BATON ROUGE, La. -- Junior right-hander Austin Sexton stood tallest in a dynamic Southeastern Conference pitchers' duel Saturday night.
Sexton (4-2) pitched 7.1 innings of five-hit baseball and the bullpen took it from there as No. 11 Mississippi State knocked off No. 7 LSU 2-1 at Alex Box Stadium.
With the win, MSU clinched its first conference series win at LSU since 2006. The Bulldogs have now won five of their first six conference series this year. MSU improved to 27-12-1 overall and 10-7 in league play, while LSU fell to 26-13 and 9-8.
With 13 league games remaining, MSU is one game behind Texas A&M in the Western Division standings and three games behind South Carolina in the overall standings.
"Austin had such great movement on his breaking ball tonight," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "We knew if he could keep it in the strike zone, he would get a lot of quick outs. Both kids really competed their tails off out on there the mound tonight.
"You have to learn how to win the 10-9 games, but you also have to win the 2-1 games. We were able to do that tonight. Austin was fabulous and the bullpen was great behind him."
Equally tough for LSU was right-hander Alex Lange. Lange (4-3) threw a complete game, with four hits and two runs (one earned) allowed. Lange struck out seven and walked one.
MSU took advantage of its limited scoring chances. The Bulldogs got a first-inning home run for a second straight night as Jack Kruger hit a solo shot for a 1-0 lead. Things stayed that way until the sixth inning. In that inning, Jake Mangum reached on an error, Kruger singled and Nathaniel Lowe walked to load the bases.
Reid Humphreys hit a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead. A strikeout followed to snuff that threat as the Bulldogs stranded half of their four base runners in that frame.
LSU bunched a single, hit batsman and two ground ball outs for a run in the eighth inning. Sexton gave way to Daniel Brown who got back-to-back outs to end that threat. Brown was lifted in favor of Humphreys after a one-out double in the ninth inning.
Humphreys got a ground out and lineout to nail down his second save of the series and fifth of the season.
LSU outhit MSU 6-4 for the contest. Kruger was the lone multiple hitter for MSU, while Antoine Duplantis and Kramer Robertson each had two hits for LSU.
The series finale is at noon Sunday on ESPN2.