NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mississippi State turned clutch hitting and brilliant relief pitching into another big road win in the Southeastern Conference Saturday night.
A two-run single by Jake Mangum and two dominant innings of relief by Noah Hughes lifted No. 15 MSU past No. 2 Vanderbilt 5-4 to clinch the Bulldogs’ first series win in Nashville since 2002.
MSU won the series opener 2-1 in 13 innings Friday night. The Bulldogs clinched the series by rallying from 1-0 and 4-3 deficits. All five runs by the Bulldogs came with two outs.
“You can’t say enough about Jake Mangum,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “In the last seven or eight at-bats, he has come through for us in a number of different ways. He just doesn’t swing and miss. He puts so much pressure on the defense.”
MSU improved to 14-5-1 overall and 2-0 in league play, while Vanderbilt fell to 16-3 and 0-2. The Bulldogs have handed the Commodores their first two home losses this season.
Junior right-hander Austin Sexton drew the start and gave the Bulldogs a chance. Sexton was lifted after 118 pitches when VU started the seventh inning with a walk and go-ahead two-run home run by Bryan Reynolds.
Kale Breaux (1-1) completed the seventh inning to earn the win. Hughes was dominant while earning his first save. The freshman right-hander struck out two and faced one past the minimum in two innings of work.
“Our relief pitchers were great,” Cohen said. “Austin gave us all he had in the start. We probably left him out there too long. We wanted him to face (Reynolds) because we felt like we were in a position to get a double play ball. Kale gave us a clean inning. Noah showed you why he is going to be special.”
MSU built a 2-1 lead on a two-run home run by Reid Humphreys. The lead grew to 3-1 in the fifth inning on an RBI-single by Gavin Collins. In the eighth inning, Nathaniel Lowe singled, Jack Kruger walked and Ryan Gridley reached as a hit batsman before Mangum’s game-winner.
MSU finished with nine hits, including multiple hits by Gridley.
Vanderbilt finished with eight hits. Reynolds had three RBIs, while Alonzo Jones had two hits. Hayden Stone (0-1) took the loss.
The series finale is at 1 p.m. Sunday and will be available on SEC Network +.
(From MSU Media Relations)