STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State led No. 19 LSU 2-1 with two outs in the top of the ninth inning before surrendering four runs to fall 5-1 in Friday’s series opener at Dudy Noble Field.
With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 18-13 (4-6 SEC), while the Tigers improve to 21-9 (5-5 SEC).
Hits were 10-6 in favor of MSU, with a trio of Bulldogs collecting multiple hits. Junior Logan Tanner and senior Brad Cumbest were both 2-for-4, while sophomore Lane Forsythe was 2-for-3 with one run scored.
Sophomores Tre’ Morgan and Dylan Crews led the Tigers with two hits, two RBIs and one run scored apiece. Sophomore Jacob Berry was 2-for-5.
MSU junior starting pitcher Preston Johnson was terrific on the mound, allowing just one run on two hits with 10 strikeouts and four walks in six innings. Junior KC Hunt then pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts and a walk. Sophomore Jackson Fristoe (3-3) was charged with the loss after allowing three runs on one hit in two-thirds of the ninth inning. Sophomore Brooks Auger relieved him, but he fared no better, giving up a two-run home run.
Fifth-year pitcher Ma’Khail Hilliard started for LSU and allowed two runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts. Redshirt sophomore Eric Reyzelman then allowed just one baserunner via walk in the seventh inning. Sophomore Riley Cooper (2-1) picked up the win after pitching a perfect eighth inning and redshirt junior Paul Gervase earned his first seven with a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts.
The game was scoreless through three innings before LSU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Redshirt sophomores Cade Doughty and Brayden Jobert drew back-to-back walks before both runners advanced on a groundout. Doughty scored on freshman Josh Pearson’s RBI sacrifice fly.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Forsythe hit a leadoff single to right field and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a groundout, junior Kamren James singled to put runners on the corners. Senior Luke Hancock brought them home with a two-RBI single to left-center field to give MSU a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the ninth inning, Fristoe retired the first two batters he faced before he issued a walk and hit the next batter. A wild pitch moved both runners up a base before Morgan came through with a two-RBI single up the middle. Auger then entered the game and surrendered a two-run home run to Crews to put the Tigers ahead 5-2.
MSU went down in order in the bottom of the ninth inning, striking out twice.
The Bulldogs and Tigers will play the second game of the series beginning Saturday at 2 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.