STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When the No. 13 Mississippi State baseball team needed a lift, sophomore right-hander Austin Sexton answered the call. Sexton threw his team's first complete game of the season as MSU held off Alabama, 4-1, to earn the split in a Southeastern Conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
With the win, MSU improved to 16-5 overall and 1-1 in league play, while Alabama fell to 10-7 and 1-1.
MSU will go for the series win when sophomore left-hander Vance Tatum takes the hill for a 1:30 p.m. start Sunday.
The second game belonged to Sexton. With seven strikeouts and eight hits allowed, Sexton threw 123 pitches and made sure the Maroon and White got to Sunday looking for a series win.
MSU grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI double by Cody Brown and sacrifice fly by John Holland. The lead grew to 3-0 on an RBI-single by Jake Vickerson an inning later.
Alabama struck in the sixth inning but MSU got that run right back in the seventh when Josh Lovelady picked up an RBI with a bases-loaded hit by pitch.
Sexton (3-0) worked around two one-out hits in the eighth inning and a two-out single in the ninth inning.
MSU had eight hits, including multi-hit games by Jacob Robson, Jake Vickerson and Brown. The Bulldogs stranded 14 base runners.
Alabama finished with hits by eight different players. Starter Will Carter (1-2) was lifted in the sixth inning and took the loss.