STARKVILLE, Miss. — The No. 9 Mississippi State baseball team outhit No. 4 Georgia 19-6 in a big 19-3 win Friday evening at Dudy Noble Field.
With the win MSU improves to 34-9 (11-8 SEC), while conference-leading Georgia Bulldogs fall to 33-10 (13-6 SEC).
Redshirt-junior southpaw Ethan Small (5-1) was impressive through six innings of work, allowing two ones (one earned) on two hits. He fanned 11 batters and surrendered one walk.
Of the 19 team hits, sophomore Tanner Allen, senior Jake Mangum and sophomore Justin Foscue led the way with three hits apiece. Allen led the Dawgs with four RBIs, while sophomore Jordan Westburg and junior Dustin Skelton both chipped in with three RBIs.
MSU scored four runs in the second inning, one in the fourth, four in the fifth, five in the sixth and three in the seventh. Georgia scored a run in the first inning, a run in the sixth inning and a run in the ninth inning.
After a strikeout began the top of the first inning, redshirt-sophomore Riley King was Georgia's first base runner after he reached on a fielding error. Junior Aaron Schunk brought him home with an RBI double down the left field line to give Georgia a 1-0 lead.
MSU answered with four runs in the second inning to take the lead for good. Foscue got things going with a one-out double to center field. He then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Sophomore Rowdey Jordan followed with an RBI single through the right side to tie things up at 1-1. Jordan then advanced to second on a wild pitch before senior Marshall Gilbert drew a walk. Junior Gunner Halter’s single to center field scored Jordan, while a throwing error moved Halter to second and Gilbert to third. Mangum was then intentionally walked to load the bases. One run scored on a wild pitch before a bases-loaded walk scored the fourth run of the inning.
Halter began the fourth inning off with a single through the left side, but was out at second on a fielder’s choice that allowed Mangum to reach first safely. Back-to-back singles from Westburg and Allen scored Mangum to add one to State’s lead.
The Diamond Dawgs added four more runs to their lead in the fifth inning on just one hit to make it a 9-1 ballgame. Jordan led off with a walk before a sacrifice bunt moved him to second. Halter then drew a walk before a wild pitch put runners on second and third. Mangum was again intentionally walked to load the bases. Three runs scored on the next play when Westburg hit a three-RBI double. He then advanced to third on the throw. Allen drew a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Westburg also scored on the wild pitch.
A home run to right field from Georgia’s LJ Talley made it a 9-2 game, but MSU answered with five runs in its half of the sixth to push the lead to 14-2. A walk and hit batter put Foscue and Jordan on base to begin the inning. Skelton cleared the bases with a three-run homer to right field. Two more runs scored in the inning on a two-RBI single to first base from Allen.
Three more runs came across to score for State in the seventh inning to grow the Diamond Dawg lead to 17-2. Foscue doubled to left center to begin the inning, which was followed by a walk from Jordan. Freshman Luke Hancock came in to pinch hit and came through with an RBI double to left center. A ground out platted another run before pinch hitter Landon Jordan batted in a run with an RBI single up the middle.
The Diamond Dawgs scored two more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Allen led off with a double to right field. Freshman Brad Cumbest hit a double of his own to score him before moving to third on a passed ball and scoring on a ground out.
Georgia scored a run in the ninth inning after sophomore Cole Tate doubled and came around to score on an RBI single from redshirt-freshman Chaney Rogers, but that was all as MSU took the opening game of the three-game series.
Freshman Brandon Smith, freshman Bryce Brock and redshirt-junior Spencer Price each pitched an inning of relief. Smith struck out two in a perfect inning, while Brock allowed no runs on two hits and struck out two. Price allowed the one run in the ninth on two hits and a walk.
Sophomore CJ Smith (3-3) was charged with the Georgia loss after allowing eight runs, all earned, on eight hits. He struck out three batters and surrendered eight walks.
The middle game is scheduled for Saturday at noon and will be televised by SEC Network.