MSU rallies back in 10th inning to defeat FIU 9-7

Brett Shweky // Staff Writer

Mississippi State’s first baseman Brent Rooker drove in a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to lead the Bulldogs, 9-7, over FIU Wednesday night at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville, Mississippi.

The Bulldogs (20-11) split the two-game series with the Panthers (17-12) after falling 8-3 in the first game on Tuesday.

The Panthers were able to establish an early 6-1 lead in the top of the third inning Wednesday night.

Left fielder Javier Valdes got FIU on the board in the third, when he sent a two-run single down the middle to score shortstop Irving Lopez and second baseman Kobe Lopez. First baseman Nick Day followed up with a two-run single of his own that allowed centerfielder Kenny Meimerstorf and Valdes to advance home. Third baseman Zach Files and Kobe Lopez each added another RBI single to bring the Panthers lead to 6-1.

After MSU shortened the gap with two RBI singles in the bottom of the third inning, Rooker brought the game within a run as homered over the left center wall in the bottom of the fourth. The redshirt junior leads the Southeastern Conference in almost every offensive category, including 12 home runs.

FIU increased its lead in the top of the eighth inning, as outfielder Kolby Follis, who was pinch-running for Day, scored on a wild pitch. This brought the Panthers’ lead to 7-5.  

In the bottom of the eighth, MSU was able to string together two runs to tie the game 7-7.

Rooker was walked by FIU relief pitcher Chandler Raiden (0-1) and resulted in pinch-runner Trey Jolly to advance home as bases were loaded. Luke Alexander scored the tying-run for the Bulldogs as he reached home plate on a passed ball.

MSU closer Spencer Price (3-1) entered the game in the eighth and threw the final 2 ⅓ innings to record the win.

Junior and international business major Javier Delgado said that even though the team was not able to pick up both victories against the Bulldogs, the Panthers should be satisfied with their performance.

“MSU is ranked as the No. 22 team in the entire nation,” said Delgado. “To even take just one of the two games against them is a huge deal for the program and shows that the team can play with the best.”

FIU will remain in the state of Mississippi as the Panthers will head to Hattiesburg to open a three-game conference series against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles beginning on Friday at 7 p.m.

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