Designated hitter Craig Tatum hit a towering two-run shot over the center field wall as MSU scored three runs in the first inning off Morehead State starter Greg Wood (1-1).
"I don't know where that came from," Tatum said about his 400+ home run. "I guess everything was working right. I kind of looked up at the flag making sure there wasn't a 30 mile-per-hour wind because last time I hit a home run it was blowing out pretty hard."
State added two more in the second and led 5-3 when Jon Mungle opened the fourth inning wth his fourth home run of the year. Mungle singled in two more runs in the fifth and added an RBI double in the seventh, matching a season-best with three hits and four runs batted in. Mungle, during the last five games, has gone 11-for-18 (.611 batting average).
"Mungle was struggling there for a while but he is too good of a hitter to struggle very long," Polk said of Mungle's improvement in hitting over the past five games. "He was taking too many good pitches and swinging at bad pitches which happens when you are in a slump."
Senior shortstop Matthew Maniscalco, who has hits in 22 of MSU's 23 games, belted State's final home run of the night, his third of the season, to lead off the sixth inning.
"(Maniscalco) was as hot as you can get but he has probably leveled off to .370 to .380," said Polk of his shortstop. "He really helps us more when he is hitting ground balls and line drives than when he hits home runs."
Freshman right-hander Brad Corley started and worked four innings for State, giving up three runs on four hits. Freshman Brooks Dunn (1-0), who replaced Corley in the fifth, blanked the Eagles with one-hit pitching and struck out a season-high five to earn his first career win. Jamie Gant pitched the seventh and eighth and Robby Goodson fanned two batters in the ninth to close out the game.
"We have some good youngsters," said Polk of his three freshmen pitchers who pitched during the game. "Brooks Dunn has a good arm. So does Jamie Gant and Corley."
Junior third baseman Steve Gendron laced a single up the middle in his first at-bat, extending his team-leading hitting streak to 16 games. For the game, Gendron was 2-for-4.
Although Gendron and Mungle were the only two Bulldogs with more than one hit in the game, Tatum's home run in four at bats left him with a batting average of .369.
Tatum explained the reason for his improvement after not hitting well during last fall's practices.
"Coach (Jon) Shave and I worked on going to the opposite field a lot more. It has helped me keep my hands inside a lot better."
With the three home runs tonight, the Bulldogs have now hit 14 in their last 8 games.
"I think the ball is carrying well here," explained Maniscalco. "This place has been a grave yard since I've come to school here. I love Dudy Noble, but it is a pitcher's ball park. You don't get cheap home runs here."
Kevin Bryant, Matt Morris and Ryan Plank had two hits each to account for six of Morehead State's seven hits. Wood gave up nine runs on 10 hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Donnie Spencer worked the final two innings for the Eagles.
Mississippi State resumes SEC Western Division competition in Oxford, Miss., this weekend, taking on No. 29 Mississippi (17-7, 5-1 SEC) in a three-game series at UM's Oxford/University Stadium. Friday's series-opener is set for 4 p.m., while the Saturday and Sunday games are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 10, MOREHEAD STATE 3
Morehead State 012 000 000 --- 3-7-3
Mississippi State 320 121 10x --- 10-11-1
WP --- Brooks Dunn (1-0). LP --- Greg Wood (1-1). HR --- Craig Tatum (2), Jon Mungle (4), Matthew Maniscalco (3). T --- 2:30. ATT --- 6,553 (paid), 1,255 (actual).
Brad Corley, Brooks Dunn (5), Jamie Gant (7), Robby Goodson (9) and J.B. Tucker and Thomas Berkery. Greg Wood, Donnie Spencer (7) and Matt Morris.
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 email@example.com