ATHENS, Ga. (MSU Athletics) – Georgia sophomore left-handed pitcher Ryan Lawlor proved too much for the Mississippi State baseball team Friday night.
Lawlor pitched 7.2 innings, allowing eight hits but only one run, as Georgia knocked off MSU 7-1 in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams at Foley Field.
MSU (13-8 overall, 0-1 SEC) dropped its conference opener for a fifth straight season. Georgia (13-6, 1-0) won its 11th straight game.
MSU starting pitcher Ben Bracewell (2-2) lasted two innings and left the contest with his team down 3-0. Georgia tacked on two more scores in the third inning and single scores in the fifth and sixth innings. MSU finally broke up the shutout in the eighth inning.
“We didn’t play well tonight,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “Our seniors didn’t lead us. Our freshman players got attacked a little bit. We got to find someone who can step out there on a Friday night and be competitive. We have to do that offensively, but really on the mound. We got to figure it out.”
MSU collected nine hits, stranded seven base runners but had few threats. The Bulldogs had back-to-back hits in the fifth inning but a base running mistake snuffed that threat. In the eighth inning, an RBI-single by Wes Rea broke up the shutout. The Bulldogs left two runners on base in that at-bat.
Georgia built the early lead on a misplay in the outfield, an RBI-double by Jess Posey and a sacrifice fly by Stephen Wrenn. Austin Sexton followed Bracewell and was touched for two runs on only one base hit over two innings of work.
Vance Tatum (1.2 innings) and Myles Gentry (2.1 innings) also pitched for the Maroon and White.
Alex Detz was the lone multiple hitter for MSU as he had three of his team’s nine hits.
“We got to put more pressure on them,” Cohen said. “They pressured us but we did not attack back. We did not attack the game offensively. On defense, we didn’t make some plays. Brett Pirtle was absolutely great, but we have some outfielders not getting to some balls.
“We have the players. We just have to figure it out.”
Lawlor (2-1) was followed by Dylan Cole on the mound. Connor Welton and Posey each had three of Georgia’s 10 hits.
The series resumes with an 11 a.m. CT start Saturday. That contest will be televised regionally by Fox Sports Net South and will also be available on ESPN3.