Mississippi State Baseball: No. 8 Dawgs sweep visiting Cats

Mississippi State junior centerfielder Rowdey Jordan led the Bulldogs to a 9-6 opening day victory over Wright State.Rowdey Jordan
Mississippi State junior centerfielder Rowdey Jordan led the Bulldogs to a 9-6 opening day victory over Wright State.Rowdey Jordan /

Mississippi State Baseball: No. 8 Mississippi State takes three against Kentucky

What a difference a week makes. No. 8 Mississippi State found itself on the right side of a Southeastern Conference sweep this weekend, taking care of the visiting Kentucky Wildcats in the Thursday-Friday-Saturday series.

The Bulldogs opened up the series with an 8-1 win on Thursday night. Mississippi State came from behind to win 3-2 Friday night before capping off the sweep with a 4-3 decision on Saturday. State improved to 20-7 overall, 5-4 in SEC play following the weekend.

Pitching and a bases-clearing double from Kamren James were the highlights in Thursday’s night 8-1 in which Mississippi State controlled from the start. Christian MacLeod (3-2) earned the win in six innings of work, allowing just two hits and striking out 11.

The Bulldog pitching staff showed out again on Saturday, as starter Will Bednar went six innings, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out 10 Wildcats. Kentucky led 2-0 until the bottom of the sixth when Tanner Allen singled to right field, and Brayland Skinner made an acrobatic, SportsCenter Top Ten dive to evade the tag at home plate to get MSU on the board.

Luke Hancock drove in the tying run two batters later with a sacrifice fly and came through again with the game-winning sac fly in the eight. Landon Sims (2-0) induced a 1-6-3 to end in the ninth, securing a 3-2 win and an SEC series in the process.

The sun played a key factor in Sunday’s ballgame, with Mississippi State striking first on a Tanner Allen sac fly that scored Rowdey Jordan, who tripled on a flyball that was lost in deep center by Austin Schultz.

Oraj Anu reached on a pop-up down the third-base line that Lane Forsythe couldn’t find, and Chase Estep drove him in two batters later to tie things up at 2 in the top of the second. State responded in the bottom half as Luke Hancock led off with a shot over the right-field wall, his seventh of the year.

Logan Tanner deposited his fourth home run of the year onto Adkerson Plaza to give MSU a 4-1 lead in the fourth. Kentucky answered with a run in the fifth to cut the lead to 4-2. The Wildcats got another in the eighth to draw within a run, but Parker Stinnett closed the door in the ninth to earn his first career save and finish off the sweep of the Cats.

Rowdey Jordan enjoyed a solid weekend at the plate, going 5-for-11 with a home run and a triple. The Bulldog pitching staff was dominant all weekend long, allowing just five earned runs while striking out 39.

Mississippi State did what it needed to do to get back on track after the Arkansas series, and sweeping in the SEC is hard to come by. State looks poised to jump back in the top five in most of the polls come Monday.

Mississippi State returns to Dudy Noble Field on Tuesday at 6:30 PM CT to take on Southern. State will then travel to Plainsman Park this weekend to take on Auburn and former pitching coach Butch Thompson. Friday night’s first pitch is set for 6 PM CT, with Saturday and Sunday’s each starting at 2 PM CT.