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.

Confirmed Cases: 61125

Reported Deaths: 1711
CountyConfirmedDeaths
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Jackson199434
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Washington149232
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Lamar112112
Oktibbeha105435
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Scott95517
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Copiah91724
Panola91211
Sunflower90822
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Holmes84747
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Pike83232
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Yazoo78611
Leake76825
Lincoln74540
Pontotoc7377
Wayne73321
Simpson71227
Monroe70250
Coahoma66310
Tate65023
Marion60118
Covington58811
Adams58425
Marshall5718
Winston57115
George5475
Union53113
Newton51611
Attala49824
Tallahatchie49310
Pearl River48536
Walthall45318
Chickasaw43819
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Claiborne40013
Smith38013
Calhoun3788
Jasper3768
Clay37013
Alcorn3574
Prentiss3426
Hancock33614
Tishomingo3204
Lawrence3135
Tippah31212
Yalobusha31210
Itawamba30710
Clarke30025
Montgomery2933
Tunica2786
Humphreys27111
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Quitman2251
Kemper22315
Perry2227
Amite2105
Jefferson Davis2026
Webster19912
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson18712
Sharkey1801
Stone1523
Choctaw1274
Benton1250
Franklin1162
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 90890

Reported Deaths: 1611
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11859225
Mobile9086191
Montgomery6249143
Madison501425
Tuscaloosa397463
Baldwin321023
Shelby305032
Marshall296630
Unassigned273453
Lee250540
Morgan222315
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Walker147063
Houston131912
Dallas128823
Russell12331
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Lauderdale107112
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Talladega91813
Jackson8283
Chambers82138
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Dale78520
Butler75235
Blount7363
Chilton7106
Coffee7095
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Pike6607
Barbour5635
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Marion54224
Marengo52014
Clarke4869
Hale45926
Bullock43811
Perry4294
Winston42911
Wilcox4059
Monroe3914
Randolph38810
Bibb3743
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Lawrence3100
Washington31011
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Crenshaw2863
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