LOS ANGELES – Freshman left-hander Kale Breaux made sure the No. 17 Mississippi State baseball team came out on the right side of another West Coast baseball thriller Saturday afternoon.
Breaux pitched the final inning and got a strikeout and groundout with a runner at third base to end the Bulldogs’ 8-7 victory over No. 20 Southern California in the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic at Dedeaux Field.
MSU (8-3) moved to 1-1 on its first road trip of the season. The Bulldogs fought hard in a 2-1 loss at No. 9 UCLA Friday night. The trip ends with an 11 a.m. CT start against Oklahoma Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
“When you go to another part of the world, getting a win is always good,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “Our kids wanted some things to go our way and they wanted to win the game. The three-run second inning really helped our confidence.”
Friday night, MSU scored in the ninth inning but could not cash in a bases loaded situation to see a six-game winning streak snapped. Saturday, the Trojans (6-4) sent the Bulldogs to the brink before the Maroon and White closed the door.
The offense got going much earlier Saturday with three runs in the second inning. Brent Rooker was hit by a pitch and Nathaniel Lowe doubled to get it going. Reid Humphreys followed with an RBI-single. Elih Marrero then began his first three-hit night with an RBI-single. Hunter Stovall followed with a sacrifice bunt. Luke Alexander then capped the inning’s scoring with an RBI-single.
Southern Cal came right back for a 5-3 lead with four runs in the home half of the third inning. MSU starter Austin Sexton overcame that frame but was lifted in the fifth inning. Sexton allowed seven hits and six runs (all earned) in 4.2 innings of work.
The Bulldogs got Sexton off the hook with four runs of their own in the fourth inning.
Marrero again had a big hand in things with a leadoff single. Stovall walked and Alexander followed with a sacrifice bunt. Jacob Robson followed with an RBI-single. The big blow then came in the form of a three-run home run by Jack Kruger.
The California native now has three of the team’s five home runs, while also collecting his second four-RBI game in the Maroon and White. Kruger had an RBI-groundout in the sixth inning for his team’s final run.
Blake Smith (2-0) worked three innings to get the win. Smith faced 11 batters, while allowing one hit with one strikeout. Zac Houston got the final out of the eighth inning, before Breaux worked through the ninth inning for his first save.
MSU finished with 13 hits. Rooker and Lowe joined Marrero in the multiple hits column as each had two hits.
(From MSU Media Relations)