Freshmen shine as No. 4 Bulldogs beat Arkansas State
Apr. 14—STARKVILLE — Mississippi State's talented freshmen put on a show Tuesday night.
Freshman shortstop Lane Forsythe finished 3 for 4 at the plate, including the game-tying and go-ahead hits while freshman pitcher Cade Smith struck out five batters in two innings and earned his first career win.
No. 4-ranked Mississippi State beat Arkansas State, 18-10, at Dudy Noble Field.
Freshmen Kyte McDonald and Kellum Clark each came off the bench and hit home runs, and second-year freshmen Logan Tanner and Kamren James also had good nights.
Tanner finished 1 for 3 and drove in two runs, while James finished 1 for 3 with a stolen base and scored two runs.
"He's really started to make some moves offensively in the last week," head coach Chris Lemonis said of Forsythe. "I was really pleased with him. He made some plays and his offense is really taking off right now, which is fun to see."
Mississippi State (25-7, 8-4 SEC) trailed Arkansas State, 3-2, when Forsythe stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning with one out.
He took a ball to start the at-bat, then turned the next pitch into a line drive home run to centerfield, the first of his career, to tie the game, 3-3.
Forsythe came back up to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning in a bases loaded situation and hit the first pitch he saw off the wall in right field to give the Bulldogs a 5-3 lead.
He finished with three RBIs and scored three runs.
"Right now at the plate, I'm just trying to stay loose and stay locked in on every pitch that I get," Forsythe said. "Just be as loose as I can be and not really think too much when I step in the box."
The Bulldogs led, 6-3, but broke open the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. Brad Cumbest led off the inning with a home run. Thirty minutes and 11 runs later, Mississippi State led 18-3 going into the top of the ninth inning.
Clark and McDonald each hit their home runs in the eighth, while Rowdey Jordan and Drew McGowan each doubled in runs.
On the mound, Smith made his second appearance of the season. He pitched two innings, the fifth and the sixth, and struck out five of the nine batters he faced.
He pitched a perfect fifth inning before loading the bases with two singles and a walk in the sixth, but he struck out all three batters in the inning to not allow any runs.
"I thought he was good," Lemonis said of Smith's performance. "We tried to stretch him out a little bit and gave him two innings. I thought it was really good and he pitched pretty good. He left a few balls over the middle of the plate but he was able to wiggle out of a jam."