STARKVILLE, Miss. - Growing up 40 miles from Dudy Noble Field, sophomore Luke Hancock is well aware that The Dude is a special place. On Saturday (Feb. 27) evening he left his mark with a walk-off grand slam that gave the No. 5 Mississippi State baseball program a 9-5 win over Tulane to even the series.
The Diamond Dawg offense was powered by the home run on Saturday, as junior Tanner Allen hit his first home run of the season to start the scoring for MSU in the first inning and second-year freshman Kamren James led off the sixth inning with his second home run of the year.
After a Logan Tanner two-RBI single tied the game in the ninth inning, the third home of the day - this one a grand slam - was belted by Luke Hancock into the Adkerson Plaza down the right-field line to walk it off for the Dawgs. It was Hancock’s third home run of 2020 and first walk-off hit in his career.
Allen, James and Scotty Dubrule each posted two-hit games, while Hancock drove in a career-high four RBIs. Allen and Tanner both chipped in two RBIs. All nine MSU starters reached base at least once in the contest, including Josh Hatcher in the ninth inning to extend his career-long reached base streak to 13 games.
Second-year freshman Landon Sims again came up big in relief for MSU. He entered the game with a runner on first and one out in the third inning and struck out the two batters to end the frame. He went on to strike out 10 batters in 3 2/3 innings of work for his second straight outing with double-digit strikeouts. His consecutive games with double-digit Ks marks the first time for a Bulldog pitcher since Ethan Small in 2019 (vs. Vanderbilt, 5/23 - 11; Central Michigan, 6/1 - 10).
Throwing a scoreless ninth inning, second-year freshman Stone Simmons (1-0) picked up his first win in the maroon and white after transferring from Furman. He worked around a one-out single, as all three of his outs came on the ground.
For Tulane, Trent Johnson (0-1) took the loss with two-plus innings of work and allowed six runs on five hits. Chase Engelhard was 2-for-3 with a double and home run. He added a hit-by-pitch, scored twice and drove in two runs.