MSU comes back against LSU

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Junior left-hander Paul Maholm struck out a season-high 10 and first baseman Matthew Brinson drove in three of the Bulldogs' four runs Friday night to Mississippi State to a 4-2 win over SEC-leading LSU at Dudy Noble Field.

Maholm (7-2) scattered nine hits, walked five, stranded two base runners in the second, third and fifth innings and got solid backing from the Bulldog defense, which turned three double plays.

Brinson, who turned in a 6-for-10 performance in last year's two-game set at LSU, laced a solo home run, doubled in a pair of runs and scored State's final run.

Greg Smith (0-1) was charged with three runs on five hits during his three-inning relief stint and absorbed the loss. LSU starter Justin Meier scattered five hits, walked five and struck out one in five innings.

The win lifted 16th-ranked Mississippi State (32-12-1, 13-8) into second place tie with Auburn (32-13, 13-8), rained out in its Friday night series opener at home against Florida.

No. 5 LSU (31-15-1, 16-5-1) scored the game's first run, getting a pair of two-out walks and a single to right by Will Harris. Jon Zeringue, the lead runner, advanced a base when Steve Gendron dropped a pick-off throw at third base.

Brinson tied the score in the bottom of the inning, leading off the inning with his eighth home run of the season. The blast extended Brinson's hitting streak to a career-best 13 games.

The Tigers threatened again in the third when Maholm walked Ryan Patterson and Aaron Hill followed with a ground-rule double in the right field corner. But Maholm worked out of the jam, striking out Clay Harris and Blake Gill to end the inning. State likewise threatened in the third when Meier issued a pair of two-out walks, with Meier retiring Brad Corley on a fly ball to center field to finish the frame.

LSU took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Zeringue doubled and Quinn Stewart followed with an RBI single up the middle.

Meier, who checked the Bulldogs on five hits over the first five innings, issued his fourth and fifth walks to open the sixth, and was replaced on the hill by lefty Greg Smith. Smith retired the next three Bulldog batters, two on strikeouts, to thwart another MSU rally.

Mississippi State jumped on Smith for three runs on four hits in the seventh to take a 4-2 lead. Maniscalco and Gendron singled and Brinson cleared the bases with a double into the right field corner. Brinson raced home with the Bulldogs' third run of the inning on Corley's single to right.

Maholm worked into the eighth, leaving the game with two outs and runners at second on a single to Blake Gill and walk issued to Zeringue. Jonathan Papelbon entered the game and struck out pinch hitter Ivan Naccarata and then set the Tigers down in order in the ninth to record his seventh save.

The win and the save moved Maholm and Papelbon into seventh place among MSU's career leaders in those categories. Maholm owns a 25-7 career mark while Papelbon has 13 career saves.

The Bulldogs and the Tigers continue their three-game weekend series Saturday at 3:06 p.m. The game will be televised regionally by FOX Sports Net South as the SEC-TV Game of the Week. During pregame ceremonies, Mississippi State will retire the jersey for former Bulldog and Boston Red Sox hurler David "Boo" Ferriss.

Post-game Quotes - Courtesy of Gene Swindoll of


Talk about (LSU's) Justin Meier. "He is a talented freshman. He will give them a chance to win in every single game. He is a little wild and it kind of got him in trouble, but he found a way to get out of it. We kind of helped him out by not being able to get those sac bunts down and moving the runners. He got out of those and hats off to him, but, if we take care of business, we would have had a great chance."

As good as Paul Malholm has been, was it almost crucial for you, especially against a team like LSU, to get that Friday win? "Yeah, it is huge. It takes a load off now. We come out and win tomorrow, we have the series won. And that is what we are going to try and do. We are going to take it game by game."


From a pitcher's standpoint, talk about Brinson's seventh inning hit. "It was huge. We were about one hit away the entire game. It's about clutch hits and Brinson came up with it and Corley came through with another one."

You don't normally have a lot of strikeouts but you got them tonight. "I think I have learned how to pick my spots, when to go for them and when not to. My pitch count had gotten up and I realized striking out wasn't that great, so I started trying to get ground balls. I got a few double plays to help me out."

What pitches were you striking them out with? "I used the breaking balls and fastballs, really anything."

Because LSU swings the ball so well, did you try to come out with a little extra? "No, I really don't look at what team I'm playing. I go in there with the same gameplan. I go after each hitter as he comes up to bat. If you start thinking about who you are facing, you might pitch to your weaknesses and their strengths. I just go out there and throw my game."


You guys were running out of opportunities when you came up in the seventh. You went after Smith's first pitch. "His first pitch was a curveball and I was sitting dead-ready fastball. It was a pretty good pitch. I just got the head of the bat out there and kind of flick it down the line."

Talk about the home run. "It as a 3-1 fastball that was down and in. The speed of the pitch got me that distance. He threw it and I kind of poked at it and it jumped out of here."

You pumped your fist after the last out. You were showing some fire out there tonight. "I was. This is a huge series for us. Tonight, in my opinion, was a must win. And so it tomorrow and the next day. But we have to take care of tomorrow first. LSU is a great ball club. There is a reason why they are 15-6 in the SEC. They have beaten a lot of good teams."


Talk about Brinson's double in the seventh. "It was huge. We had some key hits in the seventh inning. That reminds me of what we did at Florida on Saturday during the second game. You've heard me say it before, hitting is contagious.

"I thought that LSU's two freshmen pitchers were pretty good and competed well tonight. Although, we did a good job of bat discipline on Meier who walked five. And he has been a pretty good strike-thrower for LSU.

"We had some opportunities early; had some walks and didn't get the guy over. We left nine guys on base but LSU did to. It just seemed like we left more. We didn't do a good job of bunting, which we have been doing a pretty good job of. And I had my best bunters up there."

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