Mississippi State edges LSU 2-1 to take series
BATON ROUGE, La. – Right-hander Austin Sexton limited fifth-ranked LSU to one run in 7.1 innings Saturday as No. 6 Mississippi State edged the Tigers 2-1 in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field on Saturday night.
With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 27-12-1 and 10-7 in Southeastern Conference play while LSU fell to 26-13 and 9-8 in conference games.
Game 3 of the series will start Sunday at 12 p.m. in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field and will be aired on ESPN2. The game can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge. Fans can go to LSUsports.net for live stats and audio through the GeauxZone.
Sexton (4-2) earned the win after tossing 7.1 innings and allowing one run on five hits, striking out four.
Right-hander Reid Humphreys collected his fifth save of the season, firing 0.2 innings and gave up no hits.
LSU right-hander Alex Lange (4-3) was charged with the loss despite a brilliant effort on the mound. He allowed only two runs – one earned -- on just four hits with seven strikeouts in a nine-inning performance.
The outing marked the first complete game by an LSU pitcher since Lange accomplished the feat last June in the College World Series against Cal State Fullerton.
Saturday’s win gave Mississippi State its first series victory over LSU since 2006. The Tigers had won nine consecutive series over the Bulldogs.
“Alex Lange pitched his heart out tonight, and it’s a shame we couldn’t win the game,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We certainly didn’t play poorly; in fact, we played very well behind Alex for most of the game. You have to credit Mississippi State – we knew their pitcher was going to keep spinning up breaking balls, and we couldn’t quite get adjusted to it.
“We have to turn the page on this game and look forward to trying to get a win tomorrow. Every game in the 30-game SEC schedule is important, and it’s high-caliber baseball where the margin of error is very small. We need to come back out here tomorrow and raise our level of play because Mississippi State has an excellent team.”
In the top of the first inning, designated hitter Jack Kruger hit a solo shot to left field, giving the Bulldogs an early 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs extended their lead 2-0 in the top of the sixth inning as Humphreys, who started the game in left field, hit an RBI sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to score centerfielder Jake Mangum. The run was unearned, as Mangum had reached base on an LSU error.
LSU got on the board in the eighth as centerfielder Jake Fraley grounded out to short to bring pinch hitter Beau Jordan home from third, cutting the Bulldogs lead to 2-1.
Shortstop Kramer Robertson doubled with one out in the ninth and moved to third on designated hitter Bryce Jordan’s groundout to second. However, Humphreys retired third baseman Chris Reid on a liner to shortstop to end the game.