FINAL: MSU 11, Tennessee 7

The buzz: Behind a complete game from freshman right-hander Chris Stratton, and some big home runs by Ryan Duffy and Nick Vickerson, MSU evened the series with head coach John Cohen sidelined by a one-game suspension, due to his second ejection of the season Friday night.

MSU at the plate: Duffy had four hits – a three-run homer, a solo homer and a double among them – to go with four RBIs. Connor Powers had three hits, Vickerson had a three-run homer to give State an 8-5 lead in the seventh, and Jaron Shepherd stroked a two-run single in the fifth to tie the game 5-5. Russ Sneed had two hits and two RBIs.

Tennessee at the plate: Charley Thurber, Blake Forsythe and Zach Osborne had two hits apiece. Thurber and Forsythe both had home runs. Osborne and Khayyan Norfork had back-to-back triples in the fifth, when UT scored four times for a 5-2 lead.

MSU on the mound: Stratton (4-3) went the distance, allowing seven runs on eight hits, striking out seven and walking four.

Tennessee on the mound: Starter Stephen McCray was all over the place, plunking five MSU hitters but being fairly effective for the first four innings. He lasted six in all, allowing five runs on eight hits and getting a no-decision. The loss was charged to Nick Blount, who yielded the three-run shot to Vickerson.

Key stats: After giving up four runs in the fifth, Stratton allowed just four hits the rest of the way. He also kept his pitch count down.

Bottom line: Stratton is gonna be good, that we know. He’s not going to be throwing complete games every time out, but the offensive outburst was encouraging. Winning tomorrow would give State just its second SEC series win of the season.

Up next: That rubber match starts at 1:30 p.m. MSU has not decided who will start on the mound. Tennessee will start Steven Gruver (1-2, 5.51).

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