Bulldogs rout Wildcats in baseball

Jordan Westburg
For Starkville Daily News

Mississippi State’s offense erupted for its season-high in runs scored as the Bulldogs routed No. 17 Kentucky18-8 in the Southeastern Conference series finale Sunday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

MSU finished with 20 hits – the second-most hits in a game and the largest total in a conference game.

The Bulldogs improved to 28-24 overall and 12-15 in the league, while the Wildcats fell to 33-18 and 13-14.

“This was a great win for us,” MSU head coach Gary Henderson said. “We had a disappointing loss (Saturday) and it’s hard to bounce back from that on the road. It’s great to see the team continue to improve offensively.

Scoring runs early was important. Jacob Billingsley also gave us a great start on the mound.”

The Bulldogs got things going early Sunday with three runs in the first inning.

Rowdey Jordan and Tanner Allen had back-to-back one-out hits. After a wild pitch and throwing error scored one run, Hunter Stovall followed with an RBI-single and Elijah MacNamee added an RBI-double.

MSU ran the lead to 7-0 with four scores in the second inning.

Jordan Westburg got the inning started with a single. Jake Mangum scored Westburg on a double. Mangum scored on a single by Jordan. Allen followed with an RBI-double. A sacrifice fly by Stovall capped the scoring in that frame.

In the third inning, the Bulldogs scored twice to build a 9-0 lead.

Justin Foscue reached on a leadoff single. Marshall Gilbert reached on one of Kentucky’s five errors. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and each scored on a double by Westburg.

A solo home run by Trey Dawson got Kentucky on the board in the third inning.

After being held scoreless in the fourth inning, MSU responded with one run in the fifth inning and four scores in the sixth inning.

The highlights of the sixth inning included an RBI-single by Gilbert and a two-run double by Westburg.

After the Wildcats struck for four runs in the sixth inning and three runs in the eighth inning, the Bulldogs plated four insurance runs in the ninth inning.

MacNamee had a two-run double in that final at-bat, while both Mangum and Luke Alexander added RBI-singles.

Westburg finished with four hits and four RBI to lead MSU. MacNamee and Mangum each had three hits, while Jordan, Allen, Stovall and Gilbert had multiple hits.

Jacob Billingsley (4-3) pitched 5.2 innings to pick up the win. Billingsley allowed eight hits and five runs (all earned), with 11 strikeouts that demolished his previous career-high of seven. Zach Neff finished the sixth inning and pitched in the seventh inning before being lifted with one out in the eighth inning. Cole Gordon finished the contest.

State will conclude its regular season with a three-game series against defending national champion Florida. The three-game series at Dudy Noble Field will begin Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for all three games are available for purchase at HailState.com/tickets.