KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Mississippi State could not hold a ninth-inning lead in its baseball season finale Saturday afternoon.
Tennessee scored three times in the bottom of the ninth inning to pull out a 3-2 victory, completing a three-game Southeastern Conference series sweep at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
With the win, Tennessee clinched the final spot in next week’s Southeastern Conference tournament. The Volunteers improved to 24-25 overall and 11-18 conference play, while MSU finished 24-30 and 8-22 in conference play.
The Bulldogs dropped their final six and eight of their last nine conference games.
“It’s disappointing because Austin (Sexton) threw really well,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “We had some good at-bats and hit some balls hard. It’s like our kids almost expect something bad to happen. This club was not the club we wanted it to be.
“As coaches now, we work on next year and start putting together the type of club we want to be. We need to bring some great competitors into our program. That is the hardest thing to figure out during the recruiting process.”
Sexton had a brilliant start for the Bulldogs. Sexton threw 6.1 innings, allowing four hits and no runs, with three strikeouts and two walks. He left in a scoreless game but with the Volunteers threatening in the seventh inning.
Zac Houston worked the squad out of the seventh inning.
MSU then broke on top with two runs in the eighth inning.
Wes Rea led off the inning with a home run. After a fly out, John Holland had a one-out single. Cody Brown followed with an RBI-double down the left field line.
Houston started the ninth inning but hit the first batter he faced. Ross Mitchell (3-4) entered for his 100th and final career appearance wearing the Maroon and White.
Another hit batsman followed and a bunt single by A.J. Simcox loaded the bases. A two-run single by Andrew Lee tied the contest. After another walk, Chris Hall singled for the game-winning run.
MSU finished with 10 hits. Matthew Britton and Brown each had three hits.
Tennessee finished with seven hits. Simcox and Jordan Rodgers each had two hits for the Volunteers. Lee (4-1) entered after the Rea home run and picked up the pitching win.
(From MSU Media Relations)