STARKVILLE – Mississippi State hopes the rain didn’t dampen their bats.
The Bulldogs were leading Alabama 7-3 on Saturday night when the game was suspended due to rain and lightning after five innings. The game is scheduled for completion at noon today, and a seven-inning Game 3 will follow.
MSU picked up where it left off Friday night, when it scored seven runs over the final two innings in a 10-8 loss. The Bulldogs exploded for seven runs in the first inning Saturday in a frame that lasted 42 minutes – the same length of the first inning of Game 2 against Kentucky, a 22-17 loss.
Leadoff man Grant Hogue opened it with a double off Alabama starter Del Howell, and he was driven in by Scott DeLoach’s single.
State (21-25, 6-16 SEC) had five hits and sent 11 batters to the plate during the inning, which was highlighted by Jason Nappi’s no-out, three-run double to make it 5-2. This was Nappi’s third SEC start of the season, and his first since April 18 against Kentucky.
Connor Powers had an RBI double on a line drive that lodged itself between the outfield wall padding in left. Jet Butler also had an RBI, and Hogue capped the scoring with a run-scoring groundout.
Howell quickly settled down, allowing just two hits after the first inning.
MSU starter Nick Routt, a freshman, stands to earn the win if State holds the lead. He yielded seven hits, striking out six and walking one. He threw 101 pitches.
It was better than his last outing, when Vanderbilt touched him for nine runs – five earned – in seven innings last weekend.
MSU coach John Cohen did not say who will take the hill for MSU today when play resumes. Tyler Whitney (2-4, 5.02 ERA) will start the finale against Alabama’s Adam Scott (2-1, 4.08).
Leadoff hitter Taylor Dugas had two hits for Alabama (31-15, 13-9), which got six of its hits over the first two innings. Dugas scored on Ross Wilson’s first-inning double, and Wilson then scored on a Kent Matthes single.
Bama added another run in the second when Alex Kubal’s fielder’s choice scored Clay Jones.
MSU is looking to win its second SEC series of the season and keep alive faint SEC Tournament hopes.
Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal