STARKVILLE, Miss. — A late-inning rally from the No. 17 LSU Tigers made it close, but the No. 2 Mississippi State baseball team held on for a 6-5 opening-series win Thursday night at Dudy Noble Field.
With the win the Diamond Dawgs improve to 24-3 (5-2 SEC), while the Tigers fall to 17-9 (4-3 SEC).
LSU scored two runs in the top of the first inning when senior Antoine Duplantis drew a walk and sophomore Daniel Cabrera followed up with a two-run home run to right field. After a scoreless second inning, the Diamond Dawgs scored three runs to take a 3-2 lead. Senior Jake Mangum got the inning going with a double down the left field line. After a pair of outs, senior Elijah MacNamee reached after being hit by a pitch. Sophomore Justin Foscue then hit a three-run homer to left field. It was his eighth home run on the year.
MSU added a run to its lead in the fourth inning after sophomore Josh Hatcher singled and came around to score on an RBI double from sophomore Jordan Westburg. The Dawgs then scored two more runs in the fifth inning on back-to-back home runs from MacNamee and Foscue to take a 6-2 lead. This is the first multi-home run game of Foscue’s career.
LSU began to cut away at the State lead in the eighth inning by scoring three runs on four hits and cutting the defect to just one run at 6-5. The Tigers began the inning with back-to-back singles from Cabrera and freshman Giovanni DiGiacomo. Both runners moved up a base on an out before a ground out scored Cabrera. Freshman CJ Willis then hit an RBI double before coming around to score on an RBI single from senior Chris Reid. Graduate student Cole Gordon then came in to pitch in relief. He got a strikeout to limit the damage to three runs, as the Diamond Dawgs held on for a 6-5 Southeastern Conference win.
State out-hit the Tigers 11-9 in the win. Westburg, Foscue, junior Dustin Skelton and Hatcher all finished with two hits apiece. Foscue led the squad with four RBIs, while Westburg and MacNamee knocked in the other two runs.
Redshirt-junior Ethan Small (3-0) earned the win after pitching five innings, and allowing two earned runs on three hits. He fanned 10 batters and walked four.
Redshirt-junior Trysten Barlow then pitched 1 1⁄3 innings of relief and struck out three batters while allowing just one hit. Senior Jared Liebelt came in to pitch with one out in the seventh inning. He allowed three runs on four hits before getting pulled for Gordon. Gordon allowed one hit and struck out three batters in 1 1⁄3 innings of work. He earned his seventh save on the year.
Junior Zack Hess (2-2) was charged with the LSU loss after allowing six runs—all earned—on 11 hits. He struck out three batters and walked one.
The Diamond Dawgs and Tigers will take the field again Friday for game two of the three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT and will be televised by SEC Network,