LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – A four-hit night by Hunter Stovall was an offensive highlight in Mississippi State’s 9-6 loss to Kentucky in the opening game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series Friday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
MSU fell to 27-23 overall and 11-14 in league play, while Kentucky improved to 32-17 and 12-13.
The Bulldogs pounded out 11 hits but stranded 10 base runners. Elijah MacNamee also had multiple hits.
In the first inning, the Bulldogs scored twice. Jake Mangum walked and Tanner Allen singled. Both scored on a single by Stovall.
In the second inning, the lead grew to 4-1. MacNamee singled, Marshall Gilbert walked and Jake Mangum reached as a hit batsman to load the bases. Rowdey Jordan followed with a two-run single.
Kentucky scored twice in the second inning before surging ahead with four runs in the fourth inning.
The Bulldogs then got a run back in the fifth inning on a home run to left by Stovall.
In the seventh inning, the Bulldogs pulled within a run. Stovall tripled and scored on a single by Justin Foscue. A double play lifted the Wildcats out of the tight spot.
Kentucky then put the contest away with two runs in the eighth inning.
Konnor Pilkington (2-6) drew the start before being lifted with two outs in the fifth inning. Pilkington allowed nine hits and seven runs (all earned), with five strikeouts and four walks. Riley Self gave 2.2 scoreless innings of relief while Kale Breaux, Keegan James and Cole Marsh also pitched for the Bulldogs.
Ben Aklinski had three of Kentucky’s 12 hits. Sean Hjelle (7-4) picked up the win, while Chris Machamer earned his 10th save.
The Bulldogs will retake the field on Saturday for a 4 p.m. CT first pitch. The contest will be nationally televised on SEC Network, and can also be streamed via WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.