BILOXI, Miss. – Ross Highfill and Hunter Hines each drove in runs in the fourth inning and Mississippi State added a pair of runs late to hold the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, 4-2, on Wednesday at MGM Park.
Hines and Amani Larry had two hits each as Mississippi State (13-5) plated a run in the fifth and one in the eighth to claim the win. Colby Holcombe (1-0) earned the win for the Bulldogs after tossing 4.0 innings and striking out five in his first career start.
Louisiana (11-6) broke open a scoreless game in txhe fourth inning after John Taylor drew a one-out walk before advancing to second on a stolen base. Kyle DeBarge, who went 3-for-4, delivered an RBI single up the middle to drive in Taylor for a 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs would answer with a pair of runs off Sam Hill (0-1), who was making his first career start for Louisiana. A leadoff walk to Colton Ledbetter and a hard-hit, infield single by Bryce Chance put runners on first and second before both runners moved up on a wild pitch.
After Luke Hancock drew a walk to load the bases, Highfill lifted a sacrifice fly to right to drive in Ledbetter and tie the game at 1-1. Hines then greeted reliever Tommy Ray with a go-ahead double to score Chance and give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.
Back-to-back doubles by Amani Larry and Ledbetter gave MSU a 3-1 lead in the fifth before Larry added an RBI single in the eighth for a 4-1 advantage.
Louisiana, which outhit the Bulldogs, 10-8, got back-to-back singles by Luke Yuhasz and Ben Robichaux with one out in the seventh inning off Tyson Hardin, but the right-hander came back with a strikeout and ground out to end the inning.
DeBarge and Carson Roccaforte led off the eighth with singles for the Ragin’ Cajuns and DeBarge would later score on Mason Zambo’s sacrifice fly to right, but MSU closer Nate Dohm would get an inning-ending popup to stop the threat.
Dohm would earn the save after pitching the final 1.1 innings for the Bulldogs with three strikeouts. The right-hander gave up a one-out double into the corner by Robichaux, who collected his first two collegiate hits.
Hill allowed one hit and struck out one in 3.1 innings for Louisiana with Carson Fluno pitching 1.2 innings of hitless relief. Roccaforte and Heath Hood each went 2-for-4 at the plate for Louisiana.
Louisiana will open Sun Belt Conference play on Friday when it opens a three-game series at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park against Arkansas State. First pitch for Friday’s opener is scheduled for 6 p.m. with the series continuing on Saturday at 2 and Sunday at 1.
Single-game tickets are available by visiting the Louisiana Athletics Box Office at the Cajundome or purchasing by visiting Account Manager [am.ticketmaster.com]. For more information call the Louisiana Athletics Box Office at the Cajundome at (337) 265-2104.
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