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No. 5 Diamond Dawgs Split Doubleheader with No. 4 Gators, Claim SEC Series Win

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Dawgs win their SEC series opener.

Hail State Pics/Mississippi State Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The No. 5 Mississippi State baseball team split a Southeastern Conference doubleheader with No. 4 Florida at McKethan Stadium Saturday night, as the Diamond Dawgs (18-2, 2-1 SEC) claimed the first game of the day, 10-5, before dropping a 4-2 decision to the Gators (15-7, 1-2 SEC) in the second game.

GAME 1 – No. 5 Mississippi State 10, No. 4 Florida 5

In game one, the MSU offense got rolling early, as senior Jake Mangum hit a leadoff home run to open the game. Sophomore Tanner Allen then hit a home run in the fourth inning to make it 2-0. The Dawgs added another run in the fifth inning after junior Gunner Halter doubled and came around to score on a Mangum double.

Stated added two more runs in the top of the sixth on a home run by senior Elijah MacNamee and an RBI single by sophomore Josh Hatcher. The Gators then added a run in their half of the sixth on an RBI single from junior Austin Langworthy to make it a 5-1 ballgame.

State then added two more runs in the top of the seventh inning. Mangum hit a leadoff double before coming around to score on a double from sophomore Jordan Westburg. Westburg then scored on an RBI single from sophomore Justin Foscue. Florida got three runs in the bottom half of the seventh to make it 7-4. The first three hitters reached base, with a pair of singles to start the frame. With two on and no outs, sophomore Brady McConnell’s ground-rule double scored two runs. Freshman Kendrick Calilao then drove in the third run of the inning after he singled.

The Dawgs scored three more insurance runs in the top of the ninth to lead 10-4. Allen and MacNamee began the inning with a single and double, respectively. Both runners scored on a Gator error before junior Dustin Skelton’s double plated the final run. The Gators scored a run in the final frame after freshman Kris Armstrong homered, but the Dawgs took the first game, 10-5.

MSU collected 17 hits in the win compared to Florida’s 11. Mangum and MacNamee led the team with three hits apiece, while Allen, Foscue and Hatcher all had two-hit performances.

Freshman JT Ginn (5-0) earned the win after throwing 6 13 innings. He fanned 11 batters for his first career double-digit strikeout game. He surrendered 10 hits and gave up four runs.

Junior right-hander Jared Liebelt entered the game in the seventh with a runner on first and one out. He threw the final 2 2/3 innings to earn his second save of the season. He allowed one run on the ninth-inning home run and struck out one batter.

Sophomore Jack Leftwich (4-1) was charged with the Gator loss after tossing 5 13 innings and allowing five runs on seven hits. He struck out six batters.

GAME 2 – No. 5 Mississippi State 2, No. 4 Florida 4

MSU got off to a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning after Hatcher doubled and later scored on a Westburg double to left center.

The Gators then grabbed the momentum with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 3-1 lead. Senior Nelson Maldonado led the inning off with a double before moving to third on a single and scoring on a balk. A double from Armstrong and a single by sophomore Brady Smith scored the other two runs. Florida then got a run in the fifth off of a solo home run from Maldonado to take a 4-1 lead.

The Dawgs got a run back in the seventh after Halter hit an RBI single, but that was all, as the Dawgs snapped their 14 game winning streak.

Hatcher and MacNamee had two hits apiece in the contest.

Senior Keegan James (2-1) tossed 3 23 innings in the loss. He allowed three runs, all earned, on six hits. He struck out three batters and walked two.

Florida’s Tyler Dyson (3-0) threw a solid six innings while earning the win. He allowed two earned runs on six hits and struck out a batter, He also walked one.

MSU will be back in action on Tuesday when the Dawgs host Little Rock at Dudy Noble Field. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT and will be televised by the SEC Network.