By Logan Lowery
LAFAYETTE, La. – Mississippi State’s bid to return to Omaha and the College World Series will have to wait.
The Bulldogs 2014 campaign came to a close Monday night with a 5-3 loss to top-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette in the champion-ship game of the Lafayette Regional.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (57-8) plated three runs in the third inning – two on wild pitches – and made it hold up to advance to host a super regional against Ole Miss this weekend.
MSU walked seven batters, hit three more and uncorked three wild pitches and a passed ball, which led to all five of ULL’s runs.
“You’ve got to spin a good breaking ball and locate pitches,” said MSU coach John Cohen. “What you can’t do is walk people and we walked seven during the course of the game and I felt like that was the whole ballgame.
“You have to play clean baseball to win championships. That’s the way we’re built and it really wasn’t that clean, especially in the third inning.”
State’s Lucas Laster’s evening was over after giving up a RBI single to Jace Conrad and walking three in the third inning to load the bases. The Diamond Dogs went to the bullpen for Jacob Lindgren, but the All-SEC performer uncorked two wild pitches that allowed two more Cajuns to score.
ULL tacked on another run in the fourth on a suicide squeeze before the Bulldogs were able to get on the board in the bottom half on a Wes Rea sacrifice fly.
Mississippi State tacked on two more in the bottom of the seventh on RBI singles by C.T. Bradford and Brett Pirtle to pull within 4-3. But the Diamond Dogs stranded the tying run at third in the inning and the Ragin’ Cajuns tacked on a insurance run in the top of the ninth.
La.-Lafayette finished with seven hits led by Caleb Adams, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Conrad was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Ryan Wilson (6-0) picked up the win going 62⁄3 innings allowing three runs on four hits and four walks with a pair of strikeouts. Matt Plitt picked up his fifth save going the final 21⁄3 shutout frames.
MSU had six hits paced by Pirtle, who was 3-for-5 with an RBI and Bradford, who went 2-for-5 with an RBI.
“It’s a long season and we’ve seen and gone through every situation,” Bradford said. “I felt like we kept our composure and battled back. We ended up coming up a little bit short. But I’m proud of these guys and wouldn’t want to be out there with another group of guys than I was with tonight.”
Laster took the loss in his first decision of the season as the Bulldogs concluded their season at 39-24.