STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Scoreless into the tenth inning, the No. 9 Mississippi State baseball program came up just short in a 1-0 loss to No. 21 Southern Miss on Friday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field. Redshirt-junior Ethan Small struck out a career-high 13 batters and the offense produced seven hits to just three for USM.
Small was on point from the start for Mississippi State (4-1), retiring the first five batters he faced – four via strikeout – before hitting a batter with two outs in the second inning. In all, the left hander allowed only two Southern Miss (4-0) base runners over seven scoreless innings. He struck out a career-high 13 hitters and didn’t allow a hit until USM’s Hunter Slater singled with one out in the seventh inning.
The 13 strikeouts for Small are the most since Konnor Pilkington fanned 13 hitters versus Louisiana-Lafayette on March 2, 2017. The last time an MSU pitcher struck out more than 13 hitters was March 16, 2012 when Chris Stratton fanned 17 LSU hitters in Baton Rouge.
After senior Jared Liebelt threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings with two strikeouts, junior Trysten Barlow entered to get the final out of the ninth inning with a strikeout. Barlow got the first two outs of the 10th inning before allowing a single to Erick Hoard and walking Danny Lynch. It was the first time in the game that either team had multiple base runners and junior Riley Self entered the contest for State.
On a 1-2 pitch, pinch hitter Charlie Fischer singled up the middle to score pinch runner Brant Blalock from second. A heads up play by senior Jake Mangum cut the lead runner down trying to stretch to third base and limit the damage to just one run.
Junior Dustin Skelton tried to get the two-out rally started with a base hit through the left side, but USM reliever Ryan Och got the final out via flyball to center field.
Southern Miss starting pitcher Walker Powell tossed 7 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball and allowed just five hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out two in the no decision.
Head Coach Chris Lemonis
On Ethan Small’s performance
“That is the best I have seen [Ethan]. Now is the best I have seen him right there. [He kept the ball] low, was hitting spots and changing his rhythm. That was a Friday night ace. I hate that we did not get that win for him because he pitched so well.”
Redshirt-Junior Ethan Small
On pitching well without getting a win
“For me it is bittersweet. I would rather [our team] win [the game] than do what I did. If this team has proven anything it is that it can bounce back. I feel like we beat them in every category but one and that is the runs scored. That is baseball. We have experienced it. We have been on the other side of that. Really it is just getting everybody to stay up.”
Ethan Small – Fanned a career-high 13 hitters in seven innings of scoreless work. Allowed just one hit in the start and didn’t walk a batter in his second-straight no decision.
Jake Mangum – Posted his 81st career multi-hit game with a pair of hits. Also stole one base.
Dustin Skelton – Had a pair of singles in the contest, including a two-out hit in the 10th inning.
Walker Powell – Allowed five hits and struck out two over 7 2/3 innings of scoreless work in a start. Didn’t walk a batter and allowed only one runner to reach second base.
Charlie Fischer – Delivered the pinch-hit RBI single to break the scoreless tie in the 10th inning.
Ryan Och – Threw the final 2 1/3 innings scoreless with two strikeouts. Allowed two hits and stranded the game-tying run on second in the 10th inning.
The rally started with two outs in the inning against MSU’s Trysten Barlow, as Erick Hoard singled and was pinch ran for. Pinch runner Brant Blaylock advanced to second on a wild pitch before Danny Lynch walked for Southern Miss. Riley Self entered for State and gave up a 1-2 single up the middle to pinch hitter Charlie Fischer, but the lead runner was thrown out trying to reach third base to keep it a 1-0 game.
Southern Miss 1, Mississippi State 0
The new first pitch for game two of the three-game series with Southern Miss is slated for Noon on Saturday, Feb. 23. The middle game of the series was originally slated for a 2 p.m. first pitch.
Tickets for Saturday’s game can still be purchased as part of the “Super Saturday” ticket offer. The offer gets you a ticket to the baseball game and the men's basketball game vs. South Carolina later that day. Use the promo code "SUPER" at checkout to get two tickets for only $15.
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