STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics/WTVA) - The Mississippi State baseball team turned a good weekend into a great weekend Saturday at Dudy Noble Field.
In the final game of the regular season, MSU pounded out 14 hits to put away No. 1 Florida 13-6 in the final game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series.
MSU swept the series from the SEC regular season champions, while moving to 9-1 against Top 5 opposition this season.
The Bulldogs improved to 31-24 overall and 15-15 in league play, while the Gators fell to 41-15 and 20-10. The Bulldogs finished in a three-way tie for third place in the Western Division standings.
“A lot of credit to our offense,” MSU head coach Gary Henderson said. “We had the big first inning and that got the momentum in our dugout. You normally don’t see the momentum stay with one team, but we had it throughout the last two games of the series. Our approach was great at the plate and we did a great job of bringing home runners in scoring position.”
After touching one of the nation’s best pitching staffs for 12 runs on 12 hits Friday, the Bulldogs topped both of those numbers. A six-run eighth inning removed all doubt from the contest after Cole Gordon held the Gators at bay in the top half of the inning.
Elijah MacNamee and Jake Mangum each had three hits. MacNamee drove in six runs. Tanner Allen and Hunter Stovall each added multiple hits.
The big blows in the first inning came via the long ball. Mangum hit a leadoff home run to tie the game 1-1. After singles by Rowdey Jordan and Hunter Allen, MacNamee hit a three-run home run to left field.
After the Gators closed within 4-3, the Bulldogs scored twice in the third inning. MacNamee had an RBI-double, while Luke Alexander had an RBI-single.
With the teams tied at 6-6, the Bulldogs took the lead for good in the home half of the sixth inning. The bases were loaded with no outs, but a double play ball did plate the go-ahead run.
Singles by Dustin Skelton and Mangum, as well an intentional walk set the table in the eighth inning. Allen drew a bases-loaded walk, before Hunter Stovall hit an RBI-single. MacNamee followed with a two-run doubles, while Justin Foscue had a two-run singles.
Blake Smith (4-0) picked up the win for the Bulldogs, while Gordon pitched the final two innings for his third save. Jacob Billingsley drew the start for the Bulldogs. Denver McQuary, Keegan James and Zach Neff also pitched for the Bulldogs.
State will now turn its attention to the Southeastern Conference Tournament, which will begin on Tuesday, May 22