TUCSON, Ariz. — A much improved offensive effort by the No. 12 Mississippi State baseball team still didn’t lead to victory Saturday afternoon.
MSU had nine hits and a flurry of scoring chances, but Cal Santa Barbara made a two-run fourth inning stand up and held on for a 7-6 victory on the second day of the Hi Corbett Classic.
MSU (11-7) will attempt to avoid a four-game weekend sweep in the three-day event when it returns to the diamond at 7 tonight against Arizona.
The Bulldogs started the scoring early. Jake Vickerson led off with a double. After taking third on an error, Vickerson scored on a sacrifice fly by Alex Detz.
After UCSB (9-1) touched starting pitcher Trevor Fitts for a pair of scores, MSU answered with a game-tying run in the second. Seth Heck and Cody Brown each had hits. Heck scored on a balk.
Ross Mitchell relieved Fitts in the third, but he wild pitched the go-ahead run home and later walked in a run. In between, Robby Nesovic had an RBI single. Mitchell worked out of a bases-loaded jam.
MSU tied the game 5-5 with three runs in the fourth. Brett Pirtle singled and Heck was hit by a pitch. C.T. Bradford followed with a two-run triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cody Brown.
The Gauchos reached Mitchell for two runs on four hits in the fourth. The junior left-hander suffered his first career loss after 18 straight wins. Mitchell (2-1) threw the final 5 2/3 innings, allowing only one hit after the fourth.
MSU added a run in the sixth on a single by Brown and sacrifice fly by Gavin Collins. The Bulldogs stranded two runners in the eighth and went down in order in the ninth.
Vickerson and Brown had multiple hits. Wes Rea also reached base safely in the 17th game of 18 played this season. The Bulldogs saw a string of 71 2/3 innings of errorless ball snapped in the second. They had two errors.
UCSB had two hits from Joey Epperson, Woody Woodard, Cameron Newell and Nesovic.
Cameron Cuneo (1-0) earned the win in relief to help the Gauchos earn their eighth victory in a row.