MSU bats freeze in series opener against Hogs

Pic Credit Jaden Powell/MSU athletics

The offense that carried Mississippi State University baseball to its previous 24 wins was no where to be found on Friday night as the Bulldogs fell to the University of Arkansas Razorbacks 6-2. 

Despite only surrendering five hits, MSU pitcher Cade Smith allowed four runs over the duration of his six inning start, and that was all the Razorbacks needed to take their first win of the series that many MSU fans have grown to look forward to each year. 

MSU head coach Chris Lemonis spoke about the efforts of the Arkansas pitching staff postgame. 

“I thought their starter came out and played as good as we’ve (MSU) seen all year,” Lemonis said. “And I thought we did a good job of doing what we do, wearing him out, (we got) some walks and HBP’s…we had opportunities to drive some runs in, we just didn’t put the ball in play.”

The loss comes directly after the firing of pitching coach Scott Foxhall, which The Reflector covered earlier this week. 

Lemonis also spoke on how the team has responded to having to part ways with the pitching coach that was on staff for the 2021 national championship run. 

“(The staff) has been great. I mean, obviously, it’s been a tough week…we had a meeting on Monday, we sat and talked, and I think when I called the meeting they knew what the meeting was. It’s just unfortunate,” said Lemonis.

One of the members of that staff that had not been seeing a lot of innings was Cole Cheatham, who was the first man out of the bull pen for MSU on Friday. Cheatham tossed 2.2 relief innings and allowed only one run before KC Hunt was brought in to secure the last out. With Hunt’s ERA sitting around the 10 mark, the Bulldogs could certainly use all of the short-term relievers they can get out of the pen. 

The Bulldogs had the most trouble with Arkansas starting pitcher Hagen Smith, who only allowed the pair of hits through his five innings of work while striking out eight batters.

MSU junior outfielder Colton Ledbetter explained why in the simplest terms possible.

“He was mixing (his pitches) good, he was painting the corners and it had some giddy up on it,” said Ledbetter. Fair enough. 

The game marked the fourth straight SEC loss for the Bulldogs and earned them a record of 24-21 (6-16) heading into Saturday’s matchup with the Hogs. It is unclear who Mississippi State will start on Saturday, as the lineups that the team released announced them as TBA. 

Lemonis hinted postgame on Friday, though, that Saturday’s starter will more than likely be one of the players that fans have seen on the weekend games over the past few weeks. 

First pitch for game two will be at 6 p.m. and will be aired on ESPN 2. 

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