State Slugs Tide Aside to Open SEC Series

Mississippi Sate wasn't razor-sharp. But sorta-sharp was good enough to cut up Alabama 12-5 to open the SEC series in Tuscaloosa.

The Bulldogs (29-13-1, 11-8 SEC) remain tied for second in the Western Division, but with just one team now after Ole Miss (11-8) opened their home series with a 7-6 win over Louisiana State (10-9). All are just back of Division leader Texas A&M (12-8) who open their own series at Arkansas tomorrow.

Despite the final margin, it was good work from the Bulldog bullpen that counted most. After starter Dakota Hudson went five full frames, State went to the relief corps to protect a 6-3 lead. Things got shaky for a stretch until Keegan James entered to hold a 6-5 margin.

Then it was righthander Blake Smith taking over and taking charge with a career-long 3.2 innings to pick up the victory. “It was a little sloppy,” Coach John Cohen said. “But our relief pitching, especially from Smith, was good. And we scored runs early without a bunch of hits.”

When the Bulldogs hit, they hit hard. 3B Gavin Collins knocked his eighth home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third inning. And in the ninth RF Brent Rooker also went deep, with a three-RBI homer. Both longballs came as part of five-run innings.

Steve Robertson of is on the scene with a game story to come.

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