No. 20 Miss. St. Salvages Series, Avoids Sweep
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The 20th ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs got two home runs and five RBI from Reid Humphreys, and used a six-run fifth inning to post a 12-5 win over Kentucky to salvage the series in the finale, on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (15-8, 2-4 SEC) fell just short of its first sweep since 2006 in the series finale, with the Mississippi State win ending UK's school-record streak of five consecutive wins vs. the Bulldogs. UK posted a 10-2 win in the opener and a 9-7 win in the series-clincher on Saturday. In the finale on Sunday, the Bulldogs jumped out to a lead with 11 runs combined over the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, highlighted by a six-run fifth, for a commanding lead.
UK starter Kyle Cody (2-2) suffered the loss, allowing seven hits and nine runs - six earned - in four innings, walking three without a strikeout. After MSU plated a run in the third and two in the fourth, and UK rallied to tie the game with three in the bottom of the fourth inning, Cody was chased with six straight runners reaching base in the fifth.
UK senior Andrew Nelson came on in relief of Cody, working a scoreless inning. Brad Schaenzer got two outs and allowed a pair of runs, with Taylor Martin relieving him in the sixth, working a perfect 1.2 innings. Dylan Dwyer took over with one out in the eighth inning, getting an out and allowed a bunt single that scored. Freshman Zach Pop got the final out in the eighth, allowing an RBI single.
The Wildcats collected 11 hits in the game, plating five runs. UK got a three-hit game from Kyle Barrett, who notched his 15th multiple-hit game of the year in 23 contests. Barrett belted his first homer of the year in the opener on Friday and collected a career-high four hits in Saturday's win.
UK junior rightfielder Dorian Hairston also added two hits and two RBI, ripping a double. JaVon Shelby extended his reached base safely streak to a club-best 14 games with his team-leading 19th walk, with UK also getting an RBI double from Evan White and a hit from Thomas Bernal. Catcher Greg Fettes and junior Ka'ai Tom each contributed a pair of hits.
Mississippi State (18-8, 2-4 SEC) starter Vance Tatum (3-0) worked his first career complete game, allowing 11 hits and five runs, walking four and striking out one.
Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday, traveling to Western Kentucky for a 7 p.m. ET first pitch at the Bowling Green Ballpark. The game will be broadcast live on the UK Radio Network.
The Bulldogs got on the board in the top of the third inning, as Jacob Robson led off with his second hit of the game, beating out an infield grounder on the left side. Robson then stole second base and took third with one out after the throw to second base skidded away. Seth Heck then grounded out to second base, scoring Robson.
MSU stretched its lead to 3-0 with a two-run homer from Humphreys in the top of the fourth inning, scoring Cody Brown, who singled to leadoff the frame.
The Wildcats rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Barrett led off with a single, taking second on Tom's single with one out. After a lineout for the second out, Hairston doubled through the left side, scoring Barrett with the throw to second base skidding away to allow Tom to score. Bernal then singled down the leftfield line, scoring Hairston.
The Bulldogs took the lead in the top of the fifth inning, as Ryan Gridley led off with a slow roller back to Cody on the right side of the infield, with the ball going under his glove for an error. Robson then laid down a bunt single and Seth Heck loaded the bases with a bunt on the left side, with Cody trying to get the lead runner at third base. Gavin Collins then doubled off the wall in rightfield, scoring two runs. After an error put Cody Brown on, Humphreys homered on a no-doubt blast over the left-centerfield wall.
UK got two runs back in the bottom of the fifth inning, making it 9-5. Heady was plunked by a pitch to leadoff and Barrett singled to centerfield. White then spanked a double down the leftfield line to score Heady, with Barrett plating on an RBI groundout from Hairston.
MSU got those runs back in the top of the sixth inning for an 11-5 lead, getting a two-out, two-RBI double from Brown.
The Bulldogs got a bunt single from Robson and an RBI single from Collins to stretch their lead to 12-5 in the top of the eighth.