MSU Rallies in Ninth to Win Game

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Mississippi State (20-11, 4-7 SEC) rallied for three runs in the ninth inning Saturday afternoon to top Kentucky 10-8 at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The win evened the weekend baseball series at a game apiece, with the series finale set for 1 p.m. (EDT) Sunday.

The Bulldogs, after building a 7-1 lead in the fifth inning, trailed 8-7 heading into the final inning. But Kentucky native Brad Corley laced his second home run of the afternoon, a one-out solo shot off UK relief pitcher Adam Kunkel (1-2) to tie the score. Tyler Scarbrough then doubled to right, Tyler Jones beat out an infield single and Joseph Hunter provided the game-winner, a two-run, two-out double to right-center field. Hunter's clutch hit made a winner of MSU relief pitcher Saunders Ramsey (4-0), who got out of a jam in the eighth and worked around a pair of one-out Kentucky hits in the ninth.

MSU piled up 17 hits, their highest total against an SEC opponent this season. Corley led the way with four hits, drilling a single and a double before launching his team-leading seventh and eighth home runs of the season.

The Bulldogs struck for three runs in the first inning. Leadoff batter Jeffrey Rea walked, Steve Gendron followed with a ground-rule double into the left field corner, and Craig Tatum drove them in with his fifth home run of the season.

Alan Johnson retired the first six batters he faced, four on strikeouts, before giving up a run in the third. Michael Bertram opened the frame with a single off the glove of State second baseman Jeffrey Rea. He advanced a base on an infield groundout and scored on a single to left by shortstop Joe Naill.

The Bulldogs plated a run in the fourth and expanded their lead to 7-1 with a three-run burst in the fifth. Corley homered and Thomas Berkery laced an RBI double to highlight the inning for MSU.

Kentucky answered in a big way in the bottom of the fifth, batting through the order and plating five runs. Jake Kungl opened the inning with a home run and Spencer Graeter later added a bases-clearing three-run double that trimmed the MSU lead to 7-6.

Graeter doubled and Billy Grace delivered a game-tying two-out single in the seventh, and an inning later a pair of Bulldog fielding errors and a sacrifice fly by Bertram gave the Wildcats their first lead of the afternoon at 8-7.

Pitcher Adam Kunkel, who replaced starter Seth Stanley in the fifth inning, blanked the Bulldogs into the ninth inning. After retiring State's Brad Jones on an infield groundout, Kunkel gave up the game-tying blast by Corley and left the game after Scarbrough's pinch-hit double to right. Shane Boyd replace Kunkel and retired a batter for the second out before giving up an infield single to Tyler Jones. A third UK pitcher in the inning, James Rodriquez, came on to pitch to Hunter, who laced the game-winning two-run double into the right-center field gap.

Kentucky got one-out singles by Casey Gilvin and Graeter in the ninth, but Ramsey struck out pinch-hitter John Shelby on three pitches and earned the win when Caleb Stewart lofted an outfield fly ball hauled in by left fielder Tyler Jones.

Johnson worked 4-2/3 innings, giving up six runs (five earned) on six hits with five strikeouts. Sophomore Brooks Dunn two-hit UK for 2-1/3 innings, while Ramsey blanked the Wildcats while striking out three in two innings. Bulldog pitchers struck out 10 and did not walk a batter.

Jeffrey Rea, Steve Gendron, Craig Tatum and Tyler Jones joined four-hit performer Brad Corley with multiple hits. Gendron laced a pair of doubles and raised his career hits total to 279. He passed MSU assistant coach Tommy Raffo and tied former Bulldog shortstop Matthew Maniscalco for fourth place on MSU's career hits list.

UK starter Stanley was rocked for 10 hits and seven runs (six earned) in 4-1/3 innings. Kunkel was charged with two runs on four hits during his four-inning mound stint to take the loss.

MSU senior righty Jeff Lacher is scheduled to be matched with UK junior lefty Craig Snipp in Sunday's series finale.

MISSISSIPPI STATE 10, KENTUCKY 8
MSU 300 130 003 - 10-17-3
UK 001 050 110 - 8-10-2

WP - Saunders Ramsey (4-0). LP - Adam Kunkel (1-2). HR - MSU: Craig Tatum (5), Brad Corley-2 (8), UK: Jon Kungl (3) . T - 2:48.


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