(Photo Courtesy: Kelly Price, MSU Athletics)
LAKE CHARLES, La. (WCBI/MSU Athletics) – A pair of home runs hurt the cause as No. 21 Mississippi State dropped a 6-3 decision to McNeese State, Wednesday night at Joe Miller Park.
The Cowboys (2-6) made the most of five extra-base hits. A double created a 2-0 lead for the hosts. McNeese took the lead on a two-run home run. The next score came after a triple and steal of home. Another home run represented an insurance score for the Cowboys.
“We were unable to get the key base hit with runners in scoring position,” MSU head coach Gary Henderson said. “On the mound, it was a tough start but Keegan (James) really pitched well in relief and gave us a chance.”
Down 2-0, MSU (3-5) tied things with a pair of scores in the second inning. Justin Foscue started things with a one-out single. Tanner Allen followed with a hit. A ground ball out moved both runners. Dustin Skelton then brought both home with a two-run single.
In the eighth inning, Foscue and Allen started things with back-to-back hits. Alex Pender drew a walk to load the bases. Another walk to Luke Alexander brought in a run. However, a strikeout of Jake Mangum snuffed that threat and left the bases loaded.
The Bulldogs had one last threat in the ninth inning as Hunter Stovall connected for a one-out double. A strikeout and groundout ended that frame, and the ballgame.
Jared Liebelt drew the start but was lifted with one out in the first inning. Keegan James (0-1) followed with a career-best 5.1 innings for the Bulldogs. James allowed six hits and three runs (all earned), with seven strikeouts and two walks. Cole Gordon finished the contest for the Bulldogs with 2.1 innings of one-hit relief work.
Reid Bourque had two of McNeese’s eight hits. Jake Cochran hit the two-run home run, while Carson Maxwell hit a solo shot.
Tyler Wesley (1-1) pitched five innings to earn the win. Peyton McLemore followed but was lifted in the eighth inning. Grant Anderson finished the contest for his first save.
Allen had three hits, while Stovall and Foscue each had two of the Bulldogs’ 10 hits.
The Diamond Dawgs will return to Houston to prepare for the Shriner’s College Classic which will be played at Minute Maid Park, home of the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros. MSU will take on UL-Lafayette, Houston and Sam Houston State on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.