No. 2 Mississippi State University's head coach Chris Lemonis told third baseman Justin Foscue he did not fear his swing when he got here. However, the whole SEC has something to fear in Foscue’s swing, as his two home runs helped MSU get a 6-5 win over Louisiana State University.
Lemonis said Foscue changed his swing before spring training this year, and the changes paid dividends in MSU’s (24-3, 5-2 SEC) Thursday night win over No. 17 LSU (17-9, 4-3 SEC).
"That first day or two back, we could tell it was a different swing," Lemonis said. "When you play a corner position at this level, you have to hit the ball out of the ballpark a little bit. He made some really nice changes to his swing."
Foscue was the leader in the clubhouse for MSU. He hit two home runs, one of which was a three-run home run in the third inning to give MSU their first lead of the game and another in the fifth inning. Foscue, a sophomore infielder from Huntsville, Alabama, has nine home runs this season, and he said he is not at all surprised.
"It is not a shock (that I have hit nine home runs)," Foscue said. "This is what I am supposed to do."
Foscue’s second home run came at the backend of back-to-back home runs by him and right fielder Elijah MacNamee. Foscue finished the game with two hits, both home runs and four RBIs.
On the mound, MSU showed resilience throughout the night. Starting left-handed pitcher Ethan Small gave up two runs in the first inning on a home run, but he came back and struck out the next four batters he faced.
In the sixth inning, left-handed pitcher Trysten Barlow entered the game with two runners on and no outs, but he got the next two outs without giving up a run.
Then, in the seventh inning, Jared Liebelt entered the game with the bases loaded and only one out. He struck out the first batter he faced and got the next batter on a groundout.
Lemonis said the senior leadership in the bullpen is a big part of their ability to handle tougher situations.
"They have good stuff, they have been through the year," Lemonis said. “It is older guys, more mature guys, and they are pitching well."
Despite being down 6-2, LSU went down swinging. They scored three runs in the eighth inning to bring the game within one run. Then, Cole Gordon, a senior closer from Tampa, Florida, came into the game and got MSU out of the eighth and then closed out the ninth inning, earning the save.
Gordon said he just looked to the task at hand when he entered the game, right as LSU was starting to surge and get back into the game.
"Just stay focused, whether it is a seven-run lead or a one-run lead,” Gordon said. "My mindset is going to stay the same, my job is to go in there and get outs."
MSU will have a chance to take the series Friday. First pitch is set for 6 p.m., and right-handed pitcher J.T. Ginn will have the start for MSU.