Video: Diamond Dogs Drop 2016 Season Opener
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/MSU Athletics) – Mississippi State found a lot of things to its liking in a season-opening baseball game at Dudy Noble Field.
The 11th-ranked Bulldogs got a strong start from junior right-hander Dakota Hudson and an Opening Day school-record crowd of 9,413 were in attendance. MSU also saw the debut of 11 first-year players and five first-year pitchers.
However, 17 hits would not be enough as MSU dropped a 10-6 decision to Florida Atlantic.
Winning its second game of the day Friday, Florida Atlantic broke a 2-2 tie by scoring eight times in the seventh inning.
“We had a ton of new players,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “We had to see what some of them could do. We saw some positive things. We saw some things that were not good. We had 46 plate appearances and only walked once.
“On the other hand, we walked too many and made too many mistakes. Dakota pitched well. When he doesn’t walk people, he can be really good. Our younger guys are caught up velocity right now. That doesn’t matter if you can’t locate. We have the arms. We have the talent. We just have to get going in the right direction.”
FAU reached Hudson for a pair of runs on three hits in the first inning. One run scored on a balk, while the other run scored on an RBI-single by Esteban Puerta.
The Bulldogs battled back with solo runs in the third and fifth innings.
In the third inning, Jack Kruger started a strong MSU debut with an RBI-double, bringing home Jacob Robson, who had singled. Another newcomer found the RBI column in the fifth inning on an RBI-single by Nathaniel Lowe.
Hudson overcame his shaky first inning with four strong frames. While notching a new career high with eight strikeouts, Hudson allowed five hits and two runs (both earned), with three walks. A total of seven Bulldogs would see the mound.
Kale Breaux (0-1) was lifted with one out in the seventh inning and took the loss.
An RBI-single by Billy Endris broke a 2-2 tie with one out in the seventh inning. C.J. Chatham followed with an RBI-single. A two-run hit by Puerta may have been the big blow in the inning.
The Bulldogs still kept battling.
In the seventh inning, Brent Rooker doubled and later scored on a double by Reid Humphreys.
An inning later, the Bulldogs closed within five runs. Switch-hitting Luke Alexander hit the Maroon and White’s first round-tripper from the left side. Robson followed with a single and scored on a double by Kruger.
FAU left fielder Christian Dicks then made his second nice running catch of the contest to snuff that threat.
In the ninth inning, the Bulldogs tallied again. Hunter Stovall had a two-out RBI-single. However, a groundball out followed and the Bulldogs stranded a pair.
Robson, Kruger, Humphreys and Gridley each had three hits for the Bulldogs.
Chatham and Puerta each had three hits for FAU, which finished with 12 hits.
MSU will face South Dakota State at noon and Florida Atlantic at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.