NEW ORLEANS — The No. 9 Mississippi State baseball team fell to Tulane 5-4 in Sunday’s rubber match at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
The loss puts the Bulldogs at 6-6 (0-0 SEC) to open the season, which marks their worst start since going 5-7 to open the 2008 season. The Green Wave on the other hand improved to 10-2 (0-0 AAC).
MSU was outhit 10-5 for the game. Freshman Hunter Hines finished 1-for-4 with one RBI and one run, while junior Logan Tanner, sophomore Kellum Clark and freshman Aaron Downs each recorded one hit.
Redshirt sophomore Ethan Groff led Tulane with two hits, one RBI and one run, while freshman Gavin Schulz was 2-for-5 with one run.
Sophomore pitcher Cade Smith started for MSU and allowed four runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and two walks in 6 1⁄3 innings. Senior Drew Talley (0-1) was charged with the loss after entering in the seventh inning and allowing a run on two hits and a walk in 1 1⁄3 innings.
Freshman Michael Massey made his third start of the year for the Green Wave and allowed two runs on three hits with three strikeouts and two walks in 5 1⁄3 innings. Redshirt junior Lane Thomas (1-0) was credited with the win after 1 2⁄3 hitless innings. Sophomore Zach DeVito earned his second save.
In the bottom of the first inning, Groff and Schulz hit back-to-back singles. A double-play grounder followed before Schulz scored on freshman Brady Marget’s RBI single to left-center field to give the Green Wave a 1-0 lead.
Tulane then increased its lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the second inning. Sophomore Chase Engelhard led off the inning with a double, moved over to third on a grounder and scored on a wild pitch.
The Bulldogs finally scored in the top of the fifth inning to cut the deficit in half. Clark reached first on a fielder’s choice and Downs followed with a double to center field. Back-to-back walks drawn by graduate student RJ Yeager and senior Tanner Leggett made it 2-1. Tulane answered in the bottom half to make it 3-1 thanks to a home run by Groff.
MSU then scored two runs in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 3-3. Hines hit a one-out homer to right field before Tanner drew a walk. Clark’s single through the right side put runners on the corners and senior Brad Cumbest’s sacrifice fly scored Tanner.
In the top of the seventh inning, Leggett reached on a fielding error and made his way up to second base. Senior Luke Hancock then drew a walk before Leggett advanced to third on a lineout. A fielder’s choice scored Leggett to give MSU a 4-3 lead before a double play ended the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, Tulane loaded the bases after redshirt junior Jared Hart hit a one-out single and both Groff and sophomore Bennett Lee drew walks. Marget then came to the plate, but before he saw a pitch, sophomore pitcher Brooks Auger balked, scoring Hart from third to tie the game at 4-4.
Redshirt sophomore Simon Baumgardt led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a double down the left-field line. A sacrifice bunt pushed him over to third before he scored on graduate student Trevor Minder’s double to left-center to give Tulane a 5-4 lead.
MSU had a chance to tie the game in the top of the ninth when senior Brayland Skinner, who came in to pinch run after junior Von Seibert drew a walk, made his way to third base. However, junior Kamren James popped out to second base to end the game.
The Bulldogs will now head to Biloxi, Mississippi, for a pair of midweek games against No. 19 Texas Tech at MGM Park. First pitch on Tuesday is set for 6 p.m. CT, while Wednesday’s contest is set for 5 p.m. Both games will be streamed on SEC Network+.