MSU Wins 2 of 3 Against LSU

BATON ROUGE - Shortstop Thomas Berkery's RBI sacrifice fly lifted top-ranked Mississippi State to a 7-6 win in 10 innings over No. 14 LSU at Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers (19-7) are now 2-4 in SEC play. The Bulldogs (19-1) are 4-1 after two weekends of play.

MSU took advantage of a walk -- one of six issued by LSU pitching -- and a hit-batsman when Berkery connected on the sac fly in the 10th off reliever Will Harris.

"Timely hitting was the difference in the game," said head coach Smoke Laval. "You can't walk six and hit a guy and then have base-running errors. That is a big momentum shift."

Freshman Louis Coleman (2-2), a Mississippi native, suffered the loss, allowing the winning run to reach to leadoff the frame. Coleman gave up two runs on four hits, walked three and struck out five in 5.2 innings of relief of Derik Olvey.

Offensively, right fielder Quinn Stewart extended his hitting streak to a career-high nine games with a homer, a double and two RBI. Second baseman J.T. Wise finished 4-for-5 with two runs scored and his second homer of the season.

Olvey overcame an error and a bases loaded situation in the second to keep MSU off the board. The right-hander induced a groundball from first baseman Brian LaNinfa after walking two of the first three batters of the inning, but Steven Waguespack threw wildly into the dirt while attempting to turn a double play.

Olvey avoided any trouble with a shallow fly out and a strikeout to leave the bases loaded.

LSU took advantage of its opportunity of an error in the second, but failed to convert what could have been a big inning. Stewart reached on a fielding error by third baseman Michael Rutledge and then took third on shortstop Michael Hollander's double. He came in to score when second baseman Jeffrey Rea committed the second error of the frame on a relay throw.

Waguespack followed with a single through the right side, but Hollander was thrown out by right fielder Andy Rice when he attempted to score. Waguespack then got caught between first and second and was retired in a rundown.

The mistake -- one of three-base running errors by LSU -- proved to be costly.

"We cost ourselves with our blunders on the bases the whole time," said Laval. "It just takes the momentum away, and it is hard to get it back. When you do get it back, you have another base-running error, and it just takes the wind out of your sails. It was just a lack of focus."

MSU erased the 1-0 LSU lead with a three-run frame in third, highlighted by a two-run homer from designated hitter Mitch Moreland off "The Intimidator" billboard in right field. Berkery added an RBI single as the Bulldogs claimed a 3-1 advantage into the fourth.

Olvey struggled in the fourth, giving way to Coleman after allowing three consecutive singles, including an RBI hit by Rea. Centerfielder Jarred Bogany misplayed a liner by left fielder Jeff Butts that carried to the wall, and MSU increased the lead to 5-1.

LSU once again proved that it would not go quietly, amassing another four-run rally to tie the game at 6-6 in the sixth. Stewart and Wise immediately sliced into the deficit with back-to-back homers to start the frame, marking the third time this season the Tigers have had consecutive dingers in an inning.

Hollander worked a walk to end starter John Lalor's day, and Waguespack then delivered an opposite field single to greet reliever Chad Crosswhite. Catcher Matt Liuzza sacrificed both runners into scoring position for designated hitter Jordan Mayer.

Mayer followed with a clutch game-tying, two-run single into right field.

The teams were locked in a pitcher's duel over the final three innings, until MSU struck with the game-winning run in the 10th. Right-hander Chase Dardar inherited a runner at first and issued a single to Rea and a hit-batsman to catcher Edward Easley.

Laval elected to go to Harris in a one-out bases loaded jam with Berkery coming to the plate. Berkery fell behind 1-2 before lofting a fly ball to right field two pitches later. Stewart's throw was not in time and Butts crossed home.

Justin Pigott (1-0) earned the victory by retiring the Tigers in order in the bottom of the 10th.

Mississippi State... 003 210 000 1 - 7 11 4 (19-1, 4-1 SEC)
LSU....................... 010 104 000 0 - 6 14 3 (19-7, 2-4 SEC)

Pitchers: Mississippi State - Lalor; Crosswhite(6); Pigott(9). LSU - Olvey; Coleman(4); Dardar(10); Harris, W.(10).

Win-Pigott(1-0) Loss-Coleman(2-2). Lalor faced 3 batters in the 6th.

HR MISS - Moreland (2); LaNinfa (2).
HR LSU - Wise (2); Stewart (10).

T-3:25 A-8101. Actual attendance: 4,505.

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