Corley Leads MSU to Victory

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Brad Corley hit his Southeastern Conference-leading 17th home run during a five-run third inning Wednesday night at Mississippi State defeated Louisiana Tech 10-7 in college baseball action.

Despite passing showers during the afternoon, the Bulldogs were able to get their final non-conference game of the season in under the lights at Dudy Noble Field. MSU snapped a six-game losing streak to improve to 29-21 overall. The Bulldogs finish their non-conference schedule with a 21-5 mark. Louisiana Tech fell to 15-35.

MSU took the lead for good with the five-run third inning. That outburst helped erase a 2-0 Louisiana Tech lead. A two-run double by Steve Gendron tied the game 2-2. Corley followed with his inside the park home run in the next at-bat.

For Corley, a Ferriss Award finalist, the home run tied him with South Carolina's Brendan Winn for the conference lead in home runs. Winn homered in the Gamecocks' win over North Carolina Tuesday night.

"I really didn't know I had a chance (at the inside the park home run)," Corley said. "I basically hit a double. Then when I got to second, Coach Polk told me to keep digging. I knew then the ball had skipped away from the outfielder and I had a chance to get all four bases. Basically, it just felt real good to get a win."

Craig Tatum followed with an RBI single to up the MSU advantage to 5-2.

Louisiana Tech battled back to a 5-3 deficit before MSU tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning. A Joseph Hunter RBI double down the left field line scored one run while a groundout hit by Jeffrey Rea produced the other run.

MSU ran the lead to 10-4 with three more scores in the seventh inning. Brad Jones and Tatum started things in that at-bat with back-to-back singles. Brian LaNinfa drew a walk to load the bases. Thomas Berkery singled to right field to score one run. Hunter followed with a two-run double to left field.

MSU needed the final offensive outburst as the visiting Bulldogs rallied for three more scores in their half of the ninth inning. A two-run double by Kyle Spangler was the big blow in that inning. Antonio Sabatini followed with an RBI single.

Brett Cleveland overcame that hit to record the final two outs for his first career save as a Bulldog.

"This team was in need of a win," MSU coach Ron Polk said. "Nothing has been easy. We have a strong RPI and we've played a tough non-conference schedule. Going 21-5 against that schedule was an accomplishment. Now we have two have two good (Southeastern Conference) weekends to have a chance at postseason play."

Josh Johnson pitched the first four innings for MSU. Johnson allowed five hits and three runs (all earned) with four strikeouts and two walks. Brooks Dunn (3-0) threw a 2 2/3 innings of relief to pick up the win. Saunders Ramsey worked 1 1/3 in relief. Andy Wilson started the ninth inning before giving way to Cleveland, who sealed the deal.

For Louisiana Tech, starting pitcher Mitch Tucker (3-6) was chased during the big third inning and took the loss. Chris Herron and Jared Lamothe threw for the visiting Bulldogs.

MSU finished with 14 hits. Tatum and Hunter each had three hits. Hunter had a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Steve Gendron and Berkery also had multiple hits for the hosts. Gendron moved into 16th on the career SEC hits list with a single and double.

Sabatini paced Louisiana Tech with four hits, including a pair of doubles. Spangler also doubled twice and drove in three runs. Brandon Haygood had two singles.

The teams combined for 10 doubles in the contest.

MSU closes its home schedule this weekend by hosting Arkansas in a three-game Southeastern Conference series. The teams play at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

MSU 10, Louisiana Tech 7
LTU 15-35 101 100 103 - 7 12 1
MSU 29-21 005 002 30x - 10 14 0
WP-Dunn (3-0). LP-Tucker (3-6). Sv-Cleveland (1), HR-Corley (17). T-2:48. A-374.

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