STARKVILLE, Miss. – It was only a matter of time before the Bulldogs got the timely hit as late inning magic led Louisiana Tech (12-1) to a 3-2 win over Mississippi State on Tuesday night in Starkville.
LA Tech scored two in the eighth to tie and manufactured the game winner in the ninth to leave Starkville victorious.
“I’ll tell you what, this team perseveres,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “We have talked about it over and over again, throughout the early part of this season. There is no panic in the dugout. I felt like our guys were never too worried. They wanted this game. After last season, and having their season end on this field against this opponent, they really wanted it.”
Mississippi State got on the board first with a solo home run from Brant Blaylock to open up the bottom of the third. The home run was also Mississippi State’s first hit of the game, as Sutton retired the first six Bulldogs he faced.
Mississippi State added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth on a solo home run from Cody Brown.
Through five innings, Louisiana Tech had left nine men on base, but they never quit fighting.
In what has become almost expected, Louisiana Tech mounted a furious comeback in the top of the eighth. Jonathan Washam singled up the middle and Marshall Boggs drew a two-out walk. The Diamond ‘Dogs needed someone to come up with the big hit they had been missing all night and Sean Ullrich answered the call.
Ullrich bounced one off of the wall in right center for a two-RBI double that brought home both Washam and Boggs, to tie the game at 2-2.
“Casey Sutton was phenomenal,” Burroughs continued. “That is as good as he has looked all year. Coach Ostrander told me he thought they were a good matchup for this ball club.”
Sutton retired the final eight Mississippi State batters he faced, going seven innings, before giving way to Austin Harrison for the eighth.
Harrison, who picked up his first win of the season, came on and pitched a perfect eighth, which featured a full extension catch from Chase Lunceford in the infield for the first out.
In the top of the ninth, Raphael Gladu and Brent Diaz each ripped one-out singles to left field to put the Bulldogs in a position to score the go-ahead run. With two Jonathan Washam struck out on a pitch in the dirt, but the ball skirted away from the Bulldog catcher.
Forced to rush the throw, the ball ricocheted off the back of Jonathan Washam allowing the game-winning run, Gladu, to slide home safely.
Nate Harris got Mississippi State in order in the ninth to earn his sixth save on the young season.
Louisiana Tech will be back on the road this weekend for a three-game series at Arkansas State. Game one of the series is set for 6 p.m. on Friday night and radio broadcast announcements will be made later in the week as the Conference USA Basketball Tournaments progress.