MOBILE, Ala. – Mississippi State found its rhythm again Tuesday night.
The 17th-ranked Bulldogs put the cap on a road swing full of some near-misses with a hard-fought 6-4 win over South Alabama in a college baseball contest played at Stanky Field.
MSU finished the road swing with a modest 2-2 mark after a disappointing Southeastern Conference series loss at Arkansas over the weekend.
The Bulldogs (24-8) secured victory Tuesday night when Wes Rea connected for a game-winning two-run single in the top half of the ninth inning.
Perhaps the story of the night was the quality start from Brandon Woodruff. Battling back from injury, the sophomore right-hander allowed three hits and one run (earned) in six innings of work. Woodruff struck out four and walked none.
“Woodruff’s pitching was the highlight of the night,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “He challenged the hitters and kept it in the strike zone.”
The Bulldogs erased an early 1-0 deficit with a single score in the fourth inning, two scores in the fifth inning and a single score in the sixth inning.
MSU tied the contest at 1-all on a balk call in the fourth inning. A Hunter Renfroe double started the big fifth inning. A wild pitch scored one run, while an RBI-groundout by Brett Pirtle scored the other. Another USA error scored the game’s fourth run for the Bulldogs in the sixth inning.
“We hit a lot of balls pretty well,” Cohen said. “And Rea came through with a big at-bat. The show of MSU fans from the coast was impressive. The players and the staff appreciate the great support we have from the coast area.”
USA strung together a game-tying three-run seventh inning, thanks in large part to three MSU errors. Myles Gentry started the inning but quickly gave way to eventual winning pitcher Chad Girodo (3-1). Jonathan Holder worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his eighth save.
The sophomore right-hander has now tied Jay Powell for sixth on the all-time MSU saves list with 17 in his career.
MSU finished with seven hits, including a multi-hit night by Renfroe. The junior outfielder saw a 15-game hit streak snapped in Sunday’s loss at Arkansas.
South Alabama (22-8) finished with five total hits off four MSU pitchers. James Traylor (2-3) took the loss.
Southeastern Conference play resumes this weekend when Florida comes to Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs and Gators are scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday (Cox Sports and Comcast Sports Southeast) and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.