MSU Baseball Team Sweeps Memphis

STARKVILLE, Miss. - A two-run double by Brian LaNinfa broke an eighth-inning tie as 18th-ranked Mississippi State defeated Memphis 4-2 in college baseball action Wednesday afternoon. The victory completed a two-game series sweep of the Tigers. MSU topped Memphis 11-8 earlier Wednesday at Dudy Noble Field. That contest was the completion of a game suspended by rain Tuesday. The teams finished that contest and then braved wind chills in the 30s to complete another nine-inning contest.

"It was not an ideal day but those were two good wins," MSU coach Ron Polk said. "We were fortunate to get both games played. In the first game, we had good offense. In the second game, the pitching of Josh Johnson was the key."

In the nightcap, LaNinfa laced a two-out double to left center, driving in two runs and breaking a 1-1 tie. Ed Easley followed with an RBI single, plating an important insurance run.

The Bulldogs won the first two games of a seven-game home stand. MSU is 10-0 at home this season.

Johnson matched a career-high with seven strikeouts in seven innings of work. The former Caledonia, Miss., standout allowed only one hit and walked four batters. Junior right-hander Brett Cleveland (1-0) picked up the win with two innings of relief, working around a ninth-inning jam and stranding a pair of Memphis base runners.

MSU (11-2) finished with 10 hits in the second game. Joseph Hunter had two singles to extend his hitting streak to a career-high and team season-best nine games. Thomas Berkery also had two hits. LaNinfa drove in two runs while Easley and Jeffrey Rea collected the other run-scoring hits.

"We are ready for SEC play," Hunter said. "Opening at home gives us an advantage. We have started off well at home this season. Hopefully, that can continue."

Adam Amar had two hits for Memphis (5-8). The Tigers only managed three total hits off Johnson and Cleveland.

K.K. Chalmers pitched the first three innings for the Tigers. Four relievers followed with Ryan Fly (0-1) taking the loss.

MSU managed 13 hits in the opening game victory. Rea had four hits and three RBIs. Brad Corley collected three hits and a pair of RBIs. Ed Easley and Michael Rutledge also had multiple hits, each with a pair of singles.

The Bulldogs scored twice in the first inning to claim an early lead, but Memphis forged ahead in the third inning at 4-3 lead on a two-run single by Brad Fly. The Bulldogs quickly answered with five runs in their half of the third inning, retaking a 8-4 lead. Memphis made two of its six errors in that inning.

Each team scored three times in the fifth inning before the rains hit and forced a suspension of play.

Junior Brooks Dunn (3-0) pitched the first five innings and secured the win. Dunn allowed 11 hits and seven runs (six earned). The birmingham, Ala., junior struck out three and walked two. John Lalor replaced Dunn when play resumed Wednesday, allowing a run on six hits in 3-2/3 innings of relief. With two Tigers on base, Saunders Ramsey entered for the final out of the game and his third save.

Memphis pounded out a season-high 17 hits. Robbie Goss and Patrick Hope each had three hits for the Tigers.

Starting pitcher Blake Richardson (1-1) pitched all of Tuesday night's action for the Tigers. Richardson allowed 10 hits and 11 runs (six earned) in 4-2/3 innings of work. Chris Davis tossed 3-1/3 innings of shutout relief to close out the rain-delayed game Wednesday.

The Bulldogs host SEC Eastern Division foe Vanderbilt (13-3) to open their 10-week, 30-game conference schedule. Friday's series opener begins at 6:30 p.m. First pitch Saturday is set for 2 p.m. while Sunday's series finale has a 1:30 p.m. start time.

MSU 11, Memphis 8 (Game 1)
Memphis (5-7) 022 030 100 - 8-17-6
MSU (10-2) 215 030 00x - 11-13-2

WP-Brooks Dunn (3-0). LP-Richardson (1-1). Sv-Saunders Ramsey (3). 2B-Robbie Goss (3); Brad Corley-2 (4). 3B-Collin Bastien (1). T-2:59. A-815.

MSU 4, Memphis 2 (Game 2)
Memphis (5-8) 100 000 001 - 2-3-2
MSU (11-2) 001 000 03x - 4-10-0

WP-Brett Cleveland (1-0). LP- Brad Fly (0-1). 2B-Jeff Butts (6), Brian LaNinfa (3). 3B-Jeffrey Rea (1). T-2:11. A-405.

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