Vanderbilt jumped on Mississippi State starting pitcher junior Todd Doolittle for two runs in the bottom of the first inning. After Doolittle walked Ryan Klosterman on a very close pitch to start the inning, Mike Baxter hit a run-scoring triple. A wild pitch plated Baxter for the second run of the inning.
"I thought that we had Klosterman struck," Polk said about the close call on the walk. "Then Baxter hit the triple and we had a passed ball. That set the tempo of the ballgame."
Mississippi State had a chance to get back into the ballgame in the fifth inning when they put men on 1st and 2nd with just 1 out, but true freshman Jeffrey Rea hit into a fielder's choice and senior Steve Gendron struck out to end the inning.
Vanderbilt extended their lead in the bottom half of the inning when Antoan Richardson, on a 1-1 count, hit a two-run home run. It was Richardson's second home run of the season.
Mississippi State finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth on a solo home run by sophomore catcher Craig Tatum, his 8th home run of the season.
Vanderbilt added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single by Klosterman.
Vanderbilt, which was held to six hits during the game, was led in hitting by Jonathan Douillard, who went 2-for-4 in the game.
Mullins earned his 5th win of the season against 2 losses. Reliever Jeff Sues finished the game for Vanderbilt, allowed no runs or hits in 2 innings of work.
"Ryan is a sophomore who has a chance to be a pretty good draft pick next year," said Polk. "He is a big, tall, lanky kid who throws across his body with a little zip on his ball. (He) probably has even more run on his fastball than Jeremy Sowers."
Mississippi State, which also had six hits, was led by Tatum's 2-for-4 day. Sophomore Brad Corley, who had hit in 19 consecutive games coming into the game, saw his hitting streak come to an end with an 0-for-4 day.
Doolittle, who has shown steady improvement in each of his three SEC starts, saw his record drop to 2-2 after allowing 5 earned runs on 5 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked 4 while striking out 5. Sophomore left-hander Brooks Dunn finished the game for the Bulldogs, allowing 1 hit and 1 walk in 2 1/3 innings of work.
Vanderbilt and Mississippi State complete the three-game SEC series Sunday. Gametime is set for 1 p.m.
Mississippi State will start senior right-hander Jeff Lacher (3-5, 4.31 ERA), while Vanderbilt will give the ball to first-time SEC starter Matt Buschmann, a sophomore who is currently 5-1 with a 3.26 ERA.
"We have Jeff going and our bullpen is in pretty good shape due to not having to use Jamie Gant, Brett Cleveland, Saunders Ramsey and Brad Corley," Polk said. "We'll do whatever it takes to come out of here with a win."
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 email@example.com.