The Michigan State baseball team lost its first game of the season to Southern Miss on Friday afternoon in the opening game of the Cox Diamond Invitational in Pensacola, Fla. The 2-0 loss drops the Spartans to 6-1 on the year, while the Golden Eagles improve to 8-2.
After being powered by offense for most of the season, the Spartans found themselves in a pitching duel on Friday. MSU starter Cam Vieaux went five innings and allowed no earned runs, but was the pitcher of record to fall to 1-1 on the season. USM starter Cord Cokrell threw 7 innings of four-hit ball and struck out eight to earn the win.
“It was a tough day,” said head coach Jake Boss Jr. “I thought Cam threw really well. Dakota (Mekkes) came in a tough situation and was really, really good. The effort that we got on the mound out of those guys was certainly good enough to win. I’m really disappointed in our approach at the plate. We weren’t able to make many adjustments. But credit their guy, he was able to keep us off balance all day long and executed when he needed to.”
Southern Miss got on the board in the third after the leadoff man reached on an error. A sac bunt and a two-out single gave the Golden Eagles the 1-0 lead.
USM had a chance to extend its lead in the fifth after a pair of leadoff singles, but Vieaux kept his team in the game, getting a ground ball double play. MSU then got out of the inning when Matt Byars picked the runner off third with a perfect throw to get out of the inning.
Michigan State’s best chance came in the next half inning after putting the first two batters of the inning on. A flyout followed by a double play ended the chance and kept the Spartans scoreless.
Southern Miss started the next inning with two more singles to end Vieaux’s day after five-plus innings in which he allowed five hits and struck out four. Mekkes came on in relief and struck out three to strand the runners and hold the deficit to just one run.
The Golden Eagles added an insurance run in the eighth, sparked by a leadoff triple into the right field corner.
The Spartans return to action tomorrow vs. Auburn at noon ET in Pensacola, Fla. The game will be broadcast on Cox Sports.