FINAL: MSU 11, No. 4 Kentucky 3 (Game 3)

Recapping MSU’s 11-3 win over No. 4 Kentucky at Dudy Noble Field on Saturday.

The buzz: Well, the Bulldogs certainly finished off the regular season with a flourish, killing Kentucky’s hope of an Eastern Division title and No. 1 SEC Tournament seed. It’s the second SEC sweep of the season for MSU (34-21, 16-14 SEC), which finished with its best league mark in nine years, and first winning one since 2007. UK (41-15, 18-12) was supposed to have an advantage on the mound today with ace Corey Littrell throwing, but he had his worst outing of the season.

Big inning: After taking a 3-2 lead with a three-run fourth, State tacked on five in the fifth. The inning featured four hits and two errors. Trey Porter had an RBI single, while Demarcus Henderson drove in two with a bloop single to make it 8-2.

Key stats: MSU was 6 of 13 with runners in scoring position. Kentucky was 2 of 7. … UK committed three errors, leading to three unearned runs. … MSU committed two errors, leading to two unearned runs.

MSU at the plate: MSU has 14 hits. … Henderson came off the bench to go 2 of 3 with three RBIs. His RBI bunt single in the fourth tied the game at 2-2, and Wes Rea followed with a single for a 3-2 lead. … MSU had three RBI bunts: Henderson, Mitch Slauter and Sam Frost. Slauter was 0 of 4 but had two RBIs and two runs scored. … Frost was 3 of 4 with an RBI. … Adam Frazier was 2 of 4 with two RBIs. … Porter, Rea and Hunter Renfroe also had two hits apiece.

Kentucky at the plate: The Wildcats at eight hits. … Michael Williams had two hits. … For the first time this weekend, UK had no extra-base hits. … Kentucky left six men on base.

MSU on the mound: Reliever Jacob Lindgren (2-2), a freshman, got the win by tossing 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball. He allowed three hits, struck out seven and walked none in his longest career outing. … Starter Evan Mitchell lasted 2 2/3 innings, allowing two unearned runs on three hits, striking out four and walking two. … Caleb Reed got the final three outs, but it wasn’t a save situation.

Kentucky on the mound: Littrell (8-1), who entered the game with a 2.22 ERA, gave up seven runs (five earned) on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked one on 86 pitches (55 strikes). … UK used four relievers.

Bottom line: MSU will play in the second game Tuesday in Hoover as the No. 7 seed, against sixth-seeded Arkansas, which took two of three from the Bulldogs in Starkville this season. This is a much better MSU team than the one the Hogs saw. State has won 11 of its last 15 league games and outscored UK 18-7 on the weekend.

Quotable: “I just want to recognize Mitch Slauter, who I thought called a great game and really kind of got Lindgren where he needed to be. He just coached him through that entire process.” – MSU coach John Cohen

Videos: For Henderson, CLICK HERE; for Lindgren, CLICK HERE; for Slauter, CLICK HERE; for Cohen, CLICK HERE.

Click video to hear audio