Mississippi State drops two of three at Georgia

Published 9:33 am Monday, May 15, 2017

ATHENS, Ga. — After struggling for most of the season, Georgia seems to be getting hot at just the right time to make a push into the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

That was not what Mississippi State wanted to hear.

Chase Adkins threw six scoreless innings, and Michael Curry hit a two-run home run to lead Georgia to a 4-1 win over No. 4 Mississippi State on Sunday.

Georgia (22-30, 9-18) took two out of three games from the visiting Bulldogs (33-19, 17-10) to win its second consecutive series over a top 10 team. It also won two of three against Kentucky last weekend.

“These boys have fought hard, and we’re playing our best baseball right now. To win two series against top 10 teams in a row is incredible, we really are building off what we started,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said.

Mississippi State, meanwhile, left Athens stunned.

Given a chance to pick up a few wins against a Georgia squad that had only won two of its first eight conference series, Mississippi State instead scored only two runs in the last two games.

The Bulldogs fell out of first place in the SEC West, a game behind LSU. Mississippi State and LSU will finish the regular season with a three-game series against each other in Starkville beginning Thursday.

“Georgia played us the best defensively that any team has the entire season. We hit a ton of balls hard and didn’t have anything to show for it,” Mississippi State coach Andy Cannizaro said. “When you give up four runs in this league on a Sunday, you need to win the game.”

Mississippi State used six pitchers on Sunday after starter Jacob Billinglsey failed to get out of the first inning.
Billingsley gave up a walk, the two-run homer to Curry, and a double to Keegan McGovern, and was pulled after facing four batters.

“Georgia had the big home run in the first inning. (Curry) was the one batter we didn’t want to hurt us and the pitch was mislocated,” Cannizaro said.

Cannizaro was a lot happier with the bullpen. Relievers Cole Gordon, Riley Self, Spencer Price, Trysten Barlow and Trey Jolly combined to allow two runs and five hits over the last 7 2/3 innings.

The MSU bullpen had six strikeouts.

“I really like where our pitching staff is right now,” Cannizaro said. “I like what we are doing out of the bullpen right now. This is just two atypical days for us offensively.”

Indeed they were.

Mississippi State scored nine runs in Friday’s series opener, and then went cold Saturday and Sunday. It had seven hits in the finale and didn’t score until Elijah MacNamee hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.

Adkins (6-6) held MSU to five hits, while walking two and striking out two in six scoreless innings.
Drew Moody pitched 1 2/3 innings without allowing a baserunner to earn his second save of the season.