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MSU downs Florida in SEC baseball opener

MSU has won 13 straight games.

Posted: Mar 15, 2019 11:19 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Redshirt-junior starting pitcher Ethan Small was dominant and senior outfielder Elijah MacNamee made two huge plays late in the game as the No. 7 Mississippi State baseball program took the series opener from No. 4 Florida, 6-5, on Friday (March 15) at McKethan Stadium.

A key sequence in the bottom of the eighth and top of the ninth innings eventually led to the win, as MacNamee chased down a fly ball in the right-field corner for the final out of the eighth inning to save a Florida (14-6, 0-1 SEC) run from scoring. He then delivered a two-RBI double to make it a 6-2 game in favor of Mississippi State (17-1, 1-0 SEC) entering the bottom of the ninth.

It got tense in the bottom of the ninth, as the first four Gator hitters reached base against graduate student Cole Gordon to produce two runs. Gordon then got a ground out, before a sacrifice fly plated Florida's fifth run of the game. With a runner on third and two outs, Gordon finished off the game with a strikeout to move MSU's winning streak to 13 games.

Small allowed just one run on two hits in six innings of work. The left-hander walked three and struck out 11 for this fourth double-digit strikeout effort of the season. Senior Jared Liebelt continued to have a solid 2019, tossing one scoreless inning of relief with one strikeout.

At the plate, the top six in the State order produced nine hits and scored all six runs. Five of the six reached base multiple times, with MacNamee, senior Jake Mangum and sophomore Tanner Allen and Justin Foscue all collecting two hits.

Quotable
Head Coach Chris Lemonis
On Ethan Smalls performance on the mound
"He competed. He competed all night long against a really good lineup. A lineup that has put up some runs lately. Then, he had to go out in the sixth and face some of their better guys. He really wanted the ball and that is what you need on Friday night; the most competitive kid on our staff to go out there and pitch the way he did."

On the offense getting going in the middle innings
"That is the grittiness of us with two strikes. We just tried to shorten up and put the ball in play. [Tommy] Mace was really good early and we have to make some adjustments and take some pitches. It was just about putting balls in play hard and we were able to get some hits out of it."

Quick Hitters
Mississippi State
Winning Streak Moves On - The 13-game winning streak is tied for the fifth longest streak in program history, equaling streaks by the 1970, '76, '79, '81, '99 and 2015 teams.
Ethan Small – Posted his fourth double-digit strikeout effort of the season with 11 strikeouts in six innings. Allowed one run on two hits to earn his second win of the year.
Elijah MacNamee – Posted a pair of hits and drove in two ninth-inning RBIs.
Justin Foscue – Hit his sixth home run of the season in the fifth inning.
Jake Mangum – Notched two hits, drove in one RBI and scored a run.
Top of the Order – The top six in the Bulldog batting order reached base a combined 11 times and each scored one run.

Florida
Wil Dalton – Hit a solo home run to open the scoring and scored two runs in the game.
Tommy Mace – Threw 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on three hits. Struck out five.

Scoring Recap
Bottom Fourth
A solo home run from Wil Dalton to left field with two outs in the inning gave the Gators the first run of the game.
Florida 1, Mississippi State 0

Top Fifth
Justin Foscue answered with a leadoff home run to left field to knot the score. It was the sixth home run of the season for the sophomore and his third home run to lead off an inning in 2019.
Mississippi State 1, Florida 1

Top Sixth
Jake Mangum started things with a double through the infield, moved to third on a Tanner Allen infield single and scored on a wild pitch with two outs to give MSU the lead.
Mississippi State 2, Florida 1

Top Seventh
Dustin Skelton reached via walk and Josh Hatcher was hit by a pitch to start the inning, before Rowdey Jordan sacrificed the runners to second and third. After a walk to Gunner Halter, Mangum hit a slicing line drive to center field that Jud Fabian couldn't corral and one run scored. A strikeout and line out ended the frame with the bases loaded.
Mississippi State 3, Florida 1

Top Eighth
The first two batters of the inning reached via walk to Elijah MacNamee and single by Foscue. After a Skelton sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, Hatcher delivered an RBI single through a drawn-in infield to make it a three-run game.
Mississippi State 4, Florida 1

Bottom Eighth
The Gators manufactured a run in the eighth inning, as Cory Acton singled to start the frame and eventually scored on a two-out single by Nelson Maldonado. The Gators nearly added to the run total, but a running catch by MacNamee in the right-field corner ended the frame.
Mississippi State 4, Florida 2

Top Ninth
Back-to-back one-out singles by Jordan Westburg and Allen brought MacNamee to the plate. The hero of the eighth inning came through with a two-RBI double to left-center field to move the MSU lead to 6-2.
Mississippi State 6, Florida 2

Bottom Ninth
Cole Gordon entered in the ninth inning and the first four hitters reached base against the State closer. After a walk and a hit-by-pitch, Austin Langworthy punched a single through the right side of the infield to plate a run. Blake Reese pinch hit and singled to score the second run of the inning and a Brady McMullen's sacrifice fly with one out made it a one-run game, 6-5. Gordon got the final out of the inning via strikeout to move State's winning streak to 13-straight games.
Mississippi State 6, Florida 5

Up Next
Mississippi State and Florida will meet at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday, March 16 at McKethan Stadium. The game will air live on the SEC Network and via the Mississippi State Baseball Radio Network.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 516486

Reported Deaths: 10299
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison35042558
DeSoto33463432
Hinds32797643
Jackson24926392
Rankin22593405
Lee16523245
Madison14978283
Jones14191248
Forrest13852260
Lauderdale12326323
Lowndes11387193
Lamar10713140
Pearl River9759244
Lafayette8881143
Hancock7848132
Washington7561169
Oktibbeha7234138
Monroe7091179
Pontotoc7060110
Warren6892178
Panola6807135
Neshoba6753210
Marshall6735142
Bolivar6472151
Union645699
Alcorn5950108
Pike5947157
Lincoln5544136
George511080
Prentiss510185
Tippah497983
Itawamba4903107
Scott479499
Tate4786118
Adams4784125
Leflore4756144
Yazoo458492
Copiah458395
Simpson4577117
Wayne443772
Covington435395
Sunflower4331106
Marion4311112
Coahoma4259110
Leake414491
Newton396182
Tishomingo388894
Grenada3796109
Stone366466
Attala341690
Jasper341566
Chickasaw319167
Winston318892
Clay313978
Clarke301995
Calhoun288950
Holmes273389
Smith270852
Yalobusha245847
Tallahatchie232653
Greene225449
Walthall222166
Lawrence220842
Perry214656
Amite210357
Webster206748
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182757
Carroll175841
Jefferson Davis174643
Tunica163939
Benton153439
Kemper145541
Choctaw137827
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132339
Franklin126630
Quitman107928
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97334
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 848779

Reported Deaths: 16185
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1164582005
Mobile744601384
Madison53563738
Shelby38454371
Baldwin38215589
Tuscaloosa36172644
Montgomery34573782
Lee25690264
Calhoun22636520
Morgan22548411
Etowah20075520
Marshall18865318
Houston17795426
St. Clair16968359
Limestone16206220
Cullman16170306
Elmore15952295
Lauderdale15093307
Talladega14267302
DeKalb13095271
Walker12180380
Blount10791193
Autauga10562157
Jackson10221196
Coffee9440192
Colbert9376210
Dale9049192
Tallapoosa7287202
Russell711465
Chilton7098170
Covington6973197
Escambia6969144
Franklin6369108
Chambers5810142
Marion5446132
Dallas5306210
Pike5135109
Clarke486086
Lawrence4852130
Winston4804110
Geneva4656136
Bibb436495
Barbour370880
Butler3445101
Marengo342993
Monroe338566
Randolph338067
Pickens335090
Fayette332285
Henry321266
Cherokee320564
Hale319589
Crenshaw261878
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay253169
Macon246367
Conecuh193562
Coosa186048
Wilcox178538
Lowndes178468
Bullock152845
Perry141940
Sumter139841
Greene130745
Choctaw94628
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