Mississippi State Defeats Morehead State, 10-4

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Matthew Brinson, Thomas Berkery and Jon Mungle hit home runs for Mississippi State (18-3-1) Tuesday night powering the ninth-ranked Bulldogs to a 10-4 win over Morehead State (7-12) at Dudy Noble Field. It was the 12th win in the last 14 games for the Bulldogs, who close out the two-game set with Morehead State Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

"We are not a classic home run hitting ball club," said MSU coach Ron Polk. "The air was light today and we hit three balls in basically the same spot. Brinson's kind of went around the pole. Berkery got all of his. Mungle's had pretty good distance on it."

State jumped on Eagles starter Casey Campbell (0-4) for a run in the first when Mungle walked, Brinson singled up the middle and Brad Corley lashed a single to left. Morehead State staged a two-out rally to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the third. Bulldog starter Jeff Lacher (3-0), after striking out the first two batters he faced in the frame, gave up an infield single by Roy Gentry, a game-tying double by Brandon Baarstad, and a Kevin Bryant RBI single to right.

The lead was short-lived. Steve Gendron singled to left to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games, and Brinson followed with his team-leading fourth home run of the year. An inning later Berkery sent his third home run of the year, a two-run shot, over the left field fence for a 5-2 MSU lead.

"It was an inside pitch and I just dropped the head of the bat on it," said Berkery, referring to his home run. "I'm swinging at good pitches, hoping good things will happen. Home runs aren't really my game. They just happen; they are mistakes."

Baarstad and Kevin Bryant drilled run-scoring singles in the fifth inning as the Eagles trimmed the Bulldog lead to 5-4. But State put the game away in the bottom of the frame with a four-run, four-hit surge triggered by Mungle's lead-off home run to left. Corley and Brent Lewis then delivered back-to-back RBI singles as the first five Bulldogs reached base in the inning.

"We have a little surprising pop on this team, myself, T-Berk (Thomas Berkery), (Jon) Mungle, Joseph Hunter," said Brinson of MSU's sudden home run hitting prowess that has seen them hit 11 homers in their last seven games. "We have a little bit of pop and will sneak up on some people and hit a few home runs this year."

Lacher picked up his third win in four starts, allowing four runs on six hits with six strikeouts. Jacob Blakeney replaced Lacher in the sixth and fanned four of the eight batters he faced during two innings of scoreless relief work. Saunders Ramsey and Brian Owens blanked the Eagles over the final two frames to close out the game.

"I thought he was effective," said Polk of his starting pitcher Jeff Lacher. "I thought all of your kids threw well. Once you get a five or six run lead, you throw strikes."

Campbell, the Morehead State starter, was touched for nine runs on 11 hits. Donald Schneider worked the final three innings for the Eagles.

Brinson, Corley, and Berkery had two-hit, two-RBI nights at the plate while Craig Tatum and Brent Lewis also collected two hits apiece.

"We are dedicated to having a backside, right-field, left-field approach and staying up the middle and it's working right now," said Berkery, explaining why MSU is hitting so well right now.

Baarstad and Bryant also turned in two-hit, two-RBI plate performances for Morehead State.

Morehead State 002 020 000 -- 4- 7-4
Mississippi State 102 240 10x -- 10-13-3
WP -- Jeff Lacher (3-0). LP -- Casey Campbell (0-4). HR (MSU) Matthew Brinson (4), Thomas Berkery (3), Jon Mungle (3). T -- 2:27. ATT -- 5,665 (paid), 1,732 (actual).
Jeff Lacher, Jacob Blakeney (6), Saunders Ramsey (8), Brian Owens (9) and Craig Tatum and Thomas Berkery. Casey Campbell, Donald Schneider (6) and Nate Lowe.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher and owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial site for Mississippi State sports since October, 1996. He can be reached by email at swindoll@genespage.com

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