|Gannaway (L, 0-1)||2.1||3||1||1||0||0|
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Columbia baseball team erased a three-run deficit, but Mississippi State earned a 5-4 walk-off victory thanks to a Cody Brown triple and Brant Blaylock single in the bottom of the ninth. The Lions (0-5) will complete today’s doubleheader against South Alabama at 6 p.m. ET.
Blaylock and Brown drove in four of the five Bulldogs’ runs and went a combined 5-for-6 on the day.
Down 4-1 in the top of the eighth, Columbia’s Ben Porter roped a double down the leftfield line and Randell Kanemaru extended his hit-streak to six games (dating back to last season) with a single. After the Bulldogs (9-6) called to the bullpen, Kyle Bartelman bounced one over the wall in right for a ground rule double to bring the Lions within 4-2.
First-year Liam McGill sent the very next pitch to left to even things up and Columbia had first and second after a walk, but reliever Spencer Price fanned the next two hitters to keep the Lions at bay.
The Lions tried to jump ahead in the top of the ninth, putting runners on first and second with two outs, but Mississippi State third baseman Luke Alexander’s strong throw across the diamond beat Michael Kuzbel by a half-step to retire the side and set up the theatrics in the bottom of the ninth.
Columbia struck first in the top of the third after starting pitcher Denver McQuarry retired the first six batters of the game. McQuarry, making his first career start after working primarily out of the bullpen seemed to run out of gas in the third. A leadoff walk and a single by Joe Engel, that just fell under the glove of the diving leftfielder, put runners on the corners with one out. Julian Bury worked a walk and Porter’s single through the left side gave the Lions a 1-0 advantage. The Bulldogs caught a break when a hard-hit liner went right into the glove of the Alexander at third and the runner on second was doubled up to end the inning.
Blaylock was the catalyst in the fifth when Mississippi State tied things up in the fifth. He singled with one out and moved all the way to third after an errant throw on a pickoff try. The next batter hit a deep fly to right to bring in the tying run.
Mississippi State applied more pressure in the sixth, putting runners on first and second after a pair of walks (one intentional) and one out. A fielder’s choice had the Lions one out away from getting out of the jam, but the Bulldogs swiped second base to break up the force play and Brown singled up the middle to drive both runs home to give his team a 3-1 cushion. Brown was able to steal second and came around on Blaylock’s base hit to extend the margin to three.
Sophomore Josh Simpson lasted 5.2 innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits with three strikeouts. Brett Gannaway (0-1) tossed the final 2.1 innings in relief in his first appearance of the season.
Kanemaru and Porter each finished 2-for-5.
Price (2-1) earned the victory for Mississippi State. He surrendered just one hit and struck out three in two innings. McQuarry tossed 4.0 innings and fanned six.