HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Things did not go as well as No. 12 Mississippi State had hoped in the Diamond Dawgs' season-opening 11-0 loss at No. 21 Southern Mississippi, Friday afternoon.
It was a tight contest for four innings at Pete Taylor Park. The Golden Eagles broke up the shutout with a single score in the fourth inning. From there, Southern Miss added two in the fifth inning, one in the sixth inning, two in the seventh inning and five in the eighth inning.
Four MSU pitchers combined to allow 11 hits, with five walks, four hit batsmen and nine strikeouts. Junior left-hander Konnor Pilkington drew the start but was lifted in the fifth inning.
Pilkington allowed five hits and two runs (both earned), with six strikeouts. Josh Hatcher, Keegan James and Jared Liebelt also pitched for the Bulldogs.
"The pitch count was too high for Konnor," MSU head coach Andy Cannizaro said. "We had too many 3-2 counts. We need contact earlier in at-bats. We had a chance early with the bases loaded and crushed a ball but didn't get anything out of it. It was a tough night. We didn't do enough to be competitive."
Southern Miss starter Nick Sandlin threw seven innings, with nine strikeouts, no walks and four hits allowed.
MSU finished with six hits, with five of those coming from the top two spots in the lineup. Hatcher had three hits in his MSU debut, while Jake Mangum had two hits. Rowdey Jordan also had a single in his MSU debut.
LeeMarcus Boyd, Cole Donaldson and Luke Reynolds each had multiple hits for the Golden Eagles. Storme Cooper drove in three runs.
The Diamond Dawgs will look to even up the series at one game apiece on Saturday with a 1 p.m. CT first pitch. The game will air live exclusively through ConferenceUSA.com/watch, but a paid subscription is required for viewing. Fans can listen to the game on the Mississippi State Baseball Radio Network and live online at HailState.com/Plus or through TuneIn Radio.
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