MSU takes opener from Ole Miss

Published 11:16 pm Friday, April 1, 2016

STARKVILLE — With Dakota Hudson throwing plenty of strikes, Mississippi State struck first in its series with archrival Ole Miss.

Behind its ace Hudson’s first complete game of the season, Mississippi State beat Ole Miss 3-1 Friday night in front of 10,152 fans at Dudy Noble Field.

Hudson allowed four hits and no walks, and struck out 11 batters. He only faced two batters more than the minimum as the Bulldogs (19-7-1, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) won their third consecutive series opener and moved into first place in the SEC West.

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Mississippi State won for the seventh time in nine games and is a half-game ahead of Alabama and a full game ahead of Texas A&M and Arkansas.

“Dakota really got us started on the right note,” Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. “We caught some breaks, but pitching wise we were excellent and made the plays behind the pitcher as well. It’s huge when you can win the first game in a series and not use your bullpen guys in the process.”

While Hudson took care of things on the mound, Reid Humphreys and Jake Mangum formed an effective tag team at the plate for the Bulldogs.

Mangum singled and scored on Humphreys’ base hit to tie the game at 1 in the bottom of the first inning. In the sixth, Mangum singled, stole second and scored on another single by Humphreys to put Mississippi State ahead 2-1.

Humphreys and Mangum combined to go 5-for-8 with two RBIs and two runs scored. They had five of Mississippi State’s six hits. The other came from leadoff hitter Jacob Robson, who also scored MSU’s third run in the eighth inning when he reached on an error and then scored all the way from first on an errant pickoff throw.

Ole Miss pitcher Brady Bramlett (4-2) took the loss, but pitched well. He allowed two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out two.

Will Stokes finished up with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Ole Miss (20-6, 2-5) scored first, in the top of the first inning. Hudson’s second pitch of the game hit Will Golsan, and the Rebels’ leadoff man scored two batters later when J.B. Woodman singled through the right side of the infield.

That was just about all the Rebels got against Hudson, though. The junior right-hander retired 10 consecutive batters after his first inning struggles. The only other time Ole Miss seriously threatened to score was in the fifth inning, when Tate Blackman and Michael Fitzsimmons both singled.

Ole Miss lost for just the second time in 13 games this season when scoring first.

Hudson has not allowed an earned run in his last 30 2/3 innings, and dropped his SEC-best earned run average to 0.92.

“He’s special. He doesn’t walk anybody, he punches out 11, and what he does is he forces a ton of early contact,” Cohen said. “I think he’s averaging about 13 pitches an inning. You could tell all week long how excited he was to pitch against Ole Miss. He didn’t throw his best baseball last year when we were in Oxford, and he wanted the baseball. He just carried us tonight.”

Florida 7, Texas A&M 4

No. 3 Florida (25-3, 5-2 SEC) banged out 12 hits, including six for extra bases, and beat top-ranked Texas A&M (22-4, 4-3) in the opener of a high-powered SEC series in Gainesville.

Freshman Jonathan India went 4-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs for the Gators, while Peter Alonso went 2-for-4 with a homer.

South Carolina 4,Vanderbilt 0

Freshman right-hander Braden Webb struck out 11 batters in eight scoreless innings to lead No. 2 South Carolina (24-4, 7-1 SEC) past No. 3 Vanderbilt (22-5, 5-3) in game two of another big SEC series.

Gene Cone had two hits and scored twice for South Carolina, and L.T. Tolbert drove in two runs.

Vanderbilt won game one of the series on Thursday.

Georgia 7, Alabama 1

Robert Tyler took a perfect game into the seventh inning and came within an out of a no-hitter as Georgia (16-12, 3-5 SEC) beat Alabama (16-10, 5-3).

Tyler, a junior right-hander, didn’t give up a hit until Georgie Salem homered with two outs in the ninth. Tyler didn’t allow a baserunner until walking Connor Short with one out in the seventh inning.

Tyler wound up allowing two walks and the one hit while striking out nine.

Arkansas 7, Missouri 6

Clark Eagan went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, and Arkansas (19-7, 4-3) rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to beat Missouri (15-13, 0-7).

Shane Benes and Brett Bond both homered for Missouri in the ninth.

LSU at Auburn, ppd.

Heavy rain in Alabama forced LSU (16-8, 2-4 SEC) and Auburn (12-13, 1-5) to postpone game one of their three-game series on Friday. The teams will play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. Game three is Sunday ay 1 p.m.