No. 5 Mississippi State too much for LA Tech in Starkville

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STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Louisiana Tech baseball team fell, 7-3, to the fifth ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs on Tuesday evening from Dudy Nobly Field in front of 7,989.

LA Tech (32-21) held the host Bulldogs (43-10) scoreless in five innings, but crooked numbers by the home team in the second, third and fifth innings, proved to be the difference on the evening.

Mississippi State would open the scoring in the bottom of the second, via some production from the bottom of the order. With one out, the no. 7 hitter in Luke Hancock reached via a single to center. Robbins would get a big out number two on a brilliant sliding stop and throw from Taylor Young at shortstop, but then with two outs, the no. 9 hitter in Marshall Gilbert shot an opposite field blast over the wall in right, giving the home team an early 2-0 lead.

After Tech was held off the board in the third, the home Bulldogs tacked on three more in the bottom half on three hits (two singles and a double) and a pair of walks, which extended the lead out to 5-0.

The Bulldogs from Ruston were able to scratch in the top of the fifth, as Taylor Young clubbed his third home run of the year – this one a two-out solo shot to left, cutting the MSU lead down to four at 5-1.

However, the hosts were able to get the run back, plus another, in the bottom half, as Robbins was chased from the game in the bottom of the fifth. Kyle Griffen entered in relief, making his 32nd appearance of the season – tying the Tech single season record (Caleb Dudley 2011).

Griffen walked two and allowed a pair of hits, before right hander Tyler Follis entered in a bases-loaded jam, and got a strikeout of Jake Mangum to retire the side, but not before State plated a pair, extending its lead out to 7-1 after five.

In the top of the eighth, Tech added a pair of runs via a two-run double off the brick wall in right field from Shelton Wallace, drawing Tech back to within four at 7-3.

However, the pitching by committee approach worked for MSU as the eight pitchers utilized combined to allow just the three Bulldog runs. Brandon Smith (3-0) earned the win, as his predetermined start of two innings was enough. The freshman allowed three Tech hits and struck out one over two scoreless innings.

Robbins (4-4) was saddled with the loss, allowing six runs on nine hits, while walking two and striking out one.

Hunter Wells (3-for-5), Mason Mallard (2-for-5) and Parker Bates (3-for-4) all collected multiple-hit efforts in the loss.

The Bulldogs will quickly return to action this weekend, closing out the Conference USA regular season at FIU this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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