FINAL: Tennessee 15, MSU 13

The buzz: A lot of offensive numbers added up to another loss for MSU (17-17, 3-10), which is now tied with Georgia for the league’s worst record. The teams combined for 37 hits, and Tennessee smacked five home runs to take the series opener, which lasted four hours, eight minutes. MSU coach John Cohen was ejected in the bottom of the seventh after arguing a called third strike on Sneed. It being Cohen’s second ejection of the season, he’ll have to sit out Saturday’s game.

MSU at the plate: Senior Luke Adkins led the way with a 5-for-6 night, all singles, and he scored four runs. Russ Sneed had three doubles and four RBIs. Connor Powers had three hits and hit his 10th home run of the season, and first in SEC play, to give MSU a 2-1 lead in the first inning.

Tennessee at the plate: The Volunteers had 22 hits, and eight players had multiple hits. Josh Liles had four hits, while Matt Duffy had five RBIs. His two-run single in the third chased MSU starter Caleb Reed and gave Tennessee a 4-2 lead. Duffy later hit a three-run homer to stretch it to 14-9.

MSU on the mound: In his second career SEC start, Reed lasted but 2.1 innings, giving up five runs (all earned) on nine hits, striking out one and walking none. Reliever Devin Jones (2-2) took the loss with two-thirds of an inning. Senior Tyler Whitney tossed five strong innings of relief, allowing two runs on six hits.

Tennessee on the mound: Starter Bryan Morgado lasted 2.1 innings as well, allowing six runs on six hits, fanning three and walking two. The win belonged to the first UT reliever, Steve Crnkovich (3-1), who allowed four runs on four hits in 3.1 innings. Matt Ramsey got his second save.

Key stats: Tennessee was 7-for-16 with runners in scoring position, and it was set down in order only once all game. MSU stranded 10 runners, but it was 7-for-17 with RISP.

Bottom line: What can you say? The pitching just isn’t there, and nobody has taken hold of that Friday starter’s role. If MSU’s gonna win some games, it’s gonna have to be with the sticks.

Up next: Game 2 is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, with MSU freshman RHP Chris Stratton (3-3, 3.43) facing Tennessee senior RHP Stephen McCray (4-3, 1.99).

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