Bulldogs Drop Series Opener at Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Mississippi State found limited offensive success Friday night, as the Bulldogs dropped a 6-1 decision to Tennessee in a Southeastern Conference baseball game played at UT's Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

With the victory, the Volunteers improve to 14-20 overall and 2-11 in conference play. UT snapped a nine-game losing streak in league play with the victory. The Bulldogs fall to 18-16 and 4-9.

The Tennessee pitching duo of Aaron Tullo and Bryan Morgado proved too much for the Bulldogs. Tullo worked his standard five innings for a fourth time this season. In that time, the junior right-hander allowed two hits and one run, with four strikeouts and a walk. Bryan Morgado took care of things from there. The hard-throwing sophomore left-hander allowed two hits and no runs, with eight strikeouts and two walks. Morgado struck out the side in the ninth inning to close out the contest.

Tullo moved to 2-4 with the win, while Morgado earned his first save of the season and the Volunteers' third. MSU also had a strong pitching performance from Tyler Whitney. The junior left-hander allowed 11 hits and six runs (all earned), with five walks and five strikeouts. Whitney fell to 2-3, while falling an out short of his second complete game in conference play.

The Volunteers opened the scoring with an unearned run in the first inning. UT scored on an RBI-single by Cody Grisham, which plated Josh Liles, who had reached on a two-base error to open the ballgame.

MSU answered in the third inning when Ryan Powers hit his second home run of the season. Powers' line drive shot over left center extended the MSU shortstop's hit streak to 11 straight games.

The Volunteers took the lead right back with single scores in the third and fourth innings. UT then put the contest away with a two-run home run from Liles - his eighth of the season - in the sixth inning and a solo shot from Zach Osborne in the eight inning - his first career home run at UT.

After five straight games with double-digit hits, the Bulldogs only managed four hits Friday night. Connor Powers doubled and was stranded in the fourth inning. Jet Butler doubled but was picked off in the seventh inning. A Grant Hogue single was the other MSU hit.

Liles, Grisham and Tyler Horne had multiple hits for the Volunteers.

MSU and UT resume the series with noon CT starts on Saturday and Sunday. Both of those contets will be televised regionally by SportSouth.

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