A gutsy effort goes by the wayside on Saturday for the Mississippi State Bulldogs as they drop the Saturday matchup against the Vanderbilt Commodores 4-3 in 12 innings.
Vanderbilt (13-18, 4-7) plated their lone earned run of the contest in the 12th inning when left fielder, Tony Kemp, overcame his 0-for-5 afternoon by reaching base via a one-out walk. He took second on a Will Cox balk before Anthony Gomez delivered the game-winning single to left which scored Kemp.
“I’m proud of the way we played for the most part, but offensively we were not very good,” said Mississippi State head coach John Cohen. “Obviously, that’s my responsibility.”
The Bulldogs (19-12, 4-7) simply couldn’t solve Vandy starter Tyler Beede. The talented freshman pitched into the seventh inning allowing one run on just two hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
“You have to tip your hat to him, he was just good (Saturday) and that’s all you can say,” said MSU's Hunter Renfroe.
The Commodores struck first in the sixth inning with three unearned runs in the frame. The normally sure-handed C.T. Bradford dropped a one-out fly ball off the bat of Gomez that set the table for a pair of singles and a hit-by-pitch to give the 'Dores the 3-0 lead.
“I think it is really easy to point at somebody like C.T., (because) he dropped a fly ball that was huge, but at the same time he saved a run by making a diving play,” said Cohen.
MSU starter Kendall Graveman was lifted in the sixth during the Vandy rally after pitching a brilliant 5.2 innings giving up just four hits and the three unearned runs. He walked a batter while striking out seven.
“I thought Kendall deserved better,” Cohen said. “I thought he threw the ball pretty well.”
In typical MSU fashion, the Bulldogs battled and mounted a comeback in the seventh. Wes Rea opened the inning with a leadoff walk, which chased Beede from the game. Sam Frost and Daryl Norris then drew walks to load the bases when Brent Brownlee and Hunter Renfro both drove in runs with RBI groundouts, pulling MSU within one run at 3-2.
State tied the game with two outs in the ninth as Renfroe ripped a ball off the wall in left-center scoring Tyler Fullerton who was pinch-running for Brownlee. Brownlee got things started after being hit by a pitch. However, the game-extending rally was all the runs State could score.
For the game, the Bulldogs collected just five hits while the Commodores turned in 10.
MSU sent seven hurlers to the mound with Jacob Lindgren picking up his first loss of the season.
“We made some spectacular plays defensively," Cohen said. "I thought we did a lot of things right, except at home plate. We just didn’t put our face on the barrel and bear down, do the things we need to do to win a game in the Southeastern Conference.”
The same two teams meet today to determine the series winner in an Easter Sunday showdown with a 1:30 p.m. scheduled first pitch at Dudy Noble Field.