STARKVILLE, Miss. — The No. 7 Mississippi State baseball team used three home runs and solid pitching to defeat Northern Kentucky 10-1 on Saturday to even the series.
The Bulldogs (3-3, 0-0 SEC) scored four runs in both the third and seventh innings and two in the eighth, while the Norse (1-4, 0-0 Horizon League) scored one run in the second inning.
After being limited to just four hits in the series opener, the Bulldogs cranked out nine hits in Game 2. Junior Logan Tanner and senior Brad Cumbest both accounted for two hits, three RBIs and two runs, while junior Kamren James finished with two hits, two RBIs and two runs and senior Luke Hancock finished with two hits and two runs.
Junior right-handed pitcher Preston Johnson (1-0) got the start on the mound and allowed just one run on two hits in 6 1⁄3 innings of work. He fanned five batters and walked two. Freshman southpaw Pico Kohn then pitched the final 2 2⁄3 innings and allowed just two hits while striking out three batters.
Sophomore lefty Ben Gerl (0-2) was charged with the loss for Northern Kentucky after allowing four runs on five hits in six innings pitched. He struck out six batters and issued six walks.
After a scoreless first inning, the Norse took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning thanks to a solo home run to right field from senior Jayden Wakeham.
The Bulldogs then took a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning. James drew a one-out walk and Hancock followed with a single through the right side. Tanner plated James with an RBI single through the left side. After a strikeout, Cumbest cleared the bases with a three-run home run to left field.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the seventh inning when MSU extended its lead by four runs. Hancock drew a one-out walk and Tanner followed with a two-run homer to left field. Freshman Hunter Hines was then walked, and graduate student Jess Davis pinch ran for him. Cumbest doubled to left field before a wild pitch scored Davis and allowed Cumbest to advance to third. A sacrifice fly from senior Tanner Leggett made it an 8-1 ballgame.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, senior Brayland Skinner reached on an infield single. James followed with a home run to left field to end the game’s scoring at 10-1.
The Bulldogs and Norse will hit the field again Sunday at 1 p.m. CT for a rubber match to decide the series.