STARKVILLE – Missouri ace Tanner Houck baffled Mississippi State at the plate for five frames.
But the fourth-ranked Bulldogs were finally able to get to the top-rated 2017 MLB Draft prospect during their third turn through the lineup, rallying with four runs to win 4-3 and take the series against the Tigers.
“(Houck) threw up zeros for five innings and we chipped away in the sixth, seventh and eighth and scored all those runs,” said MSU pitcher Austin Sexton. “Baseball is a game of patience and I think we waited around just enough.”
Sexton had a strong outing on the mound as well, improving to 8-2 on the year. Sexton logged eight innings allowing three runs on four hits and a walk with eight strikeouts.
Trailing 2-0, Sexton worked out of a bases loaded jam with no outs in the top of the sixth inducing a pop out, strikeout and ground out.
“I think after that all the guys were a little excited,” Sexton said. “That’s tough to do with the bases loaded but we made some pitches and some defensive plays. I think the guys kind of rallied around that.”
The Diamond Dogs scratched across a run in the sixth and seventh thanks to three Missouri errors and an RBI double by Nathaniel Lowe. MSU added sacrifice flies in the eighth from Ryan Gridley and John Holland before Daniel Brown was finally able to slam the door in the ninth for his second save.
State (32-14-1, 14-9 SEC) had eight hits led by Lowe and Gavin Collins each going 2-for-4.
The Tigers (24-24, 7-16 SEC) had six hits and Houck was the tough luck loser, falling to 4-5.
The Bulldogs will vie for their first SEC sweep at 4 p.m. today with freshman southpaw Konnor Pilkington (2-1, 2.37 ERA) taking the mound.