MSU wins game second against Vanderbilt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mississippi State (27-15-1, 11-8 SEC) used the long ball to score its first six runs and rolled on to a 13-4 series-clinching win over Vanderbilt (18-20, 3-15) Saturday night at Hawkins Field.

Robby Goodson opened the Bulldogs' offensive show with a first-pitch home run in the second inning off Vandy starter Jeff Little (4-6).

"(Goodson's) home run to start our run production was probably as hard a hit ball as you will ever see," said MSU coach Ron Polk. "I bet that ball didn't take more than two seconds to get out of the ballpark."

Later in the inning Matthew Brinson extended the MSU lead to 3-0 with a two-run blast, his second home run of the series and 12th of the year.

State's barrage continued with four more runs in the fourth, three on a Chad Henry blast over the left field wall.

"(Chad Henry) is certainly doing a good job, offensively, for us," said Polk. "I just wish we had Chad Henry for next year. I wish he had red-shirted last year because he is a great kid to work with."

Scott Shapiro lashed a two-run single in the fourth inning as Vanderbilt scored three runs to cut the MSU lead to 7-3.

"I do like Shapiro as a hitter," said Polk. "He hasn't had many at-bats but they like him very much as a hitter and I can see why."

But the Bulldogs answered with six runs on seven hits over the next two innings to ice the win and their fourth SEC series in seven weekends.

"It is great when we score more than 10 runs," said Polk. "This is the 13th or 14th time that we have done it. Unfortunately, so many times we haven't scored much the next day. I hope that is not an omen for (Sunday)."

Senior Tanner Brock (6-3) stranded eight base-runners in the first three innings and allowed four runs on nine hits during a five-inning start.

"Tanner gave up a lot of well-hit balls," said Polk. "Vandy is a good ballclub offensively, especially the top four or five hitters."

Relief pitcher Chris Young, helped along by three double plays, blanked Vanderbilt on four hits over the final four innings to pick up his first save of the year.

"Chris Young was the perfect choice for us to bring in when we got the lead," said Polk. "He throws strikes and doesn't walk anybody. All you have to do is play defense behind him."

Chad Henry , Matthew Brinson and Robby Goodson combined for 10 RBI, with Henry and Goodson pacing MSU's 15-hit attack with three hits each. Brent Lewis added a pair of doubles.

Coach Polk commented on Goodson's offensive production. "He has good days and bad days as most hitters do. He had a good day tonight. He got up with men on base and knocked them in."

Little pitched 3.2 innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits. Chris Maultsby fared slightly better, giving up five runs on six hits during his 1.2 innings of relief work.

Shapiro and Jonathan Douillard had three hits each to lead Vanderbilt, which dropped its 11th consecutive league game.

Coach Polk commented on the hitting of the Vanderbilt team as a whole the past two nights. "They have some scary hitters. In fact, they may have hit more hard hit balls last night and tonight than we did."

A record crowd of 1,547 watched the game, many on hand for dedication ceremonies at Vanderbilt's new baseball facility, Hawkins Field.

The teams conclude their three-game weekend series Sunday at 1 p.m.

"(Sunday) will not be easy because we are facing an outstanding left-handed freshman in Jeremy Sowers," said Polk. "From all reports, five or six innings, he can dazzle you as well as anybody in the country.

"We are going to go with Joey Collums," said Polk. "Joey will have to get off to a good start. Hopefully, Joey can come in and change speeds a little bit. He will be a little different look for them than what we have thrown at them. (In the bullpen) we have Goodson, Papelebon, Lacher, so we have enough arms."

MISSISSIPPI STATE 12, VANDERBILT 4
MSU (27-15-1, 11-8 SEC) 003 423 000 - 12-15-1
VU (18-20, 3-15 SEC) 000 310 000 - 4-13-1
WP - Tanner Brock (6-3). LP - Jeff Little (4-6). SV - Chris Young (1). HR - Chad Henry (4), Matthew Brinson(12), Robby Goodson (1), John Kaye (9). T - 3:08. ATT - 1,547 (Vanderbilt record).


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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