By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Starting pitching remains a trouble spot for No. 25 Mississippi State, but that was overcome by strong relief work and an offensive surge on Tuesday night, in a 13-5 win over Austin Peay at Dudy Noble Field.
Wes Rea’s RBI single broke a 5-5 tie and sparked a three-run seventh inning for MSU (22-6), which only got 11⁄3 innings out of starting pitcher Will Cox but had more than enough offense late in the game.
MSU collected 11 hits and had a season-high eight stolen bases, and it added five runs in the eighth.
“This is a night we needed to score some runs, and we created some situations on a first-and-third play, with a squeeze, putting some guys in motion,” coach John Cohen said.
State got 42⁄3 strong innings from reliever Ross Mitchell, and Myles Gentry (3-0) tossed 22⁄3 shutout innings for the win.
“Those guys really pitched well and extended the game,” Cohen said. “They got a ton of ground balls, which is exactly what we needed.”
Austin Peay (19-5) tied it at 4-4 with two runs in the second, and it stayed that way until MSU’s half of the sixth. Brett Pirtle, who doubled and stole third, swiped home on a double steal. Pitcher Zach Hall threw behind Jacob Robson at first base, but nobody was covering second.
But the Governors answered in the seventh, with Cody Hudson’s RBI fielder’s choice tying it up again.
Trey Porter’s first home run of the season, a two-run blast to right field, highlighted a four-run first inning for MSU. He finished with three RBIs.
MSU visits No. 15 Arkansas in a weekend SEC series.