STARKVILLE, Miss. — Graduate student RJ Yeager’s solo home run to right-center field in the bottom of the 10th inning gave Mississippi State a 7-6 win over Alabama in Friday’s series opener at Dudy Noble Field.
The Bulldogs (14-9, 2-2 SEC) rallied from a 5-1 deficit to draw within one run in the bottom of the seventh inning before they faced a two-run deficit in the ninth. MSU wound tying things at 6-6 before coming away with an extra-inning win over the Crimson Tide (13-10, 1-3 SEC).
Hits were even at 6-6 for the game. MSU freshman Hunter Hines had two hits, two RBIs and two runs, while Yeager had two hits, one RBI and one run. Sophomore Kellum Clark accounted for three RBIs on a 1-for-4 night at the plate.
The Crimson Tide was led by sophomore Caden Rose with two hits, an RBI and a run, while junior Owen Diodati was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a run.
Junior pitcher Preston Johnson started for the Bulldogs and allowed three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and three walks in six innings pitched. Senior Cam Tullar then tossed 2 2⁄3 innings, allowing three runs on two hits with four strikeouts. Senior Brandon Smith got the final out of the ninth inning before sophomore Brooks Auger (2-0) pitched a one-hit 10th inning to earn the win.
Junior Garrett McMillan started for Alabama and allowed one run on six hits in 5 1⁄3 innings. Redshirt senior Brock Guffey then pitched 1 1⁄3 innings and allowed two runs on no hits with two walks and one strikeout. Redshirt freshman Dylan Ray (0-2) was charged with the loss after pitching 2 2⁄3 innings and allowing four runs on three hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
In the bottom of the second inning, senior Brad Cumbest hit a leadoff single to left field and came around to score on graduate student Jess Davis’ RBI double down the right-field line.
The Crimson Tide answered with three runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead. Diodati drew a leadoff walk and redshirt sophomore Andrew Pinckney followed with a single through the left side. After a flyout, Rose hit a ground-rule double to tie the game. A sacrifice bunt plated Pinckney before Rose scored on an RBI triple to right-center field by junior Jim Jarvis.
The score remained the same until Alabama added two runs to its lead in the top of the seventh inning. Senior Tommy Seidl was hit by a pitch with one out and junior Zane Denton singled through the right side to put runners on the corners. After a strikeout, Diodati hit a two-RBI double to right-center to make it a 5-1 ballgame.
In the bottom half of the seventh, junior Logan Tanner and Hines drew two-out walks and Clark followed with a three-run home run to left field to draw within one run at 5-4.
Seidl was hit by a pitch in the top of the ninth inning and stole second base. Junior Dominic Tamez then increased the Crimson Tide’s lead to 6-4 with an RBI single to left-center.
The Bulldogs were down to their final out in the bottom of the ninth inning when Tanner kept MSU alive by drawing a walk. Hines then came through with a two-run home run to tie the game at 6-6.
A strikeout began the bottom of the 10th inning before Yeager came through with a walk-off home run to right-center to give the Bulldogs a 7-6 win.
MSU and Alabama will resume the series Saturday at 2 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.