March 23, 2014
Starkville, Miss. - No. 6 Vanderbilt scored two runs in the first inning but No. 21 Mississippi State rallied to clinch the series with a 6-3 victory Saturday night in front of 10,064 fans at Dudy Noble Field.
The Commodores (19-5, 2-3) jumped on Bulldogs' (17-8, 4-1) starter Ross Mitchell in the first inning when Ro Coleman was a hit by a pitch and Dansby Swanson worked a walk to lead off the game. Zander Wiel quickly cashed in on the opportunity with a two-run single up the middle to give the Dores their first lead of the weekend.
Mississippi State, however, battled back against Vanderbilt starter Jared Miller to scratch out a run in the second inning after Miller issued a pair of walks to open the frame. The Bulldogs took the lead in the third when Miller's control problems reappeared. Alex Detz worked from behind in the count to draw a one-out walk and Wes Rea singled on a two-strike, no ball count. Seth Heck made the Commodores pay with a two-run double over Kyle Smith's head in left field to give State the lead.
Two VU errors in the fifth pushed the Mississippi State lead to two runs before the Bulldogs tacked on runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
The Commodores attempted to mount a rally in the ninth; scoring a run on two hits before MSU closer Jonathan Holder notched his third save of the season.
Mitchell earned the win for the Bulldogs allowing two runs on six hits over 7.1 innings. Miller took the loss giving up four runs, three earned, on four hits and a career-high five walks over 4.1 innings. Vanderbilt's pitching staff has issued 17 walks and the Dores' defense has made seven errors in the first two games of the series.
The loss snaps Vanderbilt's streak of 23 consecutive regular season series victories, including 15 straight Southeastern Conference series. The series loss is the first in the regular season since the Commodores dropped two-of-three at Alabama April 20-22, 2012.
Right-hander Tyler Ferguson gets the ball for the Commodores in the series finale against Mississippi State right-hander Trevor Fitts. First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m.