STARKVILLE – The game of baseball can be an unpredictable game and on Tuesday evening it was just that for the No. 3 Mississippi State baseball program in its 5-1 victory over Texas Southern at Dudy Noble Field.
In the midst of eight games in 11 days, the Mississippi State (32-6) took an early 1-0 lead over Texas Southern (11-26) in the first inning, before the Tigers plated the equalizer in the third thanks to an MSU error. Then it was four innings of nothing for either side, before the Diamond Dogs scored four runs in the eighth to push the midweek record to 12-0.
“I think you have to tip your hat to their guy who pitched tonight [Alex Olguin]," said MSU coach Chris Lemonis. "I thought he pitched a great game. Especially for a freshman, to come in here and pitch with that composure, it’s tough. He was mixing pitches, probably a little below bat speed. It made it tough on our guys, so they were starting to get frustrated there.”
Seven different MSU pitchers combined to allowed one unearned run on two hits. The staff walked six and struck out eight in the game. The Tigers two hits came in the first two at bats of the game, meaning the MSU squad didn’t allow a hit over the final 30 plate appearances in the game.
Junior Colby White (2-1) earned the victory with a clean eighth inning of work, striking out one.
At the plate, senior Jake Mangum singled and came around to score in the first inning to move his hitting streak to 18 games, while sophomore Justin Foscue drove in the game-winning run with an RBI single to start the scoring in the eighth inning, pushing his hitting streak to 10 games.
“I thought we put a few good at bats [together] in the first [inning]," Foscue said. "We had hits in the first couple of innings, we just couldn’t get that last one to get some runs. Their guy settled in. We got ourselves out a few times when we didn’t swing at the right pitches. We were swinging out of the zone. That eighth inning, Tanner Allen and Elijah MacNamee put some at bats together. It was more about putting more at bats together and swinging at the right pitches. I think that is what we should have done better.”
Junior Dustin Skelton came off the bench as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning and got his lone at bat in the eighth, promptly hitting a three-run home run to extend the MSU lead and move his reached base streak to 22 games.
MacNamee got the scoring started with an RBI double in the first inning, scoring Mangum.
Mississippi State hits the road for a three-game series starting on Thursday, April 18 at Arkansas. The series opener will air on ESPNU starting at 8 p.m. CT. Friday’s contest is slated for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch, while Saturday’s game is at 2 p.m.