College baseball: Mississippi State ends SEC losing streak; USM’s Hall throws a gem
Published 11:15 pm Friday, March 31, 2023
STARKVILLE — The streak. Is. Over.
Mississippi State took out 11 months of frustration on South Carolina on Friday by blasting four home runs — including one by Dakota Jordan that traveled 487 feet — and beat the Gamecocks 13-3.
Mississippi State ended a school-record 18-game Southeastern Conference losing streak that extended to April 29, 2022.
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“We’ve had a monkey on our back for a while,” Mississippi State coach Chris Lemonis said. “He was getting really heavy the last couple of weeks.”
Slate Alford hit two of the Bulldogs’ four homers, and finished 4-for-4 with three RBIs. Hunter Hines also went deep, and was 4-for-4 with four RBIs.
The defining moment of the game, however, might have been Jordan’s solo blast that banged off a balcony of the apartment building beyond the left field bleachers. It put the Bulldogs ahead 4-1 in the third inning. Jordan finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs.
Mississippi State (16-12, 1-7 SEC) finished with 18 hits. Seven of its nine starters had at least one, and seven players also scored a run.
“We start the year and Dakota and Slate are two of our best players, and they struggled,” Lemonis said. “It’s part of it, but they worked. They’ve gotten back out there. When we have two of our best players play the way they did (Friday) … those are nice pieces for us to get back and get us hot and give us some more flexibility.”
Texas A&M 8, Ole Miss 6
Jace Laviolette hit a grand slam in the seventh inning that gave Texas A&M the lead for good, and it held off a late rally by Ole Miss to win their SEC series opener on Friday.
Laviolette’s slam put Texas A&M ahead 7-4, and was one of four home runs that the Aggies (16-10, 2-5 SEC) hit. Brett Minnich hit two, and Trevor Werner hit a solo shot.
Kemp Alderman, Anthony Calarco and Jacob Gonzalez all homered for Ole Miss (15-10, 0-7). Alderman’s two-run homer in the top of the ninth got the Rebels to within 8-6, but Calarco followed with a strikeout to end the game.
The teams will play again Saturday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
Southern Miss 4, Troy 1
Tanner Hall allowed one run in a complete game victory, and Slade Wilks backed him up by hitting a three-run home run as Southern Miss beat Troy.
Hall (5-2), the reigning Ferriss Trophy winner as Mississippi’s top college baseball player and a first-team All-American in 2022, scattered six hits and two walks while striking out six. He pitched the first complete game of his career and won his third consecutive start.
Southern Miss (15-9, 4-3 Sun Belt Conference) scored an unearned run in the second inning, and then Wilks’ three-run homer in the top of the eighth made it 4-0.
William Sullivan hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth for Troy (19-8, 3-4). Former Warren Central star Shane Lewis, who is among the national leaders in home runs and RBIs, went 0-for-3.
Troy pitcher Brady Fuller went 7 2/3 innings. He retired 14 in a row at one point, and finished with six strikeouts.
Southern Miss and Troy play game two of their three-game series Saturday at 3 p.m.