Georgia Nips State in Series Opener, 7-6

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Georgia ran its overall win streak to 10 straight games with a 7-6 win over Mississippi State in college baseball action Friday night.

With the victory, Georgia moved within one game of Florida for the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division lead. Georgia is now 31-15 overall and 13-9 in league play after winning the opener here in a Southeastern Conference weekend series.

Meanwhile, Mississippi State lost its fifth straight league game to fall to 28-19 overall and 8-14 in SEC play. MSU trails both Auburn and Vanderbilt by two games in the race for the last spot at the eight-team Southeastern Conference Tournament, which begins May 26 in Hoover, Ala.

Friday night, Georgia scored four runs in the seventh inning to open up a 7-1 lead. MSU answered with five runs of its own but was unable to push across the tying run.

In the MSU seventh inning, things started after two were out. Steve Gendron doubled down to left center and took third base on a single by Brad Corley. Craig Tatum then drew a walk to load the bases. Brad Jones reached on a fielding error which extended the inning. Tyler Scarbrough then drew a bases-loaded walk. Thomas Berkery followed with an RBI single through shortstop. Joseph Hunter drove in a pair with a single to right field. A fly out by Jeff Butts ended this at-bat.

Georgia reliever Will Startup overcame the shaky seventh inning to retire the side in order in the eighth inning. Mitchell Boggs struck out the side in the ninth inning for his first save. Boggs was touched for a two-out single by Scarbrough and also walked Berkery. His third strikeout of the inning though ended the contest.

MSU scored first when Brad Corley hit his 16th home run of the season in the first inning. Georgia scored an unearned run in the third inning and took the lead for good on Justin Holmes' fifth home run of the season in the fifth inning. That two-run shot put the visitors ahead 3-1.

Back-to-back RBI singles by Josh Smith and Justin Holmes chased MSU starter Alan Johnson in the seventh inning. Josh Morris greeted MSU reliever Brett Cleveland for a two-run double in the seventh inning. That extra-base hit proved critical as it pushed the Georgia advantage to 7-1.

For Georgia, Sean Ruthven (5-1) worked five innings to pick up the win. Ruthven allowed five hits and one run (earned) while striking out five and walking three. For MSU, Johnson (3-3) worked 6 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and seven runs (all earned). Johnson struck out two and walked three. Cleveland and Saunders Ramsey threw in relief for the homestanding Bulldogs.

MSU out-hit their guests, 11-9. Corley had three hits, while Steve Gendron and Berkery also had multiple hits. Holmes had three hits for Georgia. Smith and Jonathan Wyatt also had multiple hits for the visiting Bulldogs.

The series continues with a 4 p.m. start Saturday and a 1:30 p.m. finale Sunday.

Georgia 7, MSU 6
Georgia 31-15 001 020 400 - 7 9 1
MSU 28-19 100 000 500 - 6 11 1
WP-Ruthven (5-1). LP-A. Johnson (3-3). Sv-Boggs (1). HR-Holmes (5); Corley (16). T-2:56. A-2,505.


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