BATON ROUGE, La. – Mississippi State junior first baseman Nathaniel Lowe hit a grand slam and drove in six runs as the No. 11 Bulldogs beat No. 7 LSU 12-8 in the opening game of a three-game Southeastern Conference baseball series Friday night at Alex Box Stadium.
“Our kids just kept battling,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “They knew going in we were going to have score some runs in this game. A lot of lesser teams would have given up when you are in foreign territory and give up a grand slam.
“Dakota (Hudson) really gutted it out for us. He kept eating innings. Reid (Humphreys) was great. Our two-out hitting was great. We will play defense better than this in the future. However, we made some plays that we had to have.”
MSU improved to 26-12-1 overall and 9-7 in league play, while LSU fell to 26-12 and 9-7. The teams are tied for second place in the Western Division standings. MSU won a series opener for the fourth time in six conference series this season.
The Bulldogs built a 4-0 lead in the first inning.
Jake Mangum singled, Humphreys walked and Brent Rooker reached on the first of three LSU errors. Lowe followed with his third home run of the year – a line drive grand slam over the right field wall to start a three-hit night.
LSU pulled even with two runs in both the second and third innings off Hudson.
In the sixth inning, Lowe and Jack Kruger started things with back-to-back singles. After a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Gridley, Hunter Stovall had a two-out, two-run double. Gavin Collins followed with an RBI-double to stretch the MSU lead to 7-4.
In the seventh inning, Kruger lined a sacrifice fly and Gridley continued the two-out hitting theme with a critical RBI-single for a 9-4 lead.
Hudson (5-3) then gave way to Ryan Rigby in the LSU seventh inning. In 6.1 innings of work, Hudson allowed 12 hits and seven runs (all earned).
Rigby was touched for a grand slam by LSU’s Antoine Duplantis to bring the Tigers back within 9-8. With the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning, Rigby then gave way to Humphreys, who retired all four batters he faced for his fourth save.
In the eighth inning, the Bulldogs plated three insurance scores on an RBI-single by Rooker and two-run double by Lowe.
MSU finished with 13 hits. Mangum and Rooker joined Lowe as multiple hitters, as each had two hits.
LSU also finished with 13 hits. Duplantis had two hits and five RBIs. Kramer Robertson, Chris Reid and Bryce Jordan each had two hits. Jared Poche’ (5-4) pitched six innings, while taking the loss.
The series resumes at 6 p.m. Saturday in a game nationally televised by ESPNU. The noon series finale Sunday will be aired on ESPN2.
(From MSU Media Relations)