MSU 7, Birmingham Southern 1

Mississippi State, behind the 6 innings of no-hit pitching by freshman Jon Crosby and four home runs, including two by SEC home run leader Brad Corley, defeated Birmingham Southern 7-1 in Birmingham, Alabama before 1,123.

Mississippi State, which has won 6 of its last 7 games, improved to 28-15, while BSC fell to 32-11. The loss was BSC's 2nd in 22 home games. MSU now has a 20-5 record in non-conference games.

"These (non-conference) wins are important for us," said Mississippi State coach Ron Polk. "I think our record in non-conference games is as good as most of the better ballclubs that we have had at Mississippi State. We have played a pretty good non-conference schedule."

The Bulldogs were staked to an early lead when sophomore rightfielder Brad Corley hit his 14th home run, a solo shot, in the top of the 1st.

In the top of the 5th inning, Corley did it again, hitting another solo home run to put the Bulldogs up 2-0.

Meanwhile, Crosby, making his first career start, continued to mow the Panther hitters down, striking out 4 in a row during the 5th and 6th innings.

Mississippi State expanded their lead to 4-0 in the top of the 6th with another home run, this one a two-run shot by junior third baseman Thomas Berkery.

Crosby, who had pitched just 13 innings prior to the game, gave up his first hit of the game with one out in the bottom of the 7th inning. Allowed to go into the inning due to the no-hitter, he was immediately replaced with reliever Brett Cleveland. Cleveland retired the next two batters to keep the score at 4-0.

Birmingham Southern finally put a run on the board in the bottom of the 8th. Cleveland, after giving up a walk and single, got Michael Wydner to ground into a double play. With 2 outs and a man on third, Matt Bogue bunted safely, knocking in Jonathan Sanford.

Mississippi State iced the game in the top of the 9th innning with a three-run home run by Craig Tatum, his 7th home run of the season.

Crosby, who transferred to State after spending his true freshman season at Georgia Tech, picked up his first collegiate win after allowing just 1 hit in 6 1/3 innings of work.

"I thought he pitched really well," said Polk. "He gave us a lot of encouragement for next year considering that he is just a freshman."

At the plate, each starter had at least one hit for the Bulldogs, who recorded 13 hits on the night. Jeffrey Rea, Corley, Tatum and Berkery had two hits apiece for MSU.

BSC starter and Tupelo, Mississippi native Mac Godwin, who entered the contest 13th nationally with a 1.71 ERA, fell to 5-2 on the season after allowing four runs on 11 hits with four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Conner Robertson led BSC with a pair of hits. Robertson, BSC's closer out of the bullpen with a team-leading 7 saves, also pitched the final inning of the game, allowing 3 runs, the first runs he had allowed this season. Coming into the game, Robertson had given up just 7 hits while striking out 29 batters in 18 innings of work.

Mississippi State concludes their eight-game road trip, traveling to Nashville, Tennessee to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores in a three-game SEC series this weekend.

"We still have some challenges ahead of us, starting with a fine Vanderbilt ballclub this weekend in Nashville," said Polk. "So far, our young guys have played very well on the road, even having a better wining percentage on the road than we do at home.

"We'll probably face (junior LHP) Jeremy Sowers on Friday, a guy who will be a first-round draft pick (this summer). They also have two other young men that the (MLB) scouts also like. Their pitching is their forte, but they also play great defense. However, they have struggled at times."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher/owner of Gene's Page, the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

Gene's Page Top Stories