By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – One bad inning kept Mississippi State from having a great weekend.
Florida scored eight times in the fifth inning and avoided a sweep with an 8-3 win over MSU in front of 7,660 at Dudy Noble Field on Sunday.
The eight runs were the most given up in an inning by MSU pitching this season.
“We wanted to get that sweep to get us back on track,” shortstop Adam Frazier said. “We’ll take the positive, we got the series.”
Florida (15-18, 5-7 SEC) had scored only three runs over the first two games of the series. MSU took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, just as it had on Saturday, and starter Jacob Lindgren was cruising along.
The Gators finally got to the sophomore with three consecutive singles to start the fifth. Lindgren, making his first appearance in over two weeks because of elbow soreness, slipped and twisted his right ankle while fielding Harrison Bader’s bunt single.
So MSU (26-9, 5-7) brought in right-hander Myles Gentry, and left-handed pinch hitter Connor Mitchell, a .190 batter entering the game, laced a three-run triple past first base for a 3-2 Florida lead.
“He was going to the bathroom, we had to yell in there to get him out here,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “It was a big at-bat. They went to the sidearmer; it was the right matchup.”
Florida sent 12 batters to the plate, and Josh Tobias had a two-run double to cap the frame. Lindgren (2-1) was charged with three runs on four hits.
Gators pitcher Johnny Magliozzi (3-1), normally the closer, made his first start of the season, allowing three runs on five hits in 52⁄3 innings. He settled in after the rough first inning.
“He changed speeds, started using a changeup,” Frazier said. “His change-up’s pretty good, and I guess that kind of got us off-balance.”
MSU takes on rival Ole Miss on Tuesday in Pearl in the annual Governor’s Cup game.