STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State recorded its second walk-off win in as many days Sunday afternoon as the Bulldogs beat the Tennessee Volunteers 4-3 in 12 innings on Mother’s Day at Dudy Noble Field.
In the 12th inning, the Bulldogs loaded the bases with no outs but were not assured victory until Cody Brown drew a two-out walk on a 3-1 pitch. MSU beat Tennessee in extra innings twice in the series, similar to the 2012 series here where the Bulldogs swept the series and won twice in extra innings.
MSU improved to 6-0 in extra-inning games this season. The Bulldogs enter the final weekend of the regular season in sole possession of second place in the Southeastern Conference Western Division standings. MSU is 33-19 overall and 16-11 in league play, while Tennessee is now 29-20 and 11-16.
“It’s all about finding a way on a Sunday in this league,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “The final game of a series comes down to the little things. We had our chances. Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of one of them there at the end.”
The story of the series finale may have been the relief pitching performance of Lucas Laster and Jacob Lindgren (4-1). The duo combined for 11 innings of six-hit shutout relief. For the series, the MSU bullpen threw 20.1 innings of scoreless relief.
Tennessee finished with seven runs in 31 innings of play. The Volunteers only scored in three frames. Tennessee hit .171 with three extra-base hits for the series.
“Lucas and Lingo were both great today,” Cohen said. “They really attacked the zone and challenged hitters. If we have one inning back from this series, it’s a totally different weekend.”
Tennessee touched MSU starter Preston Brown for three runs in one-plus innings of work.
Down 2-0, the Bulldogs scored in the first inning on a Gavin Collins RBI-single. The Maroon and White kept battling before touching UT starter Andy Cox in the sixth inning. Cody Walker drew a walk to start the sixth inning. Two outs later, Wes Rea hit his fourth home run of the season to tie the contest.
In the 11th inning, pinch hitter Daniel Garner ripped a two-out double for the Bulldogs. A wild pitch got Garner to third base but he was stranded there.
An inning later, UT’s first error of the inning opened the door for the Bulldogs. After Demarcus Henderson reached on that error, UT botched a bunt attempt by Cody Brown. An intentional walk to Seth Heck loaded the bases. After a fly out and ground out, the walk to Walker ended the contest.
MSU finished with seven hits and no multiple hitters.
UT finished with nine hits, including multi-hit games by Will Maddox, Christin Stewart and Taylor Smart. Andrew Lee (4-3) picked up the loss in 3.2 innings of relief.
MSU closes the regular season this weekend at Alabama. The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide meet at 6:35 p.m. Thursday, 6:05 p.m. Friday (CBS Sports Network) and 3:05 p.m. Saturday (CSS).