(Photo Courtesy of Mississippi State Athletics)
The position of left fielder for the M Over S has been a pretty open race up to this point in the season. That was the case leading into Friday night in Baton Rouge, but as the dust settled after the contest, Brayland Skinner had made a pretty good case to end that race. The senior outfielder from Lake Cormorant, MS by way of Coach Mark Carson’s Northwest Mississippi Community College squad (#RangerUp) went 3-3 with a two-run home run and an RBI single to help propel the Bulldogs past the Tigers by a final score of 6-1.
Mr. Weatherman, Christian MacLeod (2-1), drew the start and went 6 outstanding innings. The lefty gave up 1 run on 3 hits while striking out 9 and recording the win. He was followed by Brandon Smith who pitched the final 3 and gave up 0 runs on 3 hits while fanning 3.
The scoring didn’t begin until the 5th inning when Josh Hatcher led off the inning with a double into the left field corner. Brayland Skinner then stepped to the plate as a starter for the first time wearing the Friday Maroons. The first SEC pitch Skinner saw was an elevated fastball that he turned around for a no-doubter to the right-field Diamond Deck to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
LSU got a run back in the bottom of the 6th when Cade Doughty reached on a pop-up that fell between Tanner Allen and Scotty Dubrule. He was plated by a Gavin Dugas double to put the Bayou Bengals on the board, 2-1. That was the only run the home team would score as the Bulldog arms were once again lights out. The Diamond Dawgs would tack on another run in the top of the 7th when Logan Tanner opened the inning with a walk. Josh Hatcher then doubled to left and Tanner was thrown out trying to score from first. Brayland Skinner then stepped to the plate and continued his hot streak, singling to center and scoring Hatcher to make the score 3-1. The Bulldogs would put the final nail in the coffin in the top of the 8th when Rowdey Jordan and Tanner Allen opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Kamren James then added a single to load the bases with no outs. After Luke Hancock flew out to shallow right field, LSU went to the bullpen to bring in Ma’Khail Hilliard. He was greeted by Logan Tanner, who singled to score Jordan and Allen to make it 5-1. After a Hatcher strikeout, Brayland Skinner was hit by a pitch to re-load the bases. Lane Forsythe then legged out and infield single on a bang play at first to push across the 6th, and final, run of the contest, sending the Bulldog faithful and those watching around the country home with smiles on their faces and a series opening victory.
The contest was a pitching duel throughout most of the night. Christian MacLeod and LSU ace Jaden Hill (2-2) went toe to toe, with the Bulldog ace getting the upper hand. Hill did not disappoint though, going 7.1 innings and throwing over 100 pitches before being chased in the 8th.
At the plate, Brayland Skinner led the charge, going 3-3 with 3 RBIs and an HBP. Josh Hatcher and Lane Forsythe each provided 2 hits and Logan Tanner plated 2 runs.
The shirt on the night seemed to be and easy decision for Coach Chris Lemonis. Brayland Skinner was the recipient for his monstrous night at the dish.
The Diamond Dawgs return to Alex Box tomorrow and look to take the series with Will Bednar making his weekend starter debut for the 2021 season. First pitch is set for 6:30 pm CT.
Recap and Box Score can be found here
And now, onto the music portion of the article. Here’s a little nod to the bayou: