STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics/WTVA) - A six-run third inning helped propel the Mississippi State baseball team to an 11-6 win over No. 18 Texas A&M Saturday night at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU collected 15 hits and rode a strong start by Ethan Small to a critical victory at home. The Bulldogs now look for a third-straight series win on the home turf when the teams play at 3:30 p.m. Sunday on the SEC Network.
MSU improved to 24-20 overall and 9-11 in league play, while Texas A&M fell to 31-12 and 10-10.
"It was a great offensive night for our club," MSU head coach Gary Henderson said. "We had some competitive at-bats and once we built the lead we got some add-on runs. You can never have enough runs in this league. On the mound, Ethan Small was filling the strike zone. He gave us another competitive outing.
"Now we go to the final game with another chance to win a series."
For the Bulldogs, Jake Mangum had four hits, while Rowdey Jordan and Hunter Stovall each had three hits. Elijah MacNamee added two hits. Justin Foscue led the team with a pair of RBIs.
In the third inning, singles by Mangum, Jordan and Tanner Allen loaded the bases with one out. Luke Alexander drove in a run with a ground ball. Foscue followed with a line drive double down the left field line. MacNamee then added an RBI-double of his own. Marshall Gilbert closed that inning's scoring with an RBI-single.
The Bulldogs ran the lead to 8-0 an inning later when Mangum singled and Jordan doubled to start things. A ground ball by Allen scored one run, while a bunt single from Stovall plated another.
That would be enough offense for Small, Keegan James and Zach Neff.
Small (5-3) allowed five hits and three runs (all earned) in 5.1 innings of work. James finished the sixth inning, before giving way to Zach Neff. In three innings of work, Neff allowed three hits and one run (unearned) to earn his second save.
After Texas A&M closed within 8-5, an RBI-double by Mangum highlighted a three-run seventh inning as the Bulldogs put the contest away.
The series will conclude on Sunday with a 3:30 p.m. CT first pitch on SEC Network. The game will also be available for live viewing via WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.