April 17, 2019 1:48:32 AM
It took longer than expected -- eight innings to be exact.
Tied 1-1 with Texas Southern entering the bottom of the eighth inning, the No. 3-ranked Mississippi State baseball team needed reprieve.
Sophomore infielder Justin Foscue obliged.
Sitting on a junky 3-1 changeup, Foscue chopped the ball high and over the approaching Tiger infield.
As the ball skied over Texas Southern third baseman Parker DeLeon, MSU sophomore Tanner Allen headed home for the go-ahead run.
"I was trying to shorten up just a little bit, try to drive something," Foscue said. "I guess that changeup sunk a little bit and I got on top of it and just hit the turf and got over the third baseman."
A squeeze bunt down the first base line by sophomore outfielder Rowdey Jordan added another score to make it 3-1.
Two batters later junior catcher Justin Skelton blew the game open with a two-run home run to left center, giving MSU a 5-1 lead.
"We had hits in the first couple innings. We just couldn't get that last one to get some runs and then (Texas Southern starting pitcher Alex Olguin) settled in," Foscue said.
Though MSU dug out the victory late, Tuesday was all kinds of bizarre from the start.
Freshman starting pitcher Brandon Smith gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases in the top of the first inning.
Smith backed that up by starting a 1-2-3 double play the next at-bat before striking out the ensuing batter to get out of danger.
"We were a little frustrated starting from the get-go there," head coach Chris Lemonis said. "Brandon made a great play to get the double play there and get us out of that inning."
Even the final recorded out, a grounder to first base, was adventurous.
With the ball dribbling toward him, Allen booted the initial grab. He then snagged it and stepped on the bag to end the ballgame.
On the mound the MSU bullpen combined for seven innings of no-hit ball. Juniors Tyler Spring and Jack Eagan did the heavy lifting in relief, pitching two innings apiece.
Junior Colby White was also effective in his one inning of work, notching a perfect eighth inning with a fastball that topped out at 97 miles per hour to earn the win.
"Well, it was a close game, it was 1-1 when I came in," White said. "I mean, you can get beat by anybody so you don't want to take anybody lightly or they'll hit you."
DAWG NOTES: Graduate student reliever Cole Gordon was honored with the Masters Graduate Service Assistant of the Year award from the Office of the Graduate School Tuesday.
Gordon has worked as a Graduate Service Assistant in the Office of the Graduate School during the 2018-2019 academic year. He is on pace to complete his MBA this summer.
Ben Portnoy reports on Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch.
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