MSU Loses To Georgia 4-3

ATHENS, Ga. – For a second straight day, a big sixth inning lifted the Georgia baseball team to a 4-3 win over 24th-ranked Mississippi State in a Southeastern Conference game played at UGA's Foley Field.

With the victory, Georgia clinches its second straight weekend series. UGA improves to 13-14 overall and 5-3 in conference play, while MSU falls to 19-8 and 4-4. Georgia has now won eight of the past nine series with MSU, including five straight here.

Georgia trailed 1-0 before scoring four times in the home half of the sixth inning Saturday afternoon. With one out, the homestanding Bulldogs strung together four straight hits off MSU starting pitcher Chris Stratton.

Kyle Farmer and Zach Cone began things with back-to-back infield singles. Brett DeLoach then launched a three-run home run – his first of the season – which benefitted from a stiff wind blowing out while barely clearing the left center field fence. Jonathan Hester followed with his third home run of the season – a massive solo shot just left of the extended wall in center field.

The sixth inning looked very similar to Friday night's series opener. In that contest, the teams were tied 1-1 before the hosts scored three times. Kyle Farmer hit a tie-breaking two-run home run in that at-bat for UGA.

"We are competing well in all phases of the game," MSU designated hitter Trey Johnson said. "It's just a matter of playing a complete game and putting everything together. Winning the Sunday game gave us a real big lift at Vanderbilt so hopefully we can come out and get that kind of win tomorrow."

MSU scored first Saturday afternoon. In the fifth inning, Trey Johnson ripped a two-run double off the base of the outfield wall. Jonathan Ogden then went up the middle with an RBI-single.

Staked to the 1-0 lead, Stratton was brilliant until hitting some struggles in the sixth inning. UGA pieced together four consecutive one-out hits to do all of their offensive damage.

In the eighth inning, the Maroon and White drew closer. With one out, Ogden lined a triple over the center fielder's head into the right center gap. Jaron Shepherd grounded out to the first baseman but that play did bring Ogden home for the score.

In the ninth inning, MSU scored again but could not produce a game-tying run. With one out, Jarrod Parks ripped a double to right center. After a pop-up, Cody Freeman lined an RBI-single.

That hit chased UGA starter Michael Palazzone, who was brilliant for the homestanding Bulldogs. Palazzone (4-1) worked 8.2 innings, allowing six hits and three runs (two earned), with three strikeouts and no walks. Tyler Maloof got the final out for his 10th save on the season.

For MSU, Stratton (4-2) worked six innings, allowing seven hits and four runs (all earned), with seven strikeouts and two walks. Tim Statz, Victor Diaz and Caleb Reed followed in relief.

MSU finished with six hits, including a pair of hits by Ogden.

Georgia finished with seven hits. DeLoach and Peter Verdin each multiple hits.

The series finale is set for a 1 p.m. CT start Sunday. MSU is scheduled to start junior left-hander Nick Routt (0-0, 1.29 ERA), while UGA is scheduled to start junior left-hander Craig Gullickson (2-1, 5.21). The Bulldogs then remain on the road for a Tuesday night 6:30 p.m. start against No. 20 Southern Mississippi at Trustmark Park in Pearl.

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