STARKVILLE, Miss. - Run-producing hits by Jake Mangum and Cody Brown in the eighth inning capped a big comeback for the No. 13 Mississippi State baseball team Tuesday night.
Playing its final non-conference game of the 2017 season, MSU erased a five-run deficit to knock off Troy 10-8 at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU finishes the non-conference portion of the schedule with a 17-9 mark. MSU will face LSU in a three-game Southeastern Conference series this weekend to decide the league's Western Division title and to close the regular season.
"That was a big win for this team," head coach Andy Cannizaro said. "We needed some momentum going into this weekend. This game epitomizes what this team is all about. They landed some punches early. We landed some punches late. It was a really good come-from-behind win."
"The coolest thing about this baseball team is they never quit. They keep fighting. If you are going to beat us, you are going to have to play nine full innings. Troy has an outstanding team. We just kept coming. I am proud of how we fought for nine innings."
MSU trailed 5-1 in the third inning and later trailed 8-3 in the fourth inning. The comeback included two runs in the fourth inning, three runs in the sixth inning and the two final scores in the eighth inning.
The Bulldogs shut out the Trojans over the final five at-bats. Parker Ford settled things down in relief before giving way to Trey Jolly (3-1) who picked up the win, while Riley Self retired the side in order in the ninth inning with a pair of strikeouts for his fourth save.
MSU scored first in the first inning on an RBI-single by Brown.
Troy (30-22) bunched four walks with two hits to score five times in the third inning.
In the home half of the third inning, Hunter Stovall drew a walk to open the inning. Ryan Gridley and Brent Rooker followed with back-to-back hits to load the bases. Mangum singled Stovall home, while a ground ball out by Brown scored Gridley.
The Bulldogs again loaded the bases in the fourth inning when Josh Lovelady, Luke Alexander and Stovall had consecutive hits. Gridley and Rooker then hit back-to-back sacrifice flies. In the sixth inning, a pair of walks opened the door for the Bulldogs. Rooker doubled a pair of Bulldogs home. Mangum connected for a single to tie the contest.
In the eighth inning, Gridley started things with a one-out single. After a walk to Rooker, Mangum knocked in the go-ahead run on a single. The Bulldogs lost a runner on that play but Brown followed with a two-out single to plate an insurance score.
MSU finished with 12 hits. Mangum had three hits, while Gridley, Rooker and Mangum each had two hits. The Bulldogs had nine of 12 hits from the top four spots in the lineup. Troy received two hits and four RBIs from Trevor Davis. Marc Skinner (4-6) took the loss in relief.
State will retake the field at Dudy Noble this weekend for a three-game series against LSU with the Southeastern Conference's Western Division title on the line. The series will open Thursday with a 6 p.m. CT first pitch on SEC Network.