College Sports

Pilkington helps lift Mississippi State past Southern Miss

 Former East Central ace Konnor Pilkington struck out four in 3 1/3 innings of work against Southern Miss on Tuesday. The Bulldogs won 13-5.
KELLY PRICE/MISSISSIPPI STATE Former East Central ace Konnor Pilkington struck out four in 3 1/3 innings of work against Southern Miss on Tuesday. The Bulldogs won 13-5.

PEARL -- It was all about timely hits for Mississippi State.

And most of them came with two outs.

Behind a steady performance from Nathaniel Lowe and Jacob Robson, the Bulldogs survived a late rally getting past Southern Miss 8-5 in front of a crowd of 5,982 at Trustmark Park on Tuesday night.

Mississippi State (18-7-1) has now won six of the last seven meetings over the Golden Eagles (19-7) and snapped Southern Miss' 8-game winning streak against SEC schools.

Mississippi State scored nine of its 13 runs with two outs, including three in the bottom of the fourth inning highlighted by Nathaniel Lowe's two-run double to left.

"Tonight we did a outstanding job getting two out hits and putting pressure on them," said Mississippi State coach John Cohen. "We didn't hit the ball hard at times, but we put in play and made the best of it."

Lowe, MSU's junior first basemen, would lead the Bulldogs offensively with four hits and had three runs batted in.

"Just working on putting could contact on the ball and hitting up the middle and glad it worked out tonight," Lowe said. "With the fire power we got in our line up with two outs is kind of our best bet of getting runs in."

Mississippi State pounded out 18 hits and forced Southern Miss to use nine pitchers.

Elih Marrero also had three hits and is now 10 for his last 13 plate appearances. Jacob Robson added three hits including a leadoff triple in the first and a RBI single in the bottom of the eighth that made it 11-5 Mississippi State.

Reid Humphreys, John Holland and Ryan Gridley contributed with two hits each for the Bulldogs.

Robson had a leadoff triple and single to extend his streak of reaching base in 22 of the Mississippi State's 26 games.

Humphreys would go 2-for-4 with a RBI double in the sixth and a RBI single in the seventh. He also pitched two innings giving up a hit and had four strikeouts.

Ryan Rigby (3-0) picked up the win in relief for Mississippi State lasting two and a third innings giving up two hits and had three strikeouts.

Pilkington strikes out 4

East Central alum and 2015 Sun Herald Player of the Year Konnor Pilkington got the start for the Bulldogs but was pulled in the fourth. He lasted 3 1/3 innings, giving up five hits and two runs (one earned). He struck out four.

"I just went in there with an attitude of throwing first pitch strikes," Pilkington said. "Our mentality as a pitching staff is throw first pitch strikes. My confidence is way up and have to come in every game in the mid week and have the 'You're the Man' mentality."

Cohen praised Pilkington's performance.

"Was really pleased with how he started the game out and was able to shove the baseball in the strike zone," Cohen said. "If we could do that we knew we were going to have a successful day."

USM leaders

Tracy Hadley led Southern Miss with two hits, including a solo home run in the fourth and an RBI single in the seventh.

Dylan Burdeaux would also add two hits for the Golden Eagles.

Southern Miss would score three runs in the seventh to cut the MSU lead to 8-5.

Cody Livingston (1-2) took the loss on the mound for Southern Miss.

"We never won an inning tonight," said Southern Miss coach Scott Berry. "We didn't compete well enough at the plate. Certainly we didn't compete coming out of the bullpen.

"Mississippi State's a really good club. They sped the game up on us in the fourth inning and we didn't play well in any phase tonight."