STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics/WTVA) - A two-run triple by Jake Mangum lifted the Mississippi State baseball team to a 6-3 win over No. 1 Florida in the opening game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Dudy Noble Field.
The Bulldogs trailed 3-0 before erupting for two runs in the seventh inning and four runs in the eighth inning.
For MSU, Elijah MacNamee got the comeback started with a two-run home run. After Mangum gave the Maroon and White the lead in the eighth inning, Tanner Allen brought home a pair of critical insurance runs with a two-run home run.
"This was a big win for our kids and our fans," MSU head coach Gary Henderson said. "A lot of positive things happened tonight. It was a great comeback against one of the premier relievers in the nation. Konnor Pilkington pitched well. Riley Self was brilliant. Really felt like we were in good shape after only giving up two runs in the third inning. The game could have gotten away from us there."
"We had good at-bats and big hits when we needed them most."
MSU improved to 29-24 overall and 13-15 in league play, while the SEC regular-season champion Florida squad fell to 41-13 and 20-8.
The Bulldogs also clinched a berth in the SEC Tournament.
Pilkington pitched 6.1 innings, allowing five hits and three runs (all earned), with seven strikeouts and four walks. Self (3-0) faced seven batters in a perfect 2.2 innings of work. Marshall Gilbert threw out three attempted base stealers, with two of those becoming double plays.
The Bulldogs finished with seven hits and played errorless ball. Mangum, Allen and MacNamee each had multiple hits.
Michael Byrne (2-1) pitched the final inning and took the loss. Austin Langworthy had two of the Gators' five hits.
The two sides will return to Dudy Noble on Friday for a 6 p.m. CT start on ESPNU.