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No. 7 Mississippi State baseball beats Northern Kentucky 7-2 to clinch series

Austin Perryman/MSU Athletics

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The No. 7 Mississippi State baseball team used home runs and solid pitching to beat Northern Kentucky 7-2 in Sunday’s rubber match at Dudy Noble Field.

With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 4-3 (0-0 SEC), while the Norse fall to 1-5 (0-0 Horizon League).

At the plate for the Bulldogs, senior Brad Cumbest was 2-for-2 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs, while senior Luke Hancock was 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and one run. Freshman Aaron Downs also recorded two hits with two RBIs and junior Kamren James was 2-for-3 with one run scored.

MSU limited the Norse to five hits, with senior Jayden Wakeham leading them with two hits and an RBI.

On the mound, sophomore righty Cade Smith (2-0) earned the win for MSU after allowing just one unearned run on three hits and striking out seven batters in five innings of work.

Senior righty Brandon Smith then pitched two hitless innings with three strikeouts before sophomore righty Brooks Auger pitched the eighth inning. He allowed one run on two hits with one strikeout and one walk. Sophomore righty Mikey Tepper then pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Freshman righty Kaden Echeman (0-1) was charged with the loss for Northern Kentucky after allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits with one strikeout and one walk in 2 23 innings. The Norse used six pitchers in total.

After a scoreless first inning, MSU took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Freshman Hunter Hines led off with a single to right field and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Junior Matt Corder then plated him with an RBI single to left-center field. Cumbest then singled and a fielding error put runners on second and third base. Downs’ single up the middle scored two more runs.

Junior Logan Tanner singled to left field to begin the bottom of the third inning. After back-to-back flyouts, Cumbest homered to left field to make it a 5-0 ballgame.

James drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the fourth inning and Hancock followed with a two-run home run to right field to extend MSU’s lead to 7-0.

In the top of the fifth inning, senior Brennan Gick hit a one-out single to left field and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Sophomore Brandon Tucker reached first on an infield error and Gick advanced to third. Redshirt junior Treyvin Moss’ sacrifice fly made it 7-1.

The Norse added another run in the top of the eighth inning to end the game’s scoring at 7-2. Junior Manny Vorhees drew a one-out walk. Senior Griffin Kain’s pinch-hit single followed before Wakeham singled to right-center field to score Vorhees.

The Bulldogs will return to action Tuesday when they host Grambling State at 4 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.