March 15, 2014 10:57:46 AM
FROM MSU ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS
ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia sophomore left-handed pitcher Ryan Lawlor proved too much for the Mississippi State baseball team Friday night.
Lawlor pitched 7.2 innings, allowing eight hits but only one run, as Georgia knocked off MSU 7-1 in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams at Foley Field.
MSU (13-8 overall, 0-1 SEC) dropped its conference opener for a fifth straight season. Georgia (13-6, 1-0) won its 11th straight game.
MSU starting pitcher Ben Bracewell (2-2) lasted two innings and left the contest with his team down 3-0. Georgia tacked on two more scores in the third inning and single scores in the fifth and sixth innings. MSU finally broke up the shutout in the eighth inning.
"We didn't play well tonight," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "Our seniors didn't lead us. Our freshman players got attacked a little bit. We got to find someone who can step out there on a Friday night and be competitive. We have to do that offensively, but really on the mound. We got to figure it out."
MSU collected nine hits, stranded seven base runners but had few threats. The Bulldogs had back-to-back hits in the fifth inning but a base running mistake snuffed that threat. In the eighth inning, an RBI-single by Wes Rea broke up the shutout. The Bulldogs left two runners on base in that at-bat.
Georgia built the early lead on a misplay in the outfield, an RBI-double by Jess Posey and a sacrifice fly by Stephen Wrenn. Austin Sexton followed Bracewell and was touched for two runs on only one base hit over two innings of work.
Vance Tatum (1 2/3 innings) and Myles Gentry (2 1/3 innings) also pitched for the MSU. Alex Detz was the lone multiple hitter for MSU as he had three of his team's nine hits.
"We got to put more pressure on them," Cohen said. "They pressured us but we did not attack back. We did not attack the game offensively. On defense, we didn't make some plays. Brett Pirtle was absolutely great, but we have some outfielders not getting to some balls.
"We have the players. We just have to figure it out."
Lawlor (2-1) was followed by Dylan Cole on the mound. Connor Welton and Posey each had three of Georgia's 10 hits.
With a 90 percent chance for rain Sunday, the No. 19 Mississippi State baseball team and Georgia will now play a Saturday doubleheader to complete the series. First pitch for game one will be
remain at 11 a.m. CT, and will still air on FSN and ESPN3. Game two will begin no later than 45 minutes following the conclusion of game one.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
4. A Stone's Throw: Beware COLUMNS