU lead in half in the top of the second inning when junior Jack Schroeder homered to center field. MSU got the run back in the bottom half when Jordan hit a two-out double and scored on Allen’s RBI single through the right side to make it 3-1.

After a scoreless third inning, VCU brought in sophomore pitcher Jaden Griffin. He was greeted with back-to-back home runs from junior Brad Cumbest and freshman Kellum Clark to push the Bulldog lead to 5-1.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Tanner drew a leadoff walk. Graduate student Scotty Dubrule then singled, and an errant throw put runners on second and third. Cumbest was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Clark walked in a run to make it 6-1.

Junior Liam Hibbits began the top of the sixth inning with a single through the right side. After a strikeout and a flyout, a wild pitch advanced him to second base. Junior Hunter Vay then singled up the middle to score Hibbits before sophomore Michael Haydak hit a two-run home run to draw the Rams within two runs at 6-4.

The Bulldogs responded with nine runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning. James got things going with a leadoff single up the middle. Junior Luke Hancock and Tanner followed with back-to-back walks to load the bases. Dubrule’s single to right field scored James before Cumbest was hit by a pitch to score another run. Clark’s grounder to second was then errored to score Tanner. Jordan and Allen each scored two more runs with two-RBI singles before James’ two-run home run to left-center field capped off the big inning and gave MSU a 15-4 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, Allen drew a walk, advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on a wild pitch to end the game’s scoring at 16-4.

The Bulldogs will now play the winner of VCU and Campbell on Sunday at 7 p.m. CT with a ticket to the super regionals on the line.