STARKVILLE, Miss. -- No. 21 Mississippi State walked away with another Top-10 win Saturday afternoon, knocking off No. 10 Oregon, 9-3, at Dudy Noble Field.
After winning the three-game-weekend series opener 10-4 Friday night, MSU clinched its first series win against a Top-10 team since beating No. 3 Vanderbilt twice from March 21-23, 2014.
"Their struggles in the first inning really got us going," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "It was good to have that kind of lead. Austin (Sexton) really had a great start. He got going too fast there in the sixth inning and we had to get him some help.
"We are searching for spots to get our bullpen guys in, because they are all good. We have had some young guys who when given the opportunity have come in and really made the most of it. We've won two games against a team really highly-thought of around the country."
MSU (11-3-1) built a 5-0 lead with five runs in the first inning, thanks to four bases-loaded walks and one bases-loaded hit batsman. Oregon (8-4) was held scoreless until the eighth inning.
In that first inning, Jacob Robson and Jack Kruger had hits. Reid Humphreys drew a walk to load the bases. Things then quickly unraveled for Oregon sophomore left-hander Matt Krook.
Krook walked Nathaniel Lowe and Ryan Gridley to force in a pair of runs. Luke Alexander was then hit with the bases loaded. Krook did not survive the first inning as the Bulldogs increased the lead with both Hunter Stovall and Robson drawing bases-loaded walks.
The early run support was a pleasing sight for MSU junior right-hander Austin Sexton, who knew what to do from there. Sexton turned in the staff's fifth quality start of the season by pitching six innings of shutout baseball with four hits allowed and a career-high 12 strikeouts.
State finished with 15 strikeouts, giving them 15-plus strikeouts for the second time this season after not doing it once last spring.
In the fourth inning, Robson again got things going with a leadoff triple. An infield error followed allowing a run to score. Pinch runner Mike Smith came home on an RBI-single by Gavin Collins.
MSU stretched the lead to 9-0 in the seventh inning. Nathaniel Lowe and Stovall had run-producing doubles in that at-bat. MSU now has 43 doubles on the season.
Ethan Small worked the seventh inning on the mound for MSU. Small began the eighth inning but was lifted after a single and walk. Jacob Billingsley followed to the mound. The shutout was broken up by a wild pitch during a two-run eighth inning for the Ducks.
Paul Young faced five batters in relief before giving way to Kale Breaux in the ninth inning. Breaux came in with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and hit a batter to force in a run. After that, a strikeout, flyout and popout ended the contest.
After collecting 13 hits in the Friday night win, the Bulldogs had 11 hits Saturday. MSU has now had 10 or more hits in 10 games this season.
Robson, Brown and Gridley each had two hits apiece. Gridley now has a team-best tying seven multiple hit games, while Robson has four and Brown has three.
MSU and Oregon will complete the three-game weekend series with a 10:30 a.m. start Sunday at Dudy Noble Field. That contest will be available nationally on SEC Network +.