TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (MSU Athletics) – Mississippi State kicked off its final weekend of Southeastern Conference play on a strong note with a 9-4 victory over Alabama Thursday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The Bulldogs pounded out 14 hits and broke open a tight game with three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.
MSU improved to 34-19 overall and 17-11 in league play, while Alabama fell to 33-20 and 14-13. The Bulldogs remain in sole possession of second place in the Western Division, only one game behind the leader. MSU is now guaranteed no worse than a third-place finish in the division with two regular-season games remaining.
“Up and down throughout the entire lineup, we had some really good swings tonight,” MSU head coach John Cohen said.”Alex Detz was really clutch. C.T. Bradford had a great night. Brett Pirtle got on base three times. Gavin Collins had some really great at-bats but did an even better job behind the plate. He has had some struggles this season, but he keeps getting better and better and is going to be a great player for us.
The Bulldogs built a 1-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI-single by Detz.
After UA tied the contest in the fourth inning, the Maroon and White surged ahead for good in the fifth inning. Jake Vickerson and C.T. Bradford set the plate with a pair of hits. Detz brought home the go-ahead run on a ground ball. Pirtle and Seth Heck followed with back-to-back RBI-singles.
UA starter Geoffrey Bramblett (4-2) was lifted with two outs in the fifth inning. The UA bullpen was touched for seven more hits and five runs.
Bradford and Heck had RBI-singles, while Detz had a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, as the Bulldogs built the lead to 7-2. Detz closed the MSU scored with a two-run single in the seventh inning.
MSU starting pitcher Trevor Fitts threw 4.1 innings. Fitts had a stretch where he retired nine in a row. Jacob Lindgren (5-1) finished the fifth inning and threw the sixth inning, before Myles Gentry threw the final three innings. Gentry was touched for four hits and two runs (both earned), while earning his third save.
“Trevor really got us off to a good start,” Cohen said. “We only had to use Jacob for 16 pitches since we got a big lead and that is really big for the rest of the series. Myles got tired there at the end because he has not thrown a lot here lately but he got the job done.”
MSU finished with 14 hits. Bradford had three hits, while Detz, Pirtle, Heck and Vickerson each had multiple hits. Detz had a career-high five RBIs.
Alabama finished with seven hits. Mikey White and Casey Hughston each had two hits for the Crimson Tide.
The series resumes at 6:05 p.m. Friday. That contest will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network.