Bulldogs stumble, lose to Vanderbilt

Published 11:35 am Monday, March 24, 2014

Mississippi State third baseman Matthew Britton makes a throw to first during Sunday's game against Vanderbilt. Bill Simmonds/Mississippi State Sports Information

Mississippi State third baseman Matthew Britton makes a throw to first during Sunday’s game against Vanderbilt. Bill Simmonds/Mississippi State Sports Information

Mississippi State’s hitters ran out of steam before they could break out the brooms against Vanderbilt.

The Bulldogs only managed three hits against Vandy pitchers Tyler Ferguson and Carson Fulmer, and lost 5-1 in the series finale Sunday at Dudy Noble Field.

Mississippi State (17-9, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) had scored 23 runs in winning the first two games of the series, but never got going in the finale. Ferguson (4-0) gave up two hits and two walks in six shutout innings, then Fulmer kept the Bulldogs in check the rest of the way to earn his seventh save of the season.

“We really pitched it well,” MSU coach John Cohen said. “I am not sure Vanderbilt got a ball to the outfield. We certainly defend it as well as you would have liked. And we have been a very good defensive team all year. However, we certainly pitched it well enough to win for a third straight day.”

Trevor Fitts (2-1) was the tough-luck loser, as he allowed only one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings. Jacob Lindgren, Myles Gentry and Ben Bracewell followed. That quartet allowed 10 hits, but only two earned runs.

Vanderbilt (20-5, 3-3) snapped a scoreless tie in the top of the seventh when Bryan Reynolds led off with a single and later scored on a squeeze bunt by Rhett Wiseman. The Commodores added two unearned runs in the eighth inning to go up 3-0.

MSU got on the board on Jake Vickerson’s sac fly in the eighth, but Vandy tacked on two more runs — one of them unearned — in the ninth inning to put the game away.

“Based on our charts, we had 15 hard-ball outs,” Cohen said. “That is how the game of baseball sometimes works. The weak ground ball out can sometimes be the better thing. We take a lot of positives away from the weekend because we played really well against a Top Five team.”