STARKVILLE, Miss. (WAFB) - Southern gave Mississippi State a big scare in the opening round of the Starkville Regional, but the Bulldogs had enough firepower to get past the Jags.
Southern took an 11-6 loss to MSU. Southern will next play Miami at noon Saturday. The Hurricanes fell 6-5 to the Chippewas.
Jerome Bohannon III started on the mound for Southern. He allowed two runs on two hits in 2.2 innings of work. Austin Haensel relieved him and struggled against Mississippi State’s batters. He gave up four runs on five hits in 1.2 innings.
Head coach Kerrick Jackson next called upon Whilhelm Allen. He kept the Bulldogs at bay, not giving up a hit in 1.2 innings. Jackson then went to his closer, Connor Whalen. But Whalen, who has been stellar all season, had some problems. He allowed five runs on five hits.
Mississippi State jumped on the board first in the bottom of the opening inning. The Bulldogs scored on a groundout to shortstop.
Southern tied the game in the top of the third inning on a Tyler LaPorte single that plated Javeyan Williams.
In the bottom of the third, a double down the left field line to send a run home to make it 2-1.
The top of the fourth was huge for Southern. A Bobby Johnson single to left field allowed Ashanti Wheatley to cross home plate. Later, a bases-loaded walk scored another run. Then, Williams, Southern's leading hitter, sent the ball to deep right field for a sac fly RBI to put the Jags up 4-2.
The fifth inning hurt the Jags and gave the Bulldogs a ton of momentum. With two on, a single to left field resulted in a Mississippi State runner sliding safely across home plate. Then, the next batter hit a double to right field that scored another run. Another double to right field put two more runs on the board for the Bulldogs to give them the 6-4 lead.
The Jags refused to lie down and roared back in the top of the seventh. A two-run blast to left field by Johnny Johnson tied it at 6-6.
But in the bottom of the seventh, with the bases loaded and one out, a single through the left side put two runs on the board for Mississippi State. Later, a wild pitch allowed another run for a 9-6 lead for the Bulldogs.
Southern missed out on a great opportunity in the top of the eighth. With one out and runners on second and third, LaPorte and Johnny Johnson both struck out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the inning, things got worse for the Jags. A two-run shot to right field put the Bulldogs up 11-6.
Southern had 11 hits in the game to Mississippi State’s 12. The Jags committed two errors, while the Bulldogs had one.