State Goes On The Offensive In Win Over Samford

JACKSON, Miss. - Bunky Kateon and Joseph Hunter hit their first home runs of the season Tuesday night as No. 24 Mississippi State (18-7) pounded out a 14-5 win over Samford (7-19) in the Entergy College Baseball Series at Smith-Wills Stadium.

MSU, the designated visiting team, fell behind 2-0 after the first inning as the first four Samford batters faced by Bulldog starter Jon Crosby (4-1) reached safely.

But Crosby (4-1) allowed just one base-runner over the next three innings while MSU came alive at the plate. State plated a run in the second when Brian LaNinfa walked and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ed Easley. Thomas Berkery lashed a two-run double off SU relief pitcher Justin Harris (0-1) to put MSU ahead 3-2 in the third inning, and MSU piled up seven runs over the next two frames to expand the MSU lead to 10-2. Kateon opened a four-run MSU fourth inning burst with his first career home run, and Hunter launched a mammoth three-run shot over the left field fence in the fifth inning.

State scored four more runs in the seventh, three on a bases-loaded double by Brian LaNinfa.

All nine State starters hit safely. Jeffrey Rea, Brad Corley, and Kateon had two-hit showings while Hunter matched a career-high with four runs batted in.

Crosby, making his third start of the year, led a five-pitcher mound crew for State to get the win. He was followed on the hill by Brooks Dunn, Jamie Gant, Trent Hill and Mike Valentine. Gant and Hill fanned two batters each in their one-inning mound stints while Valentine, after allowing three base-runners in the ninth, struck out three.

Samford freshman Bear Burnett and senior Matt Alling had three hits each to pace SU's 10-hit attack. Burnett launched his first career home run, a two-run shot in the sixth.

The Bulldogs close out their nine-game road run Wednesday night in Jackson, taking on the Birmingham-Southern Panthers in a 6:30 p.m. contest at Smith-Wills Stadium.

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