KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Mississippi State picked up the offensive pace Sunday afternoon, pounding out 11 hits and rallying past Tennessee 10-9 in the final game of a weekend Southeastern Conference baseball series at UT’s Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Bulldogs salvaged the final game of the weekend series, improving to 19-17 overall and 5-10 in conference play. UT saw a three-game win streak snapped, falling to 15-21 and 3-12. The top eight teams advance to the Southeastern Conference Tournament. At the midway mark of league play, the Bulldogs stand two games behind eighth place in the league standings.
MSU again hit the long ball in Sunday’s series finale. After hitting three home runs in the first two games combined, the Bulldogs hit two more Sunday – a game-tying three-run home run by Connor Powers in the fifth inning and then a go-ahead solo blast from Russ Sneed an inning later.
Sneed had three hits in three at-bats, with two runs scored and three RBIs in the game. Ryan Powers ran his hit streak to 13 games, while Connor Powers ran his hit streak to eight games. For Connor Powers, it was his fifth home run in the last six league games and sixth home run in the last eight MSU games overall.
The Bulldogs grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a Ryan Powers’=2 0two-run double.
The Volunteers answered in their half of the inning with an RBI-single by Zach Osborne and a bases-loaded walk.
Tennessee grabbed a 5-2 lead in the third inning when Kentrail Davis slapped a three-run home run to right field. For Davis, it was his fifth home run of the year.
MSU answered in the fifth inning. Grant Hogue started things with a two-out infield bunt. After a walk to Luke Adkins, Connor Powers tied the contest with his team-best 11th home run of the season – a three-run shot over dead center field.
An inning later, Sneed’s sixth home run of the season gave the Bulldogs their second lead in the weekend series.
A sacrifice-fly by Ryan Duffy gave the Bulldogs a 7-6 advantage in the top of the seventh inning. The Volunteers came right back, scoring three runs for a 9-7 lead.
That lead would be short-lived, as the Bulldogs had the final answer Sunday afternoon. With two outs, Scott DeLoach had an infield hit for an RBI single, before Sneed capped his monster day with a two-run single to center field.
Paxton Pace (2-0), the fifth of seven pitchers used by the Bulldogs, earned the win. Pace worked only the seventh inning for the Bulldogs. Jared Wesson began the eighth inning before giving way to Lee Swindle. Swindle retired all four batters he faced, including two by strikeout, to earn his third save.
Forrest Moore started for MSU and was lifted in the third inning. Chad Crosswhite faced two batters, allowing a walk and the home run to Davis. Greg Houston and Drew Hollinghead followed before Pace. Houston worked four innings for the Bulldogs.
The Volunteers also threw seven pitchers. Matt Ramsey (0-2) worked 2/3 of an inning and took the loss. Starting pitcher Ty’Relle Harris threw five innings for the Volunteers.
MSU finished with 11 hits. Hogue and DeLoach joined Sneed as multiple hitters.
UT finished with nine hits, including four by Davis and three by Osborne.
MSU returns to the road Tuesday night for a midweek contest with in-state rival Ole Miss. The teams play at 6:30 p.m. at Trustmark Park in Pearl for the Governor’s Cup. Conference play resumes next weekend with the Bulldogs hosting Kentucky for Super Bulldog Weekend.
Miss. State Media Relations