PEARL, Miss. - Houston Harding struck out a career-best nine batters in the start and Logan Tanner drove in a pair of runs as the No. 2 Mississippi State baseball program notched a 4-1 victory over Southern Miss on Wednesday (March 3) at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Mississippi.
Mississippi State (6-2) racked up 20 strikeouts in a game for the first time in exactly 19 years. On March 3, 2002, the Diamond Dawgs struck out 20 batters against Jacksonville State at Dudy Noble Field in the final game of a three-game series. That day, Joey Collums (15) and Jonathan Papelbon (5) helped MSU reach the 20 K mark.
On Wednesday, the quartet of Harding (9), Preston Johnson (6), Cam Tullar (2) and Stone Simmons (3) reached the mark. The MSU pitching staff combined to scatter three hits and three walks, with the only run coming in the third inning after a leadoff double.
It was the 11th straight victory for Mississippi State over an in-state opponent dating back to the start of the 2019 season. That season Southern Miss won a 1-0 extra-inning game on February 22 at Dudy Noble Field. Since then, State won the final eight games of the 2019 season against in-state foes, captured its lone game versus a Mississippi university in 2020 and is 2-0 thus far in 2021.
The Diamond Dawgs (6-2) struck for single runs in the first and third innings, then got a pair of runs in the fifth inning to cap its scoring. Tanner was one of four to produce a multi-hit game against USM, as he, Allen, Brad Cumbest and Scotty Dubrule all chipped in two hits apiece.
Tanner’s two RBIs in the game mark his second career game with multiple runs batted in this season. His first career multi-RBI effort came in the middle game of the series with Tulane, as he drove in the game-tying runs with his ninth-inning, two-RBI single.
Harding (1-1) picked up the win in his second start of the season. He worked five innings, allowed two hits with one walk and struck out nine. Preston Johnson worked around a hit in the sixth and a walk in the seventh to toss two scoreless frames in his MSU debut, as he recorded all six outs via the K. Tullar fanned two in one inning of work and Simmons earned his first career save with three ninth-inning strikeouts.
For Southern Miss, Drew Boyd (1-1) took the loss with four runs allowed - three earned - on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. He walked one and struck out two in the outing.