Georgia falls to Mississippi State 15-5

STARKVILLE - Third-ranked Mississippi State defeated Georgia 15-5 Friday to give head coach Ron Polk his 1,300th career win before a crowd of 4,890 at Dudy Noble Field.

MSU improved to 25-4 overall (6-3 SEC) including 18-0 at home while the Bulldogs dropped to 19-10 (3-7 SEC). Senior left-hander Brooks Dunn got the win to go to 6-1 as he went six innings, scattering four runs on 10 hits with two walks and five strikeouts. The start of the game was delayed by approximately 45 minutes due to severe weather in the area.

The clubs exchanged three-run outbursts in the third. Georgia got a run-scoring double from Josh Morris (3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI), an RBI-groundout from Jason Jacobs and a two-out run-scoring single from Gordon Beckham to take a brief 3-0 advantage. However, MSU answered off Brooks Brown as Michael Rutledge and Jeff Butts (5-for-5, 2 RBI) reached on singles. Then, Jeffrey Rea was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Edward Easley's blooper to right brought a pair of runs home and then Mitch Moreland (2-for-4, 5 RBI) tied the contest with a run-scoring single. MSU threatened to take the lead with runners at the corners but Brown responded by striking out Joseph Hunter and Brad Jones to keep it 3-3.

In the fourth, MSU grabbed a 4-3 advantage as Rutledge and Butts reached on one-out base hits. Rea slapped a single in to left to bring home the go-ahead run. Brown recovered to strike out Easley and after a walk to Thomas Berekery loaded the bases, he got Moreland swinging for his ninth strikeout of the night which tied his career high. Georgia answered in the fifth after two were out. Jacobs notched a base hit, took second on a balk and designated hitter Matt Robbins tied the contest with a run-scoring single.

However, MSU reclaimed a 7-4 lead in the bottom of the frame and chased Brown. Hunter started it off by reaching on an infield flare and then with one out, Brian LaNinfa delivered a run-scoring double. With two outs, Butts registered his third hit, driving in LaNinfa for a 6-4 advantage. An error by Beckham prolonged the inning and Easley added a run-scoring single to extend the advantage to 7-4. Georgia turned to Adam McDaniel in relief of Brown. He issued a walk to Berkery to load the bases but then retired Moreland for the final out of the fifth.

Brown took the loss to fall to 3-3, going 4.2 innings and surrendering seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits with a walk and nine strikeouts. McDaniel was chased after only one inning, allowing seven runs on seven hits as MSU batted around in the sixth highlighted by a grand slam by Moreland. In the frame, Berkery extended his SEC-leading hitting streak to 26 games with an infield run-scoring single. Meanwhile, Morris hit his team-leading 10th home run, a solo shot in the top of the ninth for Georgia's final run that made it 15-5. For Morris, it was the 38th home run of his career.

"We need one guy to right the ship, and we thought that might be Brooks (Brown) tonight after we got a 3-0 lead but credit Miss. State for coming right back." said Georgia coach David Perno. "It just wasn't Brooks' night and you're going to have those. Everything seemed a bit out of reach, the early runs were not hit hard but MSU was able to put the ball in play. Hopefully, Mickey (Westphal) will be able to give us at least five, or six strong innings Saturday."

The series continues Saturday with first pitch slated for 3 p.m. ET. It will be Georgia senior left-hander Mickey Westphal (2-0, 5.84) against junior right-hander Josh Johnson (4-1, 2.79).

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