State falls in extra innings at South Alabama

John Cohen

John Cohen

MOBILE, Ala. – Ben Gann’s RBI-double in the home half of the 11th inning lifted South Alabama to an 8-7 win over Mississippi State in a college baseball game played Tuesday night at Eddie Stanky Field.

MSU built a 5-0 lead in the first inning. However, after South Alabama tied the contest at seven in the home half of the fifth inning, neither team scored until the Jaguars broke through with the game-winner.

South Alabama improved to 19-10 by winning its fourth game in the last five tries. MSU fell to 19-12. The Bulldogs fell to 1-1 in extra-inning games and suffered a second straight non-conference loss on a Tuesday night.

“We had a five-run lead and Daniel Brown couldn’t find the strike zone for us,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “Ross Mitchell comes in and throws well until the home run. That was a pivotal stretch of the game for us. I thought the kids competed tonight. We really had several chances to win the game.”

After managing three runs in a Southeastern Conference series against Auburn, the Bulldogs did way better than that in the first inning alone Tuesday night.

Cody Brown began his career-best four-hit night with a leadoff double. Jake Vickerson followed with an RBI-single. Gavin Collins and Reid Humphreys followed with back-to-back hits, with Humphreys hit bringing Vickerson across the plate.

Jacob Robson reached on a fielding error to load the bases.

Back-to-back walks to Wes Rea and Ryan Gridley brought home two more runs. A double play ball helped the Jaguars begin to work their way out of the inning but scored another run.

South Alabama answered in its half of the first inning with an RBI-single by Daniel Martinez, while a fielding error brought home another run.

In the second inning, South Alabama chased Daniel Brown while scoring three times to the contest. In relief, Mitchell was touched for a two-run triple by Matt Bolger and a game-tying groundout.

MSU built a 7-5 lead in the fourth inning on a two-run home run by Humphreys – his fifth of the season.

South Alabama answered when Mitchell was touched for a two-run home run by Gann, his first of the season.

From there, Levi Mintz gave the Bulldogs a chance with a career-long 3.2 innings of shutout relief, including three strikeouts. Zac Houston (0-1) worked around two walks in the 10th innings but was done in by two walks and the Gann game-winner an inning later.

“Levi came in and got three swings-and-misses,” Cohen said. “Really, we don’t have a lot of pitchers who can do that this year. That was a concern going into the season. You really need to be able to come in and get those swing and misses. We walked eight batters tonight. You can’t do that.

“You can’t blow a 5-0 lead in the first inning. Some of it was pitching and some of it was defense. We had two mistakes on defense which cost us some runs. We have to compete at a higher level.”

MSU finished with 12 hits. Humphreys and Robson joined Brown as multiple hitters.

South Alabama also finished with 12 hits.  Gann, Bolger, Cole Gleason and Cole Billingsley each had multiple hits. Cody Van Aken (2-1) pitched the final two innings to get the win.

MSU returns home for a three-game Southeastern Conference series with South Carolina. The Bulldogs and Gamecocks will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday (ESPNU), 6:30 p.m. Friday (SEC Network +) and 2 p.m. Saturday (SEC Network +).

(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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