STARKVILLE, Miss. — The No. 12 Mississippi State baseball team began the Starkville Regional with an 8-4 win over Samford on Friday at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU (41-15) cranked out 11 hits and had four players record multiple hits. Junior Luke Hancock finished with three hits and three RBIs, while senior Rowdey Jordan finished with three hits and three runs. Senior Tanner Allen added an RBI on two hits and freshman Kellum Clark also added two hits.
Samford (35-23) recorded seven hits and finished with three home runs.
MSU sophomore starting pitcher Will Bednar (7-1) surrendered a home run on the first pitch of the game before settling in and striking out eight batters in seven innings pitched. He allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits with one walk.
Junior starting pitcher Samuel Strickland (5-4) was charged with the loss for Samford after allowing six runs (three earned) on eight hits in five innings pitched. He fanned one batter and walked one.
On the first pitch of the game, junior Max Pinto smashed a home run to right field to give Samford a 1-0 lead. MSU answered with a run in the bottom half when Jordan hit a leadoff double to right field and scored on a groundout to tie things at 1-1.
MSU added three runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a 4-1 lead. After junior Brad Cumbest reached on a fielding error, Clark singled through the right side to put runners on the corners. Freshman Lane Forsythe then reached on a fielder’s choice before Jordan singled to load the bases. A bases-loaded walk plated one run before Hancock scored two runs with a single through the right side.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Jordan hit a one-out double down the left-field line and stole third base. Allen brought him home with an RBI groundout to make it a 5-1 ballgame.
Samford managed to cut the deficit to two runs in the top of the fifth inning. Sophomore Kaiden Drier led off with a home run to left-center field before sophomore Will David reached on a fielding error with one out. Senior Taylor Garris followed with a double. A sacrifice fly plated David to make it 5-3.
Cumbest led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a double to left field. A lineout moved him to third before Forsythe’s sacrifice fly increased the MSU lead to 6-3.
MSU tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Maroon and White an 8-3 lead. Allen led off with a single before sophomore Kamren James was hit by a pitch. Hancock scored Allen with an RBI single through the right side, while James scored on a sacrifice fly.
In the top of the eighth inning, sophomore Sonny DiChiara hit a home run to left field to end the game’s scoring at 8-4.
MSU will now face the winner of the VCU and Campbell game on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT. The game will be streaming on ESPN3.