Mississippi State scored four runs in the first inning to stake starter Joey Collums to an early lead. Gendron singled in two runs and Jon Mungle doubled in another off Samford starter Scott Fowler.
But Samford, coached by former MSU player and assistant coach Tim Parenton, plated three runs in the second on doubles by Sae Evans and Michael Collins and tied the game in the third inning when Josh Rhodes singled and scored on a double by Eric Hollis.
State sandwiched doubles by Maniscalco and Gendron around a Brinson single in the fifth inning, plating two runs to regain the lead at 6-4. An inning later Robby Goodson drilled a solo home run, his second roundtripper of the season, to build the MSU lead out to 7-4.
MSU defensive lapses enabled Samford to tie the score in the seventh and eighth innings. A hit batsman and three Bulldog errors helped SU score twice in the seventh and two more infield errors allowed another unearned Samford run to score and tie the game.
Pitcher Alan Bryan (4-7), the third of four Samford pitchers in the game, struck out the first Bulldog batter he faced in the ninth. Maniscalco singled, Chad Henry walked, and Brinson delivered a double that gave MSU an 8-7 lead. Gendron followed with his three-run blast and Enrico Jones' pinch-hit single up the middle ended Bryan's 7-1/3 inning pitching stint. State added two more runs and ended the inning with six hits.
Jonathan Papelbon (3-4), the fourth of five Bulldogs hurlers in the game, picked up the win, allowing one unearned run and one hit in two innings of relief work in the seventh and eighth innings. Goodson retired the three batters he faced in the ninth to close out the game for State.
The win gave the Bulldogs a sweep of its two midweek non-conference games in Birmingham and nailed down MSU's SEC-leading 20th 30-win season.
Mississippi State closes out its 2002 regular season at Dudy Noble Field this weekend, playing host to instate SEC rival Mississippi in a three-game series. Friday's opener begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised regionally by Comcast Sports Southeast.
According to MSU head coach Ron Polk, Paul Maholm, Tanner Brock and Chris Young will be the starting pitchers in the three-game SEC series.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 13, SAMFORD 7
MSU 400 021 006 - 13-16-7
SAMFORD 031 000 210 - 7-10-1
WP - Jonathan Papelbon (3-4). L P - Alan Bryan (4-7). HR - Robby Goodson (2), Steve Gendron (2). T - 2:59. ATT - 829.