HOUSTON (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - A solo home run by Tanner Poole in the top half of the ninth inning put an exclamation point on No. 21 Mississippi State’s 3-1 win over Louisiana in college baseball action Friday night at the Shriner’s College Classic.
The contest, which was played at Minute Maid Park, was delayed a couple of hours, but Poole made sure the teams weren’t playing into the new day by hitting a leadoff home run to left field in the ninth inning. That shot broke up a 1-1 tie.
The story on this day for the Bulldogs was junior left-hander Konnor Pilkington. In his longest outing of the season, Pilkington showed his Friday night Southeastern Conference stuff by allowing three hits and one earned run over seven innings of work, with a career-high matching 13 strikeouts and one walk.
Cole Gordon (1-0) retired all six batters he faced with four strikeouts to garner the win.
“It was a great win for this team,” MSU head coach Gary Henderson said. “Other than one miscue, we defended it well and we pitched it very well. At the end of the game, we got some timely hits. That is the formula for winning games.
“The biggest thing about Konnor is he got his secondary pitches over for strikeouts. When he does that, he can get punchouts. Cole Gordon was outstanding in relief. Really proud of the win. We played with great focus, stayed patient at the plate and found a way to get the win.”
Louisiana (3-6) took the lead in the fourth inning on a two-out RBI-single by Jonathan Windham.
MSU (4-5) tied the contest in the sixth inning with a lone run without a base hit. An error and pair of walks loaded the bases. Dustin Skelton would later reach as a hit batsman to force home the game-tying run.
In the ninth inning, Poole homered to get things going. Rowdey Jordan followed with a double and later came home with a critical insurance score on a base hit by Tanner Allen.
The Bulldogs would finish with nine hits and strand 12 base runners, including three in both the sixth and ninth innings.
Jake Mangum, Justin Foscue and Jordan each had two hits for the Bulldogs.
Brock Batty (2-1) pitched the final 3.1 innings and took the loss for the Ragin’ Cajuns. No Louisiana player had multiple hits.
The Diamond Dawgs will once again have the prime-time game, this time against the hometown Houston Cougars (5-3). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. CT from Minute Maid Park.
All of this weekend’s games are being televised on AT&T SportsNet SW, which airs regionally in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and parts of New Mexico. The games will also be streamed live on Astros.com and the AT&T SportsNet app.
Saturday’s game will air live on the Mississippi State Baseball Radio Network and WKBB 100.9 in Starkville. With Jim Ellis on the call, all three games will also be audio streamed live online at HailState.com/Plus and on TuneIn Radio.
Tickets are still available for the remaining two games at the Shriner’s College Classic in Houston.
For more information on the Diamond Dawg program, follow the program on Twitter, like them on Facebook and join them on Instagram by searching for “HailStateBB.” You can also find all-access coverage of the program on SnapChat by searching for “HailStateSnap.”
SHRINER’S COLLEGE CLASSIC SCHEDULE (All times Central)
Friday, March 2 – Sam Houston State 7, Vanderbilt 6 (10 innings)
Friday, March 2 – Kentucky 14, Houston 2 (7 innings)
Friday, March 2 – Mississippi State 3, Louisiana 1
Saturday, March 3 – Sam Houston State at Kentucky (12:05 p.m.)
Saturday, March 3 – Vanderbilt at Louisiana (3:35 p.m.)
Saturday, March 3 – Houston at Mississippi State (7:05 p.m.)
Sunday, March 4 – Louisiana at Kentucky (11:05 a.m.)
Sunday, March 4 –Mississippi State at Sam Houston State (2:35 p.m.)
Sunday, March 4 – Houston at Vanderbilt (6:05 p.m.)
(home teams listed second)
* - times subject to change