STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – On the opening night of Southeastern Conference play, Mississippi State was unable to keep pace with No. 11 Vanderbilt Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.
Vanderbilt won, 5-0, to improve to 13-5 and 1-0 in the SEC, while MSU fell to 10-8 and 0-1.
“Overall, it was not his best performance but nothing to be ashamed about from Konnor Pilkington,” MSU head coach Gary Henderson said. “We had some quality at-bats later in the game. We had some hard outs and stranded a lot of runners. We will have to continue to improve in that area and we will have to drive in some of these runners.”
The Bulldogs were held to five hits and were also hurt by three errors. The Bulldogs’ best scoring threats came in the first and seventh innings when two runners were stranded in each frame.
The offensive struggles spoiled a strong pitching performance from Konnor Pilkington. In six innings of work, Pilkington (1-2) allowed seven hits and four runs (two earned), with eight strikeouts and a walk.
Vanderbilt struck for a pair of runs in the third inning and then scored two unearned runs on an error in the sixth inning. The Commodores added an insurance score in the seventh inning.
An RBI-triple by Pat DeMarco was the big blow in the third inning. DeMarco came home on a misplay in the outfield.
The Bulldogs were poised to get out of the sixth inning after a double play ball. However, a single, double and two-out error followed. A wild pitch scored the final run in the seventh inning.
For MSU, Keegan James threw the final three innings, allowing three hits and an earned run, with two strikeouts and a walk.
Justin Foscue had two of MSU’s five hits.
The Bulldogs and Commodores will continue their series on Saturday with a 1 p.m. CT first pitch from Dudy Noble.