State scored a pair of runs in the sixth to close the gap to 5-4. Jon Mungle, who tied the game at 2-2 with a solo home run in the fourth, reached on a strikeout/passed ball and later scored on a wild pitch. Steve Gendron, starting the series at third base in place of injured starter Brent Lewis, singled and came home on a single by Robby Goodson.
But Jaguar pitching blanked the Bulldogs the remainder of the game, allowing one hit and striking out six over the final three innings.
Gendron went 3-for-4 and Chad Henry and Casey Long had two hits each to lead the Bulldogs at the plate.
USA starter Bert Heath (1-1) got the win, scattering seven hits and striking out three in five innings of mound work. Jacob Blakeney (0-1), making his first Mississippi State start, gave up five hits and struck out five and took the loss with his four-inning mound stint.
The Bulldogs open Southeastern Conference play against No. 4 South Carolina Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Dudy Noble Field.
SOUTH ALABAMA 8, MISSISSIPPI STATE 4
MSU (9-3-1) 100 102 000 --- 4-10-2
USA (10-7) 102 032 00x --- 8-10-0
WP - Bert Heath (1-1). LP - Jacob Blakeney (0-1). HR - Jon Mungle (3). T - . ATT - 1, 230.