STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics) – Just seven Bulldogs had reached base through the first seven innings of Friday (Feb. 21) afternoon’s series opener with Oregon State, but the Mississippi State baseball program sent nine hitters to the plate, with six collecting hits, to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 6-2 victory at Dudy Noble Field.
Oregon State (2-3) took the lead with a single run in the fourth inning and pushed the lead to 2-0 with a run in the eighth. However, Mississippi State (4-0) would see the first six batters reach base in the bottom of the eighth, including a two-RBI single from junior Justin Foscue and the go-ahead three-run home run from sophomore Brandon Pimentel. Freshman Kamren James also scored on a passed ball in the inning to cap the scoring at 6-2.
Graduate student Carlisle Koestler limited Oregon State to just two hits and two walks over three scoreless innings. The right-hander struck out four and threw 68 pitches in the no decision. Freshman Landon Sims threw two innings and allowed one run on two hits, while graduate student David Dunlavey (1-0) fired three innings of one-run work to pick up the win. Graduate student Spencer Price retired the final three batters of the game, ending it with a strikeout.
At the plate, MSU had just three hits through seven innings, before exploding for five hits and six runs in the bottom of the eighth. The come-from-behind win is the second this season and the 30th since the start of the 2019 campaign.
Junior Jordan Westburg and sophomore Luke Hancock each posted two hits in the game, with Westburg and Foscue each reaching base three times in the series opener. Pimentel has a hit in three straight games, as he launched his first career home run as a Diamond Dawg into the Left Field Lounge.
Westburg wasted no time extending his career-long hitting streak to 12 games and his career-best reached base streak to 24 games with a first inning single. Junior Rowdey Jordan‘s eighth inning single moved his hit streak to six games and his reached base streak to 13 contests.
Head Coach Chris Lemonis
On what a series like this means early in the series
“I think [a series like this] is huge. We know in our league, in our division, on Friday night, you are facing some of the best in the country and is just another game like that. There aren’t many [pitchers] better than the guy we faced tonight. It’s a lesson for our ball club because you can’t put your head down and pout. We had some guys have some really tough at-bats early, but I’m really proud of Josh Hatcher’s at-bat in the eighth [inning]. He had had a tough day and some tough matchups on the lefties, and that walk was huge. Rowdey had struck out a couple of times but competes, fights and fists that ball into the infield and he hustled down the line to get it going. Hopefully, we can build off that for the future.”
On the postseason feel at Dudy Noble Field
“Yeah, I had that [postseason] feeling to it…I felt like we may have pressed a little bit trying to get out there and get something going. We talked to our guys before the game about, “That’s why you bring Oregon State in here.” You want to feel and play in these environments while playing against the best competition in the country.”
Sophomore Brandon Pimentel
On winning the series opener
“It’s a big win. It builds confidence. We’re just going to keep moving forward through the weekend and getting better. We have to get ready for tomorrow.”
A Kyler McMahan double was bookended by outs, before Andy Armstrong singled up the middle to produce the first run of the game.
Oregon State 1, Mississippi State 0
Micah McDowell started the inning with a walk, moved to second on a deep flyball out and advanced to third on a wild pitch, before coming in to score on a Ryan Ober single to right field.
Oregon State 2, Mississippi State 0
The first six batters of the inning reached base and each of them came around to score in MSU’s second come-from-behind win of the season. Rowdey Jordan singled, Jordan Westburg doubled, and Josh Hatcher walked to start the inning. Justin Foscue tied the game with a two-RBI single and Brandon Pimentel followed with a three-run home run. Kamren James then singled, moved to second on a bunt and third on a ground out, before he scored on a passed ball.
Mississippi State 6, Oregon State 2
Mississippi State and Oregon State will throw the first pitch of game two at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 22 at Dudy Noble Field. The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a commemorative mini bat honoring Jake Mangum as the SEC Hits King.