STARKVILLE, Miss. - It was a weekend of drama at Dudy Noble Field as weather loomed early in the week and closely contested games followed, but the No. 5 Mississippi State baseball program was able to walk away with a series win thanks to back-to-back walk-off victories over Tulane, which was capped by a Tanner Allen two-RBI single to give the Bulldogs a 5-4 win in the series finale on Sunday (Feb. 28).
Solo home runs in the second and fourth innings gave Tulane (3-4) an early lead, but a three-run sixth inning pushed Mississippi State (5-2) in front as Kamren James homered for the third time in 2021 for the 3-2 lead. The Green Wave got two in the top of the ninth inning thanks to a home run by Luis Aviles, before the Dawgs heroics capped an exciting weekend.
With Tulane’s lead at one run, 4-3, Keagan Gillies (0-1) entered for the Wave to throw the ninth inning. After a groundout started things, Drew McGowan walked and then stole second base. After a Rowdey Jordan lineout to left field, Scotty Dubrule drew a two-out walk. A wild pitch moved runners to second and third, before Allen lined a full-count pitch into left-center field to score both runs.
It was the first time since 2014 that Mississippi State won back-to-back games in walk-off fashion. That season State toppled Tennessee on consecutive days May 10-11.
It is the 16th time in Allen’s career that he has delivered the game-winning run, with two of those walk-off winners. The Theodore, Alabama, native also registered a game-ending single against Southern Miss in the series finale on the second weekend of the 2019 season.
At the plate, Allen delivered the two RBIs with his lone hit of the day, while James 1-for-4 day included the home run and a pair of RBIs. Logan Tanner was on base three times with a walk and two singles. Josh Hatcher moved his reached base streak to 14 games with an eighth inning base hit.
Graduate student Spencer Price (1-0) picked up the victory as he allowed two runs on two hits in one inning of work. He struck out two batters in the outing. Freshman Jackson Fristoe (ND) had another good start for MSU with four innings of work and seven strikeouts. He allowed two runs on just five hits and one walk.
Carlisle Koestler and Brandon Smith combined to throw four innings of scoreless relief work for MSU. Koestler was first out of the pen and fired 1 2/3 innings with two hits allowed, before Smith tossed 2 1/3 innings with four strikeouts and three hits allowed.
For Tulane, seven different pitches saw the mound and three home runs accounted for the four runs. Gillies allowed the two runs on one hit to take the loss, while starting pitcher Jack Aldrich tossed 5 1/3 innings and struck out six in a no decision. Aldrich allowed four hits, walked four and gave up two runs.
Chase Engelhard, Frankie Niemann and Luis Aviles all hit home runs for the Green Wave. Aviles and Niemann each chipped in two hits and Collin Burns had a three-hit day