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Georgia gives MSU tough loss

ATHENS, Ga. — Mississippi State’s pitchers couldn’t get out of an inning, and as a result it won’t get out of Athens with a sweep.

Four two-out hits led to four runs for Georgia, which beat Mississippi State 4-1 in game two of their Southeastern Conference series Saturday.

The teams will play the rubber match of the three-game series Sunday at noon.

Saturday’s loss, coupled with LSU’s series sweep of Auburn, pushed Mississippi State (33-18, 17-9 SEC) out of first place in the SEC West. LSU (35-17, 18-9) now leads the division by a half-game.

Mississippi State and LSU play each other in a season-ending three-game series in Starkville beginning Thursday night.

“It was a frustrating afternoon,” Mississippi State coach Andy Cannizaro said. “Georgia played well and we didn’t do enough things to win. Hopefully, we will come out ready to play and with great energy tomorrow. When you win a series in this league, you have had a good weekend. We have a chance to do that.”

Mississippi State pitchers Denver McQuary and Peyton Plumlee only gave up four hits, but walked 11 batters Saturday.

All four hits came with two outs, and three of them led to runs.

After getting the first two batters out in the bottom of the third inning, McQuary walked the next two. Mitchell Webb followed with an RBI double and L.J. Talley drove in two more runs with a single to give Georgia (21-30, 8-18) a 3-0 lead.

Two more walks in the eighth set the stage for a two-out RBI single by Tucker Bradley that put Georgia ahead 4-1.

Offensively, Mississippi State only had five hits and didn’t score until Ryan Gridley hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.

Georgia starter Kevin Smith (4-5) allowed three hits and four walks, and struck out six in seven scoreless innings.

Zak Kristofak worked the last two innings for his second save of the season.

“On the mound, we walked too many guys,” Cannizaro said. “Offensively, we got swallowed up. We tried to lift and elevate today. This is a hitter’s park. We will be ready to play tomorrow.”

Ole Miss 6, Texas A&M 4

Ole Miss rallied for four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to come from behind and beat Texas A&M.

The Rebels scored two runs on a throwing error to tie the game at 4, and then Grae Kessinger drove in the go-ahead run with a double at the end of a nine-pitch at-bat.

Kessinger scored on a single by Will Golsan to give the Rebels (30-21, 12-14 Southeastern Conference) an insurance run.

Tate Blackman went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored for Ole Miss, and Nick Fortes was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

Ole Miss pitchers Will Stokes, Will Ethridge and Dallas Woolfolk combined to allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings of relief. They didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight.

Ethridge got the win, and Woolfolk worked the ninth for his 11th save of the season.

Braden Shewmake went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI for Texas A&M (35-16, 15-11).

LSU 9, Auburn 1

Eric Walker allowed one run in eight stellar innings on the mound, and LSU (35-17, 18-9 SEC) beat Auburn (32-21, 14-13) to complete a big SEC series sweep in Baton Rouge.

Michael Papierski homered for LSU, while Beau Jordan went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Josh Smith had two hits and scored three runs, and Kramer Robertson and Cole Freeman had two RBIs apiece.

LSU moved into first place in the SEC West, and is a half-game behind Florida for the overall lead.
LSU has won nine of its last 10 conference games, and five in a row overall.