Four-run ninth not enough for MSU

John Cohen

John Cohen

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A late rally was not enough as the No. 20 Mississippi State baseball team dropped a 9-7 decision to Kentucky in a Southeastern Conference game played Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Mississippi State scored four times in the ninth thanks to an RBI double by Matt Spruill and back-to-back home runs by Cody Walker (2-run) and Jacob Robson (solo). It was the first back-to-back home runs for MSU since April 13, 2013 against Texas A&M.

Kentucky clinched the weekend series while improving to 15-7 overall and 2-3 in league play. MSU fell to 17-8 and 1-4.

Kentucky never trailed after quickly scoring twice in the first inning. MSU closed within 3-2 before Kentucky put the game away with two runs in the sixth inning and three runs in the seventh inning.

The first inning lead was grabbed on a two-run home run by Ka’ai Tom. The lead grew to 3-0 on an RBI-single by Kyle Barrett.

Matthew Britton started his hot afternoon with a lead-off double in the third inning. After a sacrifice bunt, Robson lined a sacrifice fly. Britton continued his tear in the fifth inning with a home run to right field.

MSU starter Austin Sexton (3-1) was then lifted during the Kentucky two-run sixth inning. Sexton pitched 5.1 innings, allowing five hits and four runs (all earned), with four strikeouts and four walks. Myles Gentry, Daniel Brown, Zac Houston, Paul Young and Levi Mintz followed.

Brown was touched for four hits and three unearned runs in 1.1 innings of relief.

An RBI-double by Greg Fettes was the big blow in the Kentucky sixth inning. Evan White followed with an RBI-single off Brown.

The Bulldogs drew closer when Wes Rea walked, Reid Humphreys doubled and Ryan Gridley hit an RBI-groundout in the seventh inning.

Kentucky came right back with an RBI-double by Dorian Hairston and an RBI-single by Connor Heady being the big blows in a three-run seventh inning.

MSU finished with nine hits, including multi-hit games by Gavin Collins and Britton. The Bulldogs made the game’s only error but stranded only four base runners.

Leadoff man Kyle Barrett had four of Kentucky’s 12 hits. Riley Mahan added two hits. Dustin Beggs (3-2) threw six innings to pick up the win, while Spencer Jack got the game’s final out for his third save.

The series concludes with a noon CT start Sunday.

(From MSU Media Relations)

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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