MSU tops Georgia

Published 8:45 am Friday, March 25, 2016

STARKVILLE — Dakota Hudson kept plowing through the opposing lineup, and Mississippi State mowed down another Southeastern Conference opponent.

Hudson, a junior right-hander, allowed one unearned run in seven innings as Mississippi State beat Georgia 9-2 in the opener of an SEC baseball series in Starkville on Thursday night.

Hudson (3-1) was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week on Monday for his performance last week against Vanderbilt, and made a strong case to be one of the country’s top performers again. He ran his streak to 21 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run.

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Hudson only walked one batter and struck out five while working on one day less rest than normal because of the early start to the Easter weekend series.

“Dakota was really good,” Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. “We shorted him one day (rest). He didn’t have his best stuff but he gutted it out. He gave up eight hits but five of those didn’t leave the infield. He did a great job of getting the first strike.”

Hudson was helped by another MSU junior, Reid Humphreys. The Northwest Rankin alum went 3-for-5 with a pair of solo home runs in the fourth and seventh innings.

“When he’s squaring balls up to the pull side and opposite way, he’s a really tough guy to pitch to,” Cohen said of Humphreys. “That ball he hit the opposite way (in the seventh inning) was crushed. I want to see what the tracking data on there just to see what the exit velocity was, because he smoked that ball. He is a weapon type offensive player in the middle of our order.”

Humphreys’ homer in the fourth inning broke a 1-all tie and ignited a seven-run rally that gave the homestanding Bulldogs the lead for good. They had seven consecutive hits in the inning and finished with 15 hits total.

Jacob Robson, Jack Kruger and Nathaniel Lowe all went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Gavin Collins drove in two runs, and Elih Marrero was 2-for-2 with a double, a run scored and an RBI.

Mississippi State (16-6-1, 3-1 SEC) won for the fourth time in five games since dropping two midweek games at home to Eastern Kentucky and Oral Roberts.

“We really had a great night offensively,” Cohen said. “Our guys were running full speed out of the box and putting pressure on the Georgia defense.”

Georgia starter Kevin Smith (3-1) had a 1.93 ERA coming in, but was knocked out of the game in the fourth inning. He allowed eight runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out three.

“The big inning was a killer, and Kevin was one pitch away from getting out of it,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. “He was ahead of Humpreys 0-2 and hung a slider and then he got ahead of the next hitter too, and we couldn’t get out of the inning and next thing you know it’s 8-1.”