The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Mississippi State bounces back to take series at Bama

961 days ago
Mississippi State Athletics

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Freshman left-hander Konnor Pilkington gave No. 4 Mississippi State a huge lift with a career night, throwing 5.2 innings of three-hit baseball as the Bulldogs took a Southeastern Conference series from Alabama with a 2-1 victory Saturday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The teams were scheduled to play two seven-inning games Saturday. The opener went two extra frames as Alabama scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to walk off with a 4-3 victory. MSU then matched Thursday night's 12-5 win with Saturday night's gem to grab its sixth conference series victory of the year.

The Bulldogs have won all four road series played inside the league this year with victories at Vanderbilt, Florida, LSU and now Alabama. This is the first time since 1997 that MSU has opened the conference slate with four-straight SEC road series wins.

"We came here to win a series and that is what we were able to do," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "So many chances in the first game but we walked too many guys. In the second game (Pilkington and Daniel Brown) walked three and held them to three total hits.

"This team really plays great baseball on the road and it was important that we come out and forget about the first game and made sure we were still able to win the series."

MSU improved to 30-14-1 overall and 12-9 in league play, remaining in a second-place tie in the Western Division standings. Alabama lost its third straight series to MSU here, while falling to 25-20 and 10-11.

The Bulldogs scored their only runs of the nightcap in the second inning on a one-out RBI-single by Reid Humphreys and a two-out RBI-single by Ryan Gridley.

The Bulldogs only had four hits and stranded five base runners but that would be enough.

Pilkington (2-1) worked a career-long 5.2 innings, allowing three hits and one run (earned), with a career-high seven strikeouts and two walks. Daniel Brown retired four of the five batters he faced for his first save of the season and second of his career (San Diego, March 7, 2015).

Brown got a big strikeout with two Alabama base runners on board in the sixth inning before working a perfect seventh inning.

Humphreys had two hits for MSU, while Collins and Gridley each tallied singles. Collins upped his hitting streak to seven-straight games, a career high.

In the opener, nine MSU pitchers combined to walk 10 batters, including walking the bases loaded in the ninth inning and walking the game-tying run in. Chance Vincent followed with a game-winning single.

The Bulldogs again built a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning. However, the Crimson Tide also tied in that frame. In the ninth inning, the Bulldogs built another lead but could not get the final three outs.

Jack Kruger and Gavin Collins each had two hits, while Humphreys had a pair of RBIs.

Austin Sexton drew the start but was lifted with two outs in the fourth inning. Jacob Billingsley, Ethan Small, Ryan Rigby, Daniel Brown, Zac Houston, Ryan Cyr, Paul Young and Blake Smith followed, with Cyr (1-1) taking the loss.

MSU returns to Dudy Noble Field for a three-game SEC set with Missouri next weekend. The Bulldogs and Tigers meet at 6 p.m. Thursday (SEC Network), 7 p.m. Friday (ESPNU) and 4 p.m. Saturday (SEC Network +).