MSU Extends Season With 7-6 Win Over JSU

ATLANTA, Ga. - Senior Jeff Lacher worked to within an out of his third complete game and sophomore Joseph Hunter had three hits and drove in three runs Saturday as Mississippi State (35-24) eliminated Jacksonville State 7-6 in an elimination game at the NCAA Atlanta Regional. The win advanced the Bulldogs to a 7 p.m. (ET) elimination round matchup against either Texas Tech or tourney host Georgia Tech.

Lacher (5-6) worked 8-2/3 innings and gave up 10 hits, four of them home runs that accounted for all six Gamecock runs.

Former Bulldog Robby Goodson gave JSU an early lead with his 16th home run of the season, a two-out solo shot to right in the first inning. State knotted the score in the fifth off JSU starter C.R. Palmer on the strength of Joseph Hunter's third home run of the year. It was Hunter's sixth straight hit of the regional.

Jacksonville State regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Goodson was struck by a two-out pitch and scored on a home run by Austin Stein.

MSU took its first lead of the weekend with a five-run burst in the seventh. Three walks followed by run-scoring hits by Hunter, Thomas Berkery and Jeffrey Rea put MSU up 6-3. Jeffrey Rea's two-out, two-run double capped the rally as MSU batted through the order in the seventh.

Jacksonville State's third home run of the game, a solo shot by Austin Stein closed the MSU lead to 6-4 in the eighth. The Bulldogs got that run back moments later when Berkery drew a walk and scored from first base as Jeff Butts' double found the gap in left field.

That run proved to be the margin of victory for State. Lacher retired the first two JSU batters he faced in the ninth. Winston Pearson reached on a fielding error at second base and Goodson followed with his second blast of the game, a two-run shot over the center field wall. That ended Lacher's stay in the game, and sophomore lefty Brooks Dunn came on to retire Stein on a groundout to second to end the game. Dunn picked up his second career save, both coming in his last two relief appearances.

Brad Corley went 2-for-3, Rea doubled in two runs, and Hunter registered a 3-for-4, three-RBI game to lead MSU. Lacher was charged with six runs (four earned) with two walks and two strikeouts in 8-2/3 innings.

JSU out-hit State 10-8, with Goodson, Brian Haskins and Scott Smith delivering two-hit performances. Gamecocks starter C.R. Palmer (9-6) took the loss, giving up four runs on three hits with three walks before being lifted after retiring one batter in the seventh.

MSU is expected to start Todd Doolittle (3-2, 3.86) in its Saturday night game against Texas Tech or Georgia Tech.

MISSISSIPPI STATE 7, JACKSONVILLE STATE 6

MSU 000 010 501 --- 7-8-2
JSU 100 020 012 --- 6-10-2

WP --- Jeff Lacher (5-6), LP --- C.R. Palmer (9-6). SV --- Brooks Dunn (2). HR --- Joseph Hunter (3), Robby Goodson-2 (17), Austin Stein (13). T --- 2:37. ATT --- 821


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