HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - A second-straight three-hit game by freshman Josh Hatcher was the biggest offensive highlight as No. 12 Mississippi State dropped a 7-4 decision to No. 21 Southern Mississippi Saturday at Pete Taylor Park.
After collecting three hits in his MSU debut, Hatcher continued his early-season tear with another three-hit afternoon, including a two-run home run.
The Bulldogs (0-2) collected 12 hits and tried to fight back from an early 5-0 deficit. However, three double plays and six stranded base runners did not help the cause.
“They are too good a veteran team to give them five runs over the first two innings,” MSU head coach Andy Cannizaro said. “I was proud of how we played the rest of the way. We had some competitive at-bats. We defended the field well. From the third inning on, we played well. We have to have that carry over to the final game of the weekend, so that we can get a win.”
MSU starting pitcher Ethan Small (0-1) was touched for those five runs (all earned) on seven hits in four innings of work. Denver McQuary pitched a scoreless fifth inning but was touched for two runs in the sixth inning. Trysten Barlow allowed one hit over 2.1 innings of scoreless relief.
Southern Miss (2-0) struck for three runs in the first inning and added two more scores in the second inning.
Hatcher then got the Bulldogs on the board with his line drive two-run home run right field. The round-tripper came after a leadoff double by Jake Mangum in the third inning.
After the Golden Eagles plated those critical insurance scores in the sixth inning, the Bulldogs tallied a run apiece in the eighth and ninth innings.
Hunter Stovall doubled to lead off the MSU eighth inning. He later scores on a single by Hunter Vansau. A double play lifted the Golden Eagles out of that jam. In the ninth inning, Tanner Allen tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly hit by Justin Foscue.
Vansau and Allen joined Hatcher in the multiple hit column for the Bulldogs.
Matt Wallner had three hits and Luke Reynolds had two hits for Southern Miss, which totaled 11 hits. Jarod Wright (1-0) was the winning pitcher.
The series finale from Hattiesburg is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.