Zack Hess struck out 10 in win against Mississippi State

Offense Explodes as Baseball Defeats MSU, 10-1

Grant Kauvar
Grant Kauvar
Communications Student Assistant

BATON ROUGE, La. – With two outs in the seventh inning of a one-run game, the 19th-ranked LSU baseball team exploded for seven runs as the Tigers defeated Mississippi State, 10-1, Thursday night at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

LSU moves to 17-10 (4-3 SEC) on the season while Mississippi State falls to 13-14 (1-6 SEC).

The Tigers and Bulldogs will be back in action Friday night in Game 2 of the series with first pitch slated for 7 p.m. CT.

LSU starter Zack Hess had a strong outing as he earned the win and moved to 4-3 on the year. Hess went 6.2 innings and struck out 10, giving up just one run.

Mississippi State starter Konnor Pilkington (1-4) was charged with the loss, as he allowed five runs on six hits in 6.2 innings with three walks and six strikeouts.

“Zack did a really good job with 10 strikeouts, and our bullpen was excellent again tonight,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “It was a real pitchers’ duel through the first six innings of the game, but we finally got to Pilkington, who is one of the best pitchers in our league and a likely first-round draft choice.”

The Tigers got on the board first in the bottom of the second when third baseman Jake Slaughter squared a pitch up, driving in catcher Hunter Feduccia, who had originally gotten on base after being hit by a pitch.

Leading off the third inning, centerfielder Zach Watson hit a 426-foot blast to center, giving LSU a 2-0 lead with his third homer of the season.

Mississippi State broke up the shutout in the top of the sixth when Hunter Stovall doubled to left field, scoring Jake Mangum from second and cutting the LSU lead in half.

With two outs in the seventh, shortstop Hal Hughes delivered a double to get things rolling. Watson then picked up his second RBI of the game with a single up the middle. Right fielder Antoine Duplantis hit a triple over the centerfielder’s head as Watson came in to score.

“Watson got a huge two-out hit after Hughes’ double, and I didn’t think we could hit a ball over (Mississippi State centerfielder Jake) Mangum’s head, but Antoine got it over his head for a triple. We just kept swinging the bats, and it was really good to see us get a lot of clutch hits. Our offense rewarded the pitching we had tonight, which was tremendous.”

Second baseman Austin Bain joined in on the two-out action with an infield hit to the shortstop, scoring Duplantis and keeping the inning alive. First baseman Bryce Jordan then reached when he was hit by a pitch and Feduccia delivered an infield single to load up the bases.

Beau Jordan came to the dish with the bases juiced and delivered an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Leftfielder Daniel Cabrera followed suit a single of his own, driving in two runs. Slaughter picked up his second RBI of the night in his next at bat, capping off the seven-run seventh for the Tigers.

With no outs in the eighth, Bain drove a single, scoring Watson from third and putting LSU up 10-1.

LSU relievers John Kodros, Nick Bush and Todd Peterson combined to blank the Bulldogs over the final 2.1 innings, allowing no hits with two strikeouts.