MSU improved to 13-3 overall, 2-1 in conference play and 12-1 at home this season. Vanderbilt, playing its first games outside of Nashville this season, fell to 14-5 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
Junior outfielder Joseph Hunter of Germantown, Tenn., extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games with a single up the middle to open the second inning. Hunter raced to third on a failed pick-off attempt by VU starter Matt Buschmann and then scored on Brian LaNinfa's infield groundout. Buschmann walked a pair of batters in the fourth inning and gave up back-to-back RBI doubles by LaNinfa and Thomas Berkery as MSU extended its lead to 3-0.
Vandy plated its lone run in the fifth on a pair of fielder's choice infield grounders and a run-scoring two-out single to left by Antoan Richardson.
But the the Bulldogs answered quickly with two more runs in the bottom of the inning. Jeff Butts opened the frame with a walk and Brad Corley smoked a double inside the bag at third base to score one run and end Buschmann's stay in the game. Corley then scored on Hunter's second hit of the game, a single through the right side of the vandy infield.
Rea, Corley, Hunter and Berkery each had a pair of hits for MSU while Alex Feinberg had two hits for Vanderbilt.
Crosby (3-0), making his second career start and his first at Dudy Noble Field and in SEC play, struck out two, walked one and faced 24 batters in six innings of work. Junior righty Brett Cleveland worked two innings of scoreless relief and Saunders Ramsey retired the Commodores in order in the ninth to close the game and seal MSU's seventh consecutive home series win over Vanderbilt.
Matt Buschmann (2-2) allowed eight hits and was charged with five runs (four earned). Freshman lefty David Price and senior righthander Ryan Rote combined for four innings of three-hit, shutout relief for Vanderbilt.
"Winning the first game gave us a lift in the series," Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. "To Mississippi State's credit, they responded with a pair of good games. They did a good job of getting base runners home."
MSU closes a seven-game home stand with a pair of midweek contests against New Orleans. The Bulldogs and Privateers play at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and 4 p.m. Wednesday. MSU resumes SEC play at Arkansas this weekend.
Mississippi State 5, Vanderbilt 1
Vanderbilt (14-5, 1-2 SEC) 000 010 000 - 1 - 6 - 1
MSU (13-3, 2-1 SEC) 010 220 00x - 5 -11 - 1
WP-Jon Crosby (3-0). LP-Matt Buschmann (2-2). 2B-Dominic De La Osa (3); Brad Corley (7), Brian LaNinfa (5), Thomas Berkery (3). T-2:20. A-1,554 (5,818 paid).