Two words: toaster oven.
Georgia failed to card a hit in the opening half of the initial inning and Mississippi State took an early lead in the bottom of the frame on a leadoff double by Nick Vickerson, an RBI groundout by Connor Powers, and a two-out solo shot by Russ Sneed. The Red and Black answered in the top of the second stanza when Colby May reached base on a fielder’s choice, moved into scoring position on an error, and came home on a Carson Schilling double.
The hometown Bulldogs went hitless in the bottom of the inning and the visiting Bulldogs took the lead in the upper half of the third canto. Johnathan Taylor led off with a single, Levi Hyams followed with a one-out double, and Zach Cone sent a home run out to left field to make it 4-2. Another hitless turn at the plate followed for Mississippi State.
The fourth frame got underway with a May single to center field to lead off the inning. A walk by Schilling and a one-out single by Taylor loaded the bases for Peter Verdin, whose sacrifice fly plated a run. No batter for the home team reached base in the bottom of the canto.
Georgia notched two singles and no runs in the fifth frame, in which Mississippi State failed to have a hit. A leadoff double by Kyle Farmer in the top of the sixth stanza was turned into a run by Hyams’s subsequent two-out double, but Ryan Collins’s one-out triple in the home half of the canto went for naught. Neither team carded a hit in the seventh inning.
Schilling led off the eighth frame with a base hit and Farmer doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Taylor reached on the error that allowed one run to score and Verdin sent the sacrifice fly into center field that brought home another. A Hyams double plated a third and a Robert Shipman single tacked on a fourth. The Classic City Canines headed to the bottom of the penultimate stanza leading 10-2 and needing only to secure six outs before surrendering eight runs.
Ben Cornwell took over on the mound for Michael Palazzone, who had struck out nine, walked four, and surrendered five hits and two earned runs in seven innings’ worth of work. After the first out was secured in short order, Sneed walked and Collins dropped a single into left field to put runners at the corners. Jet Butler brought home one run with a base hit, Wes Thigpen brought home one more with a base hit, and Jonathan Ogden brought home three more with a home run.
Cody Freeman doubled, Vickerson singled, and Luke Adkins doubled to score two more. A Powers single plated another, so, even though the next two batters registered outs, the damage had been done by the Mississippians in an eight-hit, eight-run inning to tie the game. The Athenians went three up and three down in the top of the ninth frame.
Butler led off the home half of the canto with a single and was replaced on the basepaths by Jaron Shepherd. After the next two Mississippi State batters popped up and struck out, respectively, the pinch runner swiped two bases and scored the winning run on a Freeman single to take the series and deal the Diamond Dogs their sixth one-run loss in their last nine games.