STARKVILLE, Miss. — After winning the opening game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series with No. 17 LSU on Thursday, the No. 2 Mississippi State baseball team dropped the second game, 10-5, Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU falls to 24-4 (5-3 SEC), while LSU improves to 18-9 (5-3 SEC).
Freshman right-hander JT Ginn (6-1) struggled for the first time in his MSU career. He allowed six runs—five earned—on nine hits in five innings of work. He struck out nine batters and walked two in his first career loss.
LSU took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. A single from senior Antoine Duplantis began the game before junior Josh Smith followed up with a single through the right side to put runners on the corners. Smith stole second, and with two outs senior Chris Reid brought in Duplantis with an RBI single. An MSU error then allowed Smith to score before a single from freshman Giovanni DiGiacomo scored the third run of the inning.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the fourth when the Diamond Dawgs scored two runs to cut the lead to a single run. Senior Jake Mangum got things going with a triple. He then scored on a passed ball to make it 3-1. Sophomore Jordan Westburg then drew a walk. A single from sophomore Tanner Allen put two runners on before senior Elijah MacNamee’s single to first base scored Westburg.
LSU’s Smith drew a leadoff walk in the fifth inning before junior Zach Watson hit a double to put runners on third and second base. A walk to sophomore Daniel Cabrera then loaded the bases. Reid hit a two-RBI single and Cabrera scored on a fielder’s choice to give the Tigers a 6-2 lead. The Dawgs got two runs back in the bottom half of the fifth after junior Gunner Halter doubled down the right field line and Westburg followed up with a two-run home to make it a 6-4 game.
After five innings from Ginn, junior righty Riley Self was called in to pitch the sixth inning. He got two quick outs before allowing a single to Duplantis and back-to-back RBI doubles to Smith and Watson to give the Tigers an 8-4 lead. LSU added another run in the seventh inning when Reid reached on a fielding error, moved to second on another error, and came around to score after a sacrifice bunt moved him to third and a sacrifice fly scored him.
LSU then increased its lead to 10-4 in the ninth inning when Reid was hit by a pitch and DiGiacomo walked to put runners on first and second. Freshman CJ Willis hit a single up the middle to score Reid. After a pop fly began the Dawgs’ half of the ninth, sophomore Josh Hatcher and pinch hitter Brad Cumbest drew back-to-back walks. WIth Mabgum at the plate, a fielder’s choice got Cumbest out at second to put Mangum and Hatcher on the corners. Westburg followed up with an RBI single up the middle. Mangum and Westburg moved up a base on a passed ball, but the threat ended with a ground out to give LSU the 10-5 game two win.
MSU was out-hit 13-8 in the loss. Mangum and Westburg were the only MSU hitters with multi-hit efforts. They both finished with two.
After Self pitched the sixth inning, redshirt-junior Jack Eagan pitched the seventh and allowed one unearned run. Redshirt-junior Spencer Price then pitched a perfect 1 1⁄3 innings before freshman Bryce Brock got the final two outs of the ninth.
LSU freshman Cole Henry (2-1) pitched five innings and allowed four runs on four hits, walked one and struck out nine batters to earn the win.
The Diamond Dawgs and Tigers will be back in action Saturday for a 1 p.m. CT rubber match. It will be televised by SEC Network.