FRISCO, Texas - In a back-and-forth contest, the No. 15 Mississippi State baseball program came away with a hard fought victory over Sam Houston State in the opening game of the Frisco Classic at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
The Diamond Dawgs (9-1) took the early lead, but Sam Houston State (5-3) eventually led by two, 4-2, heading to the bottom of the seventh inning. State scored twice in the seventh and got a run in the eighth to recapture the lead, before graduate student Cole Gordon came on to close it out in the ninth for his second save of the year.
Redshirt junior Ethan Small threw six innings and allowed two runs on seven hits in the no decision. He didn't walk a batter for the third-straight start to begin 2019 and fanned six. Junior Jared Liebelt allowed a pair of unearned runs on three hits in 1 2/3 innings, while redshirt-junior Trysten Barlow (1-1) picked up the win by getting the final out of the eighth inning via strikeout with a runner on second base.
Gordon came on to start the ninth and allowed a one-out single, but then got a flyout and picked off the baserunner on first base to end the contest. The scoreless frame moved Gordon's scoreless innings streak to 21 2/3 dating back to the 2018 campaign.
Justin Foscue and Jake Mangum each chipped in multi-hit games, with Foscue posting three hits and Mangum chipping in two. Five different Bulldogs scored runs and seven of the nine starters collected at least one hit. Tanner Allen and Elijah MacNamee joined Foscue and Mangum with RBIs in the contest.
Ethan Small - Struck out six in six innings of work in a no decision. Allowed two runs on seven hits and didn't walk a batter. Now has 30 strikeouts and zero walks in three starts in 2019.
Cole Gordon - Struck out one and picked off a runner at first for the final out of the game to collect his second save. Ran his scoreless innings streak to 21 2/3 innings dating back to 2018.
Justin Foscue - Totaled three hits, drove in one RBI and scored the game winning run.
Jake Mangum - Ran his career hits total to 290 with his 85th career multi-hit game. Drove in one RBI.
Tanner Allen - Drove in his 20th RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly. Added one hit.
Sam Houston State
Hayden Wesneski - Allowed nine hits and four runs in seven innings of work in the start. Struck out six and didn't walk a batter in the no decision.
Jordan Cannon - Had three hits in the game.
Hunter Hearn - Drove in a pair of RBIs with a seventh-inning triple.
Eric Bohnert - Collected two hits and drove in one RBI.
Tanner Allen knocked the first pitch of the inning into right field and Elijah MacNamee gave MSU the lead just two pitches later with a double to left-center field. On the next pitch, Justin Foscue singled to left field to score MacNamee and give the Bulldogs a 2-0 edge. Mississippi State 2, Sam Houston State 0
Colton Cowser doubled with one out in the inning and moved to third on a ground out, before coming around to score on a Clayton Harp two-out single to right field. After another single put runners on the corners with two down, before Eric Bohnert drove in the game-tying run with the third-straight base hit. Mississippi State 2, Sam Houston State 2
Jared Liebelt came on in relief and got the first two outs, before an error opened the door for Sam Houston State. A single followed to put two runners on base and Hunter Hearn delivered the two-RBI triple, but was cut down trying to score to end the inning. Sam Houston State 4, Mississippi State 2
The Diamond Dawgs came right back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Hayden Jones started things with a double to center field and Gunner Halter singled to put runners on the corners for Jake Mangum. The senior delivered the RBI single to make it a one-run game. After Jordan Westburg reached via an infield single to load the bases. Allen plated the tying run with a sacrifice fly to center field. Mississippi State 4, Sam Houston State 4
Foscue came up big again to start the eighth inning, taking the first pitch from reliever Riley Gossett down the left-field line for a double. Dustin Skelton then hit a ball up the middle that was mishandled by the Bearkat shortstop, allowing Foscue to score from second. Mississippi State 5, Sam Houston State 4