Mississippi State knocks off Southern Miss 13-5

Mississippi State and Southern Miss met in a mid-week contest that held more than a little significance for each team. The Bulldog entered the game ranked as high as #5 in the national polls, while the red hot Golden Eagles arrived at Trustmark Park riding an eight game winning streak against programs from the Southeastern Conference.

Mississippi State got on the board first thanks in large part to an inning opening triple from center fielder Jacob Robson. Robson scored on a Jake Mangum ground out, but the home standing Bulldogs had the early lead, 1-0.

Southern Miss hurler Mason Walley would struggle in the early going allowing three hits, but surrendered just the lone first inning run despite the Bulldogs loading the bases with two outs.

The Golden Eagles would tie the score at 1 thanks to a fourth inning solo home run from designated hitter Tracy Hadley. Before giving up that blast, Bulldog starter Konnor Pilkington had retired seven in a row.

"I was really pleased with how Konnor Pilkington came out and threw the baseball tonight," Mississippi State head coach John Cohen said. "We knew that if we just shoved the ball in the strike zone that we were going to have a successful day.

"Nine innings of baseball was exactly what we needed."

Southern Miss would add two more safeties and Pilkington's night was over. Ryan Rigby enter the game with an 0-2 count on Chase Scott who struck out in his first plate appearance. This time with runners on, Scott scratched out an infield hit and the Golden Eagles took the lead as Taylor Braley trotted home with the second Southern Miss run of the inning.

Mississippi State would answer plating four in the bottom of four. Ryan Gridley would chase home a run on a safety squeeze and John Holland would score from second on a Jacob Robson infield hit that the Southern Miss first baseman would struggle with.

The big blow came when Nathaniel Lowe dumped a Cody Livingston pitch into no man's land along the left field line plating two more Bulldogs.

"I was just glad that if fell in," Lowe said. "I was pretty frustrated, because I didn't hit it that well. It worked out tonight."

Livingston would give way to Austin Millet, but not before the Bulldogs ran the lead out to 5-2.

After Southern Miss took their short lived lead, Ryan Rigby retired the next five Golden Eagles he faced before Tim Lynch ended that streak of good fortune with his third single on the evening.

Rigby would get back on track and retire the next two Eagle hitters with a fly out to Robson and a ground ball to Collins who took the short route to second to retire Lynch on a force out.

In the Bulldogs half of the sixth, the Bulldogs would find some two out magic again scoring a pair or runs thanks to an RBI double from Reid Humphreys and a solid shot to left by Elih Marrero that chased home the 8th run of the game for Mississippi State.

Southern Miss would get to Bulldog reliever Vance Tatum in the top of seven. The Golden Eagles would score three and cut the State lead down to 8-5.  That half of the inning began with an error on Bulldog short stop Ryan Gridley and things never seem to settle again until after a mound visit from Coach John Cohen. Tatum would pitch out of it without any further damage.

The Bulldogs would answer in the bottom of seven. Ryan Gridley started the inning with a redeeming single in the opening at bat of the frame and later score on a wild pitch.

Reid Humphreys came through with another clutch two out hit driving in Lowe to bring the score to 10-5 Mississippi State.

State would tack on three more runs to make the final score 13-5.

Bulldog designated hitter Reid Humphreys would pitch extremely well in the final two innings limiting Southern Miss to just one base runner.

Bulldog reliever Ryan Rigby was the pitcher of record and improved his record to 3-0 on the season.

"I have confidence in my defense," Rigby said in the post game. "All I have to do is pour it in the strike zone. I know my middle infield is going to make a play for me every time. "It is pretty easy when you have a defense behind you like that."

The Bulldogs are now 18-7-1 and headed home to face of arch-rival Ole Miss in a huge weekend series. Mississippi State is currently ranked 12th in the coaches poll and the Rebels 11th.

"We're the best team in the country," Lowe said. "We think that every time we step on the field. We showed that tonight. There are some thing we can work and do better, but we 're glad we could put those runs up tonight and get this win."

Gene's Page Top Stories