Despite dropping the series opener on Friday night 13-4 to Arizona State, Mississippi State took the loss personally and came out on Saturday and Sunday with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. On both days, Arizona State would apply the pressure early on Mississippi State by getting runners across the plate to score the game’s first points. Mississippi State would respond by not giving up to the pressure and settling in to play Mississippi State Baseball.
In the mid-week series, Mississippi won one and lost one against Lousiana Monroe, and heading into the Arizona State series, needed a series win to gather some confidence. What better way to defeat the Arizona Sun Devils in two games before getting ready to take on Southern Miss in Pearl, Mississippi, on Tuesday night? No question about it, baseball is a long season, but every series win in nonconference play is crucial.
On Saturday, it was all Mississippi State as the Bulldogs responded to the early runs from the one run from Arizona State, and Bulldogs cruised to an easy 5-1 win over the Sun Devils. Starting pitcher Graham Yntema for Mississippi State went five innings, three hits, one run, and six strikeouts. From there, the Bulldogs would bring Evan Siary to pitch three innings, two hits, with three strikeouts. For the 9th, Mississippi State had Nate Dohm close the door on Arizona State. Dohm came in to pitch the 9th and dominated the Arizona State lineup by throwing some heat and securing the 5-1 win for Mississippi State forcing the rubber match on Sunday.
On Sunday, what started as a grudge match early was blown wide open in the bottom half of the 4th inning when Colton Ledbetter came up to the plate and launched a massive grand slam to deep right field, extending the Mississippi State lead to 9-2. Arizona State immediately went to the bullpen to bring Nolan Lebanoff in to pitch for Arizona State. Lane Forsythe added a solo shot in the bottom half of the 6th for Mississippi State to make it 10-2 Bulldogs heading into the last three innings. In the bottom half of the 7th, Hunter Hines got a hold of another Arizona State pitch for a two-run bomb for Mississippi State to further extend the lead to 12-2. Arizona State added a run in the top half of the 8th, but it wasn’t enough as Mississippi State cruised to a 16-3 series-clinching win over the Sun Devils.
Taking two out of three for Mississippi State over Arizona State is a lot to celebrate if you’re Head Coach Chris Lemonis. Arizona State is an NCAA Tournament team, and the best part about it, Mississippi State learned a lot about its baseball team this weekend. On Saturday, the pitching did the work; on Sunday, it was the offensive explosion with 12 runs to secure the series over Arizona State. Overall, a good weekend was had by the Mississippi State Baseball program.
Mississippi State will hit the road on Tuesday night as they travel to Pearl, Mississippi, to take on Southern Miss.