GAINESVILLE, Fla., – No. 5 Mississippi State raced out to a 9-0 lead on top-ranked Florida in the first three innings and held on for a 10-4 victory on Saturday.
The Bulldogs evened the series and snapped the Gators’ 29-game home winning streak in front of a school record crowd of 6,244.
“We came out and really had some nice, short and efficient swings early in the ball game to get us going,” said MSU coach John Cohen.
MSU (22-9-1, 7-4 SEC) scored four runs in the first inning, two off a double by Reid Humphreys. The Diamond Dogs then plated five in the third from a grand slam by Cody Brown and an RBI triple by Jake Mangum.
State finished with 14 hits led by Nathaniel Lowe going 3-for-4 with a double and Mangum going 3-for-5 with a triple and an RBI. Humphreys was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs, Gavin Collins was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Elih Marrero was 2-for-5.
Ryan Rigby earned the win on the mound to improve to 4-1. Rigby took over for starter Austin Sexton in the fifth inning and pitched the final five frames.
“Rigby comes in the game with the bases loaded and nobody out and gets out of it,” Cohen said. “He gets the one-hopper right back to him and get the 1-2-3 double play and then he strikes a guy out. What an unbelievable job in a tough situation on the road in the SEC against the No. 1 team in the country. That’s pretty darn good competitiveness.”
Rigby allowed one run on four hits with four strikeouts and a walk. Sexton gave up three runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
Florida (29-4, 8-3) had a dozen hits led by Jeremy Vasquez and Jonathan India each going 3-for-4. The Gators scored three of their runs on a home run by Buddy Reed in the third inning.
Alex Faedo suffered the loss, falling to 6-1. Faedo was lifted after five frames after surrendering nine runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts and a walk.
The rubber game is slated for 3 p.m. CT Sunday on SEC Network. Florida will pitch junior left-hander A.J. Puk (1-2, 3.38 ERA) while the Bulldogs have not named a starter.
“We’ve got a chance to win the series against the No. 1 team in the country and what a feat that would be if we could,” Cohen said. “But we’ve put ourselves in that position.”
(From Staff Reports)