STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In a day more suited for the winter olympics than college baseball, senior Tanner Brock gave up a first-pitch double and then held UAB hitless through seven innings Friday as Mississippi State (1-0) opened its season and the second Ron Polk coaching era with a 4-2 win over the Blazers (2-5).

Coach Polk briefly acknowledged the standing ovation that he received when introduced to the crowd that was on hand.

With a number of Major League Baseball scouts looking on, Brock struck out seven and allowed one run, an unearned run in the sixth inning.

Steve Gendron, starting in rightfield for the first time in his college career, went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, including a left field line-hugging shot that gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead in the second frame off UAB starter Andre Parks (1-1). Parks gave up seven hits and three of the Bulldogs' four runs before being lifted in the sixth inning.

Casey Long reached on an infield single and later scored on a single by first baseman Matthew Brinson to give MSU a 2-0 lead in the fifth. UAB scored its first run an inning later without a hit when Matt Womble walked, moved to second on a passed ball and advanced on two consecutive infield groundouts.

Mississippi State scored its final two runs on RBI singles by Michael Brown in the sixth and seventh innings, and sophomore relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon fanned four over the final two frames to pick up a save. Kyle Leon reached on a fielding error in ninth and scored after back-to-back singles by Matt Gaulden and Mark Garner. Papelbon then fanned the next two Blazer hitters to preserve the Bulldogs' season-opening win.

Mississippi State continues play in the NBC Classic Saturday at 11 a.m. against Ohio State, a 2-0 winner over UAB in Friday's opening game. Sophomore lefty Paul Maholm is the scheduled Bulldog starter. UAB and Ohio State meet again Saturday at 4 p.m.

Mississippi State had 3,149 fans in attendance for the game. As does several other teams in the SEC and NCAA, Mississippi State will also include in its boxscore the actual paid attendance for its games. Paid attendance is season ticket sales and individual tickets sold for the game. Yesterday's paid attendance was 6,701.

With sales continuing, Mississippi State shattered its 2001 season ticket sales mark, with Friday additions raising the total to 5,468, which is almost 900 more than it sold last season (4,585).

Don't forget that Mississippi State and Mississippi play basketball at 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon in the Hump. Let's be that sixth man for our 20-7 basketball team as they continue their quest to lock a spot in the NCAA tournament.

In between sporting events visit one of the restaurants that advertise on Gene's Page. Click here to view those restaurants.

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is You can contact him by emailing

Gene's Page Top Stories