STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Timely hitting and a solid outing from the bullpen led Mississippi State baseball to its fourth-straight win to open the season on Tuesday (Feb. 20), as the Diamond Dawgs earned a 3-2 victory over UAB at Dudy Noble Field.
The Bulldogs (4-0) and Blazers (3-1) exchanged scoreless innings over the first four frames, before UAB was able to get to MSU starter senior Peyton Plumlee in the fifth. The Blazers used four singles to scratch across a pair of two-out runs, before freshman Brandon Smith got a lineout to end the frame.
State's offense was held in check by UAB starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft for 5 2/3 innings, as the righthander didn't allow a hit before exiting the game with two outs in the sixth. Ty Harris got the final out of the sixth for UAB, stranding a runner at first.
The no hitter was broken up by MSU sophomore Justin Foscue with one out in the seventh, as he sharply singled through the left side of the infield. He moved around to third, eventually scoring on a Dustin Skelton two-out infield single. Junior Gunner Halter reached on an error in the following at bat, with the pair moving into scoring position on a wild pitch.
Then, Jake Mangum delivered another signature moment in his career, ripping a base hit to right field to score both runs and give MSU the lead.
Smith tossed the sixth inning scoreless to account for 1 1/3 scoreless frames, junior Riley Self put up a scoreless seventh inning and graduate student Cole Gordon closed the door with two innings of one-hit relief. Gordon got the final out via ground out with a runner on third base for his first save of the season and extend his scoreless innings streak to 18 2/3 innings, dating back to the 2018 season.
Head Coach Chris Lemonis
On Peyton Plumlee
"I though Peyton was really good early, but I thought he got a little tired. He didn't throw too many balls, he threw too many strikes in the middle of the zone in that inning. He left some balls over the plate, but I thought he was really good tonight."
Graduate Student Cole Gordon
On Peyton Plumlee
"Peyton looked good. Peyton looked like how we had seen him all fall. He's aggressive in the zone, he [has] multiple pitches, multiple out pitches. So, it was exciting to see that though, over a course of a couple innings, I think it was four and change, two-thirds. That's what he is capable of, he's capable of running out there as a starter and going 5 plus or reliever as you saw this weekend and coming and shutting it down. It's exciting to see him back and see him pitching so well."
Peyton Plumlee – Fanned three batters in 4 2/3 innings of work in the start. He allowed two runs on seven hits and didn't walk a batter.
Jake Mangum – Delivered a pair of RBIs in the seventh inning to give MSU the lead. Mangum now has a hit in 149 of 180 starts in his career.
Cole Gordon – Extended his scoreless innings streak to 18 2/3 innings, dating back to 2018, with two scoreless frames versus UAB. He struck out four, walked one and allowed one hit to collect his first save of the season.
Rowdey Jordan – Extended his reached base streak to seven games with a seventh inning walk.
'Pen Wins – The Mississippi State bullpen continued to have a solid start to the year, throwing 3 1/3 innings scoreless. The combination of Brandon Smith, Riley Self and Gordon struck out seven, walked two and allowed just one hit.
Graham Ashcraft – Didn't allow a hit over 5 2/3 innings of work in a no decision. Walked two and hit one batter in the outing.
Colton Schultz – Drove in both of UAB's runs with a two-RBI single in the fifth inning. Also had UAB's first hit of the game, a first-inning single.
UAB chased Plumlee with four singles in the inning, three coming with two outs. J Paul Fullerton started things off with a one-out knock and, after a flyout, Tyler Tolbert and Jess Davis loaded the bases with singles. Colton Schultz got his second hit of the afternoon, a single to center field to plate the first two runs of the game.
UAB 2, Mississippi State 0
Foscue singled to break up the no hitter and moved to second on a wild pitch. After moving to third on a groundout, Foscue came across to score on an RBI single from Skelton. After Gunner Halter reached on an error, both runners moved up a base via wild pitch. Insert Mangum, who drove a ball into right field, scoring both runners to give MSU its first lead in the game.
Mississippi State 3, UAB 2
Mississippi State remains at Dudy Noble Field for a three-game series with Southern Miss, beginning Friday, Feb. 22 at 4 p.m. The series opener will also be the first Fireworks Friday of the season, featuring the sounds of "The Sandlot."