MSU Baseball Drops One-Run Decision at LSU

BATON ROUGE, La. - Mississippi State's first road trip of the baseball season served up another heart-breaker Saturday night as the 21st-ranked Bulldogs dropped a 4-3 decision to No. 10 LSU in Southeastern Conference action at Alex Box Stadium.

With the victory, LSU clinched its sixth straight series win from MSU. The Tigers have won 11 of the past 13 contests played against the Bulldogs.

"We are real pleased with the pitching part of it right now," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "Offensively, we have too many guys (offensively) trying to do too much right now. LSU has gotten situational hits each of these two games and we haven't."

LSU scored twice in the bottom half of the tenth inning to post a 3-2 victory in Friday's series opener. The Tigers are now 16-3 overall and 2-0 in league play, while the Bulldogs are now 14-7 and 0-2. On its first road trip of the season, the Bulldogs have lost all four, with three of those defeats coming by a single run.

"Right now, we are trying to do too much," Cohen said. "We have guys wrestling with the bat. It is just not happening for us right now. We have to get better. The kids are really competing their tails off.

"The SEC isn't forgiving. It does not care if you are playing hard or playing with emotion. All of the league cares about is whether you won or lost. We have young guys and we have to get them playing at a higher level. We have the talent to do it. We just have to find a way." The Bulldogs had another solid pitching performance. Starting pitcher Nick Routt (1-2) was lifted with two outs in the fourth inning. Routt allowed two hits and three runs (all earned), with three strikeouts and a pair of walks.

In relief, Evan Mitchell completed the four-hitter. Mitchell allowed two hits and one run (earned), with seven strikeouts and three walks.

"Evan really gave us a lift," Cohen said. "He competed and gave us a chance. We have pitched both of these games very well. The margin of error is very small in this league. We haven't caught any breaks, either."

MSU had its best scoring chance in the ninth inning. The Bulldogs loaded the bases with nobody out but managed only a single run on a sacrifice fly by Demarcus Henderson. Already with four hits in the contest, Trey Porter struck out to end the contest.

"Trey is up there in his last at-bat trying to hit the ball to the moon," Cohen said. "As coaches, we have to work on getting him to calm down. That was a failure on my part. We had several players in the last at-bat trying to do too much. You just have to remain patient and do you part to get the barrel of the bat where it needs to be."

LSU built a 2-0 lead in the first inning. The Bulldogs answered with an RBI-single from Porter in the third inning. Down 4-1, the Bulldogs scored again in the eighth inning on a solo home run by Porter.

The Bulldogs stranded nine base runners and hit into four double plays.

"On three of those doubles play, we had the hit-and-run on and we fouled off a pitch," Cohen said. "It is hard to hit-and-run more than one time in at-bat. Those are some of the breaks working against us right now."

The Bulldogs finished with 10 hits, including Porter's first four-hit night in the Maroon and White.

Tyler Hanover had two hits for LSU. Starting pitcher Ryan Eades (4-1) worked seven innings for the win, while Nick Goody threw the ninth inning for his second save.

The series finale is at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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