STARVKILLE — Mississippi State led off Super Bulldog Weekend with a disappointing loss to Ole Miss on Friday night.
Down two runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Hunter Hines drilled a solo home run over the right field wall to give the Diamond Dawgs a chance, but that was all they could muster on their way to a 3-2 loss.
The Bulldogs (20-15, 3-10 Southeastern Conference) went into a low-scoring battle, but strong performances from Ole Miss (20-14, 3-10 SEC) starter Jack Dougherty and reliever Mitch Murrell made the difference.
Dakota Jordan made the final out, unable to replicate his solo home run at the bottom of the fifth, the Bulldogs’ first hit of the night.
It was a high pressure situation, but he embraced it.
“I wanted to be up there. I was just saying, Hunter, get me up there,” Jordan said after the game. “Michael Jordan always wanted to be that guy that saved a game or made a big shot. He failed a lot. I wanted to be the guy up there to get the job done, but it happens. So we move onto the next.”
The Bulldogs, typically a good offensive team, registered just three hits all night. Two of those were solo home runs by Jordan and Hines, respectively, which kept them in the game, but otherwise found very little for themselves at the plate.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to their starter and bullpen guy, but we don’t do enough offensively,” MSU head coach Chris Lemonis remarked when evaluating the game. “Just not enough good at bats, and too many one-pitch outs to start innings or one-pitch outs … We’ve been really good offensively this year. Just didn’t have a good night tonight. Too many guys that had nights where they didn’t contribute anything.”
Bulldog starter Cade Smith had a decent night on the mound, allowing just one run through the first four innings.
Colby Holcombe and KC Hunt followed in relief out of the bullpen, allowing an additional run each, but overall the three pitchers avoided their typical problems.
Only two Ole Miss batters walked on the night, and ten were struck out.
Mississippi State’s strong night on the mound didn’t translate offensively but a chance to even up the series at 3 p.m. Saturday awaits.
A record crowd is expected following the fourth-highest on-campus attendance in college baseball history on Friday, 14,739 fans at Dudy Noble Field.
“I’m not worried at all,” Jordan said about shaking off the loss. “I feel like tomorrow we’ll come back ready to go. First inning, first pitch we’ll be ready.”
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