STARKVILLE – Baseball can be a bewildering game.
For eight innings on Saturday, the Mississippi State baseball program couldn’t seem to get anything going with runners on base. However, in the ninth inning, a bases loaded hit-by-pitch tied the game and Josh Hatcher’s infield single with one out sent the Dudy Noble Field faithful home happy with a 5-4 victory over Quinnipiac.
Mississippi State (9-4) opened the scoring with a single run in the fourth, before Quinnipiac (1-10) scored four runs – three unearned – in the sixth. State chipped away with one run in the sixth and one in the seventh, before the two-run ninth produced the dramatic victory.
“[The game is] playing us pretty tough right now," said MSU coach Chris Lemonis. "We’re probably trying too hard [and] pressing a little bit. I give them a lot of credit for [continuously] fighting. We got out of some jams late and we had a couple opportunities to score and couldn’t make it happen. We just got the next guy to the plate in the ninth, then Hatcher was able to squeeze one through there.”
Freshman Will Bednar threw 5 1/3 innings in his first career start, allowing one run on two hits. The right-hander walked two and struck out eight in the no decision. Junior Jared Shemper faced one batter and allowed one run, while senior Riley Self allowed two unearned runs in one inning of work.
Working the final three innings scoreless, freshman Landon Sims (1-0) collected his first career victory on the mound. He allowed just one baserunner – an eighth inning walk – and saw one batter reach on an error, while striking out five.
The Diamond Dogs out-hit the Bobcats, 8-4, and added three walks and three hit-by-pitch to their reached-base total. Hatcher had two singles and a double to lead the way, while freshman Kamren James, and juniors Justin Foscue, Rowdey Jordan and Jordan Westburg each reached twice in the game.
Foscue, Hatcher, James and Westburg all collected RBIs, with James hitting his first-career home run to lead off the seventh inning. Freshman Mason Land worked a full-count walk in the third at-bat of the ninth inning before coming in to score the game-winning run.
Mississippi State will look for its second series sweep of the season on Sunday, versus Quinnipiac. First pitch on Kids Day at the Park is slated for 1 p.m.