Athens, GA - The 24th-ranked Mississippi State baseball team claimed a series over Georgia Saturday by taking a doubleheader 6-1 and 4-1 at Foley Field. The series began Friday with Georgia winning 7-1. With 90 percent chance of rain in the forecast for Sunday, the teams opted to finish the series Saturday by playing two games.
“We started off with a win in the series Friday but today, Mississippi State got a lot of great pitching from their All-Americans,” said Georgia coach Scott Stricklin. “We were close but close is not good enough and next week we go to LSU and that will be another tough test. Our guys battled, and we were one swing away a few times. I was encouraged by our relief pitching today, and I thought Robert Tyler gave us a chance with his start in the first game. Overall, our offense has to get better, and I think Mississippi State’s pitching will shut down a lot of teams this season.”
Game 1: #24 Mississippi State 6, Georgia 1
Georgia saw its 11-game winning streak come to an end as Mississippi State took advantage of a pair of three run-innings to defeat Georgia 6-1 in game one. The loss dropped Georgia to 13-7 on the season and 1-1 in Southeastern Conference play.
Georgia freshman Robert Tyler took the loss, falling to 1-1 on the year as he went six plus innings and gave up five runs, four of which were earned, on five hits. Ross Mitchell collected the win for Mississippi State moving to 3-1 on the season as he threw a complete game four-hitter. Georgia did not register its first hit until a Jared Walsh double with two outs in the fourth inning.
Mississippi State struck first in the third inning. With one out, Tyler walked Zach Randolph before giving up an RBI double to Matthew Britton. Jake Vickerson followed with a single for the visitors to put runners on the corners before Alex Detz doubled to left field scoring both runners and giving Mississippi State a 3-0 lead.
Tyler found himself in a jam again in the fourth as a leadoff walk to Seth Heck followed by a single off the bat of C.T. Bradford put two runners on base. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position but that would be as far as they would go. Tyler managed to produce a pop up to second from Randolph before striking Britton out looking on a pitch that caught the outside corner.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Georgia rallied to load the bases and looked to cut into the deficit. Jared Walsh laced a line drive deep down the right field line before Zack Bowers was hit by a pitch and Jess Posey walked to load the bases. Heath Holder, however, was unable to get the telling hit as a routine grounder to third ended the scoring opportunity.
Georgia flashed some elite defense throughout as Stephen Wrenn made another highlight catch in right center field in the second inning with a diving grab at full stretch that took away what looked like a double. Conor Welton made a nice diving catch coming in on a sinking ball to end the third inning, and Hunter Cole snagged an awkward hop at the hot corner in the sixth inning.
It was a defensive miscue, however, that proved the final undoing for Georgia. With one runner aboard and no outs in the top of the seventh, a ground ball to second evaded the grasp of Posey as the base runner crossed in front the sophomore’s line of sight. The error was followed by a stolen base to put two runners in scoring position. A two RBI single by Matthew Britton stretched the Mississippi State lead to 5-0 and proved to be the last pitch of the day for Tyler.
With Jarrett Brown coming on in relief of the freshman, Mississippi State were able to push across another run on an RBI single by Brett Pirtle that scored Britton and gave the visitors a 6-0 lead as the game went to the seventh inning stretch.
Georgia would finally get on the board in the bottom of the eighth as Wrenn started the inning with a single, moving to second on a fielder’s choice. With two out Cole ripped a double to center field that allowed the freshman to race home from second. Cole’s extended his streak of games reaching base this season to a perfect 20.
Despite a scoreless three innings of relief from Brown, Georgia was unable to rally and its winning streak was snapped.
Game 2: #24 Mississippi State 4, Georgia 1
Georgia dropped a 4-1 decision in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader to lose the series to Mississippi State. The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 13-8 on the season and 1-2 in SEC play.
Patrick Boling took the loss for Georgia as his record fell to 2-2 on the season. Boling went three and a third innings, giving up three runs on two hits and four walks. He also struck out two. David Sosebee and Jared Cheek gave Georgia outstanding pitching out of the bullpen. Sosebee went two and a third scoreless and Cheek threw three and third giving up only one unearned run.
Jacob Lindgren notched the win for Mississippi State to move to 2-0 on the year while Jonathan Holder collected his second save of the year.
The visiting Bulldogs were able to take a 1-0 lead in the first. The deficit increased in the fourth inning as Mississippi State added two runs to the scoreboard and extended their advantage to 3-0. Boling put two runners on base with a leadoff single by Seth Heck and a walk to Derrick Armstrong. A sacrifice bunt by Demarcus Henderson moved both runners into scoring position and ended Boling’s day. With David Sosebee on the mound C.T. Bradford laced a double to left field that would bring in both runners and give the visitors a thre- run advantage.
After going quietly through the first four innings, Georgia found some life in the bottom of the fifth. A Daniel Nichols leadoff double put a runner in scoring position for Georgia and, despite grounding out, Jess Posey was able to advance Nichols. With Skyler Weber at bat, a wild pitch brought home the first run of the game for Georgia and trimmed the deficit to 3-1. With two outs Georgia was able to load the bases but Hunter Cole grounded into a fielders’ choice to extinguish the threat.
Georgia would threaten to tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Hunter Cole started it with a single to center field and moved to second following a Jared Walsh walk. A wild pitch advanced both runners to scoring position for Zack Bowers. Despite battling to a 3-2 count from 0-2 down, Bowers would strikeout swinging with Jonathan Holder coming in for a save.
Despite the 4-1 deficit, Georgia was able to bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. After Daniel Nichols led off the inning with a single, Mississippi State was able to record two quick outs. Stephen Wrenn extended the Georgia rally with a sharp single up the middle allowing Nelson Ward to come to the plate as the tying run for Georgia. Despite a hard hit ball to center Ward was only able to fly out ending the Bulldogs rally and the game.
Bowers displayed impressive arm strength from behind the plate on two separate occasions. In the top of the fourth with one out, C.T. Bradford attempted to steal third with Mississippi State threatening. Bowers, however, was equal to the challenge as a sharp throw to third got the runner. In the top of the seventh, Jake Vickerson attempted to make the most out of reaching base on an error as he challenged Bowers attempting to steal second. The sophomore catcher gunned down Vickerson as well to go 2-for-3 on stole base attempts.
Georgia returns to action on Tuesday as Presbyterian travels to Athens to face the Bulldogs. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET.