STARKVILLE, Miss. — A 3-3 tie game turned into a blowout loss for the Mississippi State baseball team Saturday night at Dudy Noble Field as the Bulldogs gave up six runs in the ninth inning and fell 9-3 to the Florida Gators.
With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 25-22 (9-14 SEC), while the Gators improve to 28-18 (10-13 SEC) and claim a series win.
MSU was outhit 11-8, with junior Logan Tanner and graduate student RJ Yeager leading the Bulldogs with two hits apiece. Florida was led by freshmen Jac Caglianone and Ty Evans, who both finished with two hits, three RBIs and one run. Sophomores Wyatt Langford and Sterlin Thompson added two hits and two runs apiece.
Junior pitcher Preston Johnson started for the Bulldogs and allowed three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and five walks in five innings of work. Freshman Pico Kohn then tossed two hitless innings before junior KC Hunt (2-3) entered in the eighth inning. Hunt was charged with the loss after allowing six runs on five hits with two strikeouts and four walks in 1 2⁄3 innings.
Freshman pitcher Brandon Neely started for the Gators and went four innings, allowing two runs on four hits, fanning seven batters and walking four. Florida’s fourth pitcher of the game, redshirt freshman Ryan Slater (3-3), got the win after pitching 2 1⁄3 scoreless innings with two strikeouts and one walk.
In the top of the first inning, Langford led off with a double to center field. Thompson and junior Jud Fabian drew walks to load the bases before junior BT Riopelle scored Langford with a sacrifice fly to give Florida a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the first, Yeager drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A single up the middle by senior Luke Hancock put runners on the corners before Tanner’s RBI single tied the game at 1-1.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Bulldogs took a 2-1 lead. Freshman Hunter Hines drew a leadoff walk and moved up to second on a groundout. Sophomore Kellum Clark followed with an RBI double down the right-field line.
Langford led off the top of the fifth with a single up the middle before Thompson drew a walk. After back-to-back strikeouts, Caglianone hit a two-RBI double to left-center field to put the Gators in front at 3-2.
Yeager hit his second double of the game in the bottom of the seventh inning and junior Kamren James followed with a single through the right side to put runners on the corners. Hancock then grounded into a double play, which scored Yeager to tie the game at 3-3.
The top of the ninth inning began with a single by Thompson. After a strikeout, Riopelle drew a walk and Caglianone followed with an RBI double to left field. After sophomore Josh Rivera was intentionally walked, junior Kendrick Calilao hit a two-RBI double down the right-field line. A fielder’s choice followed before Evans hit a three-run homer down the right-field line to give Florida a 9-3 win.
MSU will look to avoid being swept by the Gators on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.