After spending most of the day worrying if they would even get to play, the Mississippi State baseball team played well into the night Tuesday at Trustmark Park.
Thundershowers left the area just in time for MSU to knock off Southern Mississippi 4-3 in an 11-inning thriller played as part of the College Series at Trustmark Park.
The Bulldogs scored the game-winning run in the home half of the 11th inning as Derrick Armstrong trotted home from third on a one-out wild pitch.
MSU improved to 11-6 all-time at Trustmark Park, home of the Mississippi Braves, a minor-league affiliate for the Atlanta Braves organization. For MSU, it was a first-ever extra-inning game at Trustmark Park and matched a 4-2, 11-inning loss in 1994 as the longest game ever played against Southern Miss.
The Bulldogs have now beaten the Golden Eagles six straight times.
“We had so many good offensive situations out there and we didn’t cash them in,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “I felt like we left about 10 runs out there. Southern Miss hung in there and hung in there. I thought we pitched it really well and defended the field great.
“We just had some situational hitting opportunities where we didn’t come through and we also made way too many base running mistakes.”
MSU (21-13) built a 2-0 lead with single runs in the second and third innings. The Bulldogs started the scoring when Armstrong and Gavin Collins each had hits in the second inning. A misplay in the outfield scored the game’s first run. An RBI-single by C.T. Bradford upped the lead to 2-0.
Southern Miss (19-15) tied the contest in the fourth inning when Mason Robbins blooped a two-out single into the edge of the outfield grass.
MSU starting pitcher Ben Bracewell was lifted after the fourth inning. Bracewell allowed four hits and two runs (both earned), with four strikeouts and no walks. From there, Brandon Woodruff, Jacob Lindgren and Jonathan Holder combined to allow three hits and one run the rest of the way.
Bulldog hurlers combined to strike out 16 batters which matched a season high.
“Brandon was outstanding,” Cohen said.”Jacob followed and really threw strikes. We had a situation there where the walk and the hit batsman really hurt us in the eighth inning.”
MSU grabbed the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Armstrong walked and Collins singled. An infield hit by Cody Brown. A double play ball helped the Golden Eagles worked their way out of the inning but did plate Armstrong with the go-ahead run.
Thanks in large part to Woodruff, things stayed that way until the eighth inning. In relief, Lindgren got a second out before hitting a batter and walking another. Matt Durst followed with a game-tying RBI-single.
The tie remained until the Bulldogs walked it off in the second extra frame. Armstrong drew a leadoff walk and took second on a balk. A sacrifice bunt by Collins moved Armstrong to third base and a wild pitch brought him home.
For the contest, MSU finished with 10 hits. Brett Pirtle had three hits, while Armstrong and Collins each had two hits. The Bulldogs stranded 11 base runners.
Southern Miss had seven hits but no multiple hitters. The Golden Eagles made the only three errors in the game.
MSU returns home for a Super Bulldog Weekend three-game series with in-state rival Ole Miss. The Bulldogs and Rebels meet at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday (Fox Sports Net South) and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Dudy Noble Field.