MSU Thumps LSU 15-4.

BATON ROUGE, La. - Sophomore southpaw Paul Maholm tossed his third complete game in as many SEC starts this season and the Bulldogs matched a season high with 19 hits Friday night as Mississippi State (14-8-1, 4-3 SEC) belted Louisiana State 15-4 in the opening game of their three-game weekend series at Alex Box Stadium. MSU and LSU (16-12, 2-5 SEC) meet again Saturday at 2 p.m.

"It was a good win for us," said MSU Coach Ron Polk. "It really helps our bullpen when you get that Friday game under control (like Paul did). Now we have Papelbon, our closer, ready tomorrow if we need him."

Maholm (5-1, 3-0 SEC) scattered 11 hits and blanked the Tigers from the fourth to the eighth innings en route to his fifth win of the season. The Bulldog defense assisted Maholm with three double plays in the first five innings.

"I thought that LSU had a good gameplan on Paul early," said Polk. "They loaded their lineup with righthanders because of their respect for Paul. They (also) made the commitment that they weren't going to pull off the ball, they were just going to try to go up the middle and the other way."

Matthew Maniscalco reached on an error at shortstop to open the game and scored the game's first run on a double by Matthew Brinson. LSU, in an unusual early-inning strategy, had the infield drawn in with Brinson at bat.

"I think they felt that Pettit could probably keep them in a low-scoring ballgame," said Polk. "That is the only reason you bring the infield in during the first inning. It certainly opened opportunities to get a base hit."

LSU got three consecutive hits off Maholm to open the second and tied the game at 1-1 on Matt Heath's single to center field. But the Bulldogs regained the lead with four runs in the third and added another run in the fourth for a 6-3 lead that chased LSU starter Bo Pettit (2-4) from the game.

Brian Wilson followed Pettit on the mound in the fourth with runners at second and third and no outs. Wilson retired the next three Bulldog batters to end the MSU rally and kept Mississippi State off the scoreboard over the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

"Thankfully, we got Brian Wilson out for the weekend unless he comes back for Sunday (he threw 69 pitches)," said Polk. "That guy was probably throwing 92 to 93 (mph). That kid has a really nice arm."

But Mississippi State's bats came to life in the final two frames, plating five runs on five hits in the eighth and adding four more in the ninth off of Weylin Guidry to seal the MSU win. Brinson and Brent Lewis lashed two-run doubles in the eighth and Brinson added another two-run two-bagger in the ninth.

"I thought (Guidry) was going to be an ace here two years ago, but he has really struggled," said Polk. "We got some runs off of him."

Brinson was the key offensive performer of the game for the Bulldogs, finishing with four hits, including a school, record-tying three doubles, and a career-high six RBI. Centerfielder Casey Long turned in his second consecutive 4-for-4 performance in an SEC game while Maniscalco scored four runs and extended his current hitting streak to a career best-matching 10 games with a three-hit plate performance.

Coach Polk talked about the performance of the three hitting stars of the game. "Brinson hit the ball well (with) men on base," said Polk. " He didn't have any cheap hits tonight. Casey is a good athlete and runs very, very well. (He) made a couple of (hitting) adjustments and it has really worked out for him. With Casey in the nine spot and Maniscalco in the one spot, that just set the table (tonight)."

Mississippi State used 16 players in the game, including all 15 position players.

Eric Wiethorn had three hits to pace LSU at the plate. Wally Pontiff went hitless in the game to end an impressive 19-game hitting streak.

Senior right-hander Tanner Brock (3-1, 3.90) and sophomore lefty Lane Mestepey (4-2, 3.52) are the scheduled starters for Saturday afternoon's game at Alex Box Stadium. Teams are hitting .286 against Mestepey. Brock held LSU to no runs on 1 hit during an eight-inning 13-0 victory last season at Dudy Noble Field.

"We'll see a pretty tough left-hander in Lane Mestepey, the freshman of the year in the nation last year," said Polk. "Hopefully, Tanner Brock is sharp and keeps the game under control."

MISSISSIPPI STATE 15, LOUISIANA STATE 4
MSU (14-8-1/4-3 SEC) 104 100 054 - 15-19-1
LSU (16-12/2-5 SEC) 012 000 001 - 4-11-3
WP - Paul Maholm (5-1). LP - Bo Pettit (2-4). HR - none. T - 3:02. ATT - 4,627 (actual); 7,726 (paid).


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 http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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