MSU Rallies to Defeat UAB, 12-10

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Senior outfielder Joseph McCaskill laced a two-run double in the eighth inning Tuesday afternoon to lift Mississippi State (7-1) to a 12-10 win over UAB in a see-saw college baseball battle at Dudy Noble Field.

Mississippi State built up and lost 6-0 and 9-7 leads in the game and then rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to turn back the Blazers (4-8).

Freshman shortstop Brandon Turner went 4-for-5 and drove in five runs to spark the Bulldogs, who out-hit UAB 18-15.

UAB, coached by former MSU assistant Brian Shoop, sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth inning to face Bulldog freshman starter Tyler Whitney and rookie relief man Greg Houston. The first six Blazer batters reached base in the frame and both J.R. Bond and Tyler Rollin delivered two-run hits as UAB grabbed a 7-6 lead.

State answered quickly, tieing the game in the bottom of the sixth on first baseman Mitch Moreland's RBI single. Andy Rice and Turner added RBI hits an inning later as Mississippi State expanded the lead to 9-7.

The Blazers weren't through, parlaying four hits, a walk, two Bulldog errors and a wild pitch into three unearned runs off State relief pitcher Chad Crosswhite, the last of three Bulldog hurlers in the game. MSU minimized the damage in the inning when catcher Edward Easley picked a runner off second base and threw out two other base-runners attempting stolen bases.

Mitch Moreland opened the MSU eighth with a sharply-hit single off UAB's third pitcher of the night, Paul Jones. Brian LaNinfa, attempting to advance Moreland with a bunt, legged out an infield single. The Blazers brought in a fourth pitcher, James Oliver, who struck out the first batter he faced before giving up a two-strike double to McCaskill. McCaskill later plated an insurance run on an infield groundout by Mark Goforth. The rally gave sophomore right-hander Crosswhite (1-0) his initial career pitching victory. Crosswhite was charged with three runs, all unearned, on four hits. Starter Tyler Whitney worked the first five games, scattering six hits and allowing four runs (two earned) before leaving the game after facing three batters in the sixth. Houston was touched for three runs (one earned) on five hits in two innings of middle relief.

Jeffrey Rea, Easley and Moreland each extended their season-opening hitting streaks to all eight games while Turner's team season-best four-hit effort have now hit safely in all eight Bulldog games. Brandon Turner collected his first four-hit game for the Maroon and White. Moreland had three hits and two RBIs. Turner also drove in three runs.

UAB, retired in order in the fourth and ninth innings, totaled 15 hits, led by center fielder J.R. Bond's four-hit, two-RBI plate performance.

Jones (0-1) was tagged with the loss when the two batters he faced to open the eighth inning scored on McCaskill's double.

The Bulldogs conclude their season-opening nine-game homestand Wednesday against Jacksonville State (4-6), with first pitch set for 4 p.m. The Gamecocks, coached by former MSU assistant Jim Case, are the third of eight MSU opponents this season coached by former Mississippi State assistant coaches.

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