HOOVER, Ala. — The Mississippi State baseball team cut an eight-run deficit down to two, but that’s as close as the Bulldogs would get, as MSU fell to Samford 8-6 Tuesday night at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Samford (23-23, 9-6 SoCon) used grand slams in the first and third innings to take an 8-0 lead before MSU (25-24, 9-15 SEC) battled back to within two runs by scoring three runs in the fourth inning and single runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings.
MSU outhit Samford 10-9 but left 12 runners on base. Graduate student RJ Yeager and junior Kamren James both finished with two hits and two RBIs, while freshman Hunter Hines added an RBI on two hits and sophomore Lane Forsythe also added two hits.
Samford junior Maurice Hampton Jr. went 1-for-2 with his grand slam, while sophomore Andrew Bennett was 1-for-4 with his grand slam. Sophomore Colton Ledbetter, redshirt junior Towns King and junior Will David all finished with two hits.
Sophomore pitcher Mikey Tepper (1-2) started for MSU and allowed six runs on two hits with three strikeouts and four walks in 2 2⁄3 innings. Sophomore Jackson Fristoe entered in the third inning and allowed two runs on three hits in one-third of an inning. Freshman Cole Cheatham then allowed just four hits and fanned four batters in three scoreless innings before senior Drew Talley tossed two hitless innings with three strikeouts.
Freshman Will Lynch started the game on the mound for Samford, tossing 4 2⁄3 innings and giving up four runs on six hits with four walks. Junior Alex Goff (5-2) earned the win after pitching 1 1⁄3 hitless innings of relief. Sophomore Carson Hobbs pitched the final 1 1⁄3 innings without allowing a hit to earn his ninth save.
In the bottom of the first inning, King reached first on a walk before Ledbetter singled to left field and junior Stephen Klein drew a walk to load the bases. Hampton cleared the bases with a grand slam to left field to give the blue and red Bulldogs a 4-0 lead.
Ledbetter and Hampton both walked to begin the bottom of the third before David singled to load the bases. Bennett then hit a grand slam to left field to give Samford an 8-0 lead.
MSU plated three runs in the top of the fourth inning to cut the Samford lead to 8-3. James hit a one-out single and stole second. Graduate student Jess Davis then walked before Forsythe singled to load the bases. Yeager followed with a two-RBI single through the left side. Forsythe and Yeager moved up on a wild pitch before senior Luke Hancock’s RBI groundout scored Forsythe.
Sophomore Kellum Clark drew a two-out walk in the top of the fifth inning and scored on an RBI double to center field by James to make it an 8-4 ballgame.
Hines hit a leadoff double in the top of the seventh inning and advanced 90 feet on a flyout. He scored on an RBI fielder's choice from James to cut the deficit to three at 8-5.
Yeager hit a leadoff double down the left-field line in the top of the eighth inning and scored on Hines’ RBI single to end the game’s scoring at 8-6.
MSU will now take on No. 10 Texas A&M in a three-game Southeastern Conference road series beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT at Blue Bell Park on SEC Network+. The series will continue Saturday at 2 p.m. on SEC Network+ before concluding with a noon first pitch on Sunday on SEC Network.