MSU completes sweep of Kentucky
STARKVILLE, Miss. - For the 11th time in its last 13 SEC series, the No. 5 Mississippi State baseball program ended the weekend with a winning record and the 4-3 victory over No. 21 Kentucky on Saturday (April 3) at Dudy Noble Field marked the fourth series sweep during that span.
Mississippi State (20-7, 5-4 SEC) built a 4-1 lead with a run in the first, two in the second and a run in the fifth, before Kentucky (18-7, 5-4 SEC) trimmed the lead to one with single runs in the fifth and eighth. The Wildcats had two runners on in the ninth inning, as well, before Parker Stinnett struck out the final batter of the game for his first career save.
The one-run victory is the second straight win by a single run and marks the 16th one-run victory since 2019. The three runs allowed by the pitching staff give MSU 19 games with four-or-fewer runs allowed in 2021 and an 18-1 record in those contests.
Jackson Fristoe (3-2) picked up his third victory of the season on Saturday, as the Paducah, Kentucky, native struck out a career-high-tying eight batters in five innings of work. He surrendered two runs on three hits and retired nine of 10 batters between the second and fifth innings. Stinnett (1) worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn his first career save. Logan Tanner had a pair of extra base hits and scored two runs in the contest, while also ending Kentucky’s streak of consecutive stolen bases.
The Wildcats had started the season with 33 straight successful attempts, before Tanner threw out Austin Schultz on a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out to end the first inning. Luke Hancock hit his seventh home run of the season to lead off the second inning and reached on a hit-by-pitch in the eighth. Tanner Leggett reached base in all three of his plate appearances, going 1-for-1 with a single, and adding two hit-by-pitch. With Hancock and Tanner each going deep,
MSU now has six games with multiple home runs in 2021, and Hancock is a part of five of those. The pitching staff also reached the 10-stikeout mark and has fanned double-digit batters in 22 of 27 games in 2021. MSU is riding a streak of seven straight double-digit strikeout games entering the week. Chase Estep and Schultz accounted for the Kentucky RBIs in the game, with Estep driving in the first UK run of the game in the second inning.
Schultz doubled to plate the fifth-inning run and scored in the ninth inning on the backend of a caught stealing. Zack Lee (2-2) took the loss on the mound with four runs allowed on six hits in 3 1/3 innings of work. Lee hit one batter and stuck out one in the outing.
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