Crosswhite, Lalor Mow Down SEC Eastern Dawgs

Brian LaNinfa drove in three runs and pitchers Chad Crosswhite and John Lalor quieted the Georgia bats Saturday as No. 13 Mississippi State (32-14, 14-9 SEC) notched a 4-2 win over Georgia (20-31, 8-17 SEC) in the opening game of a three-game SEC baseball series at Foley Field. The game was started on Friday night and completed Saturday afternoon.

LaNinfa belted a two-run home run in the third inning that gave MSU a 3-2 lead. MSU's pitching duo of Crosswhite and Lalor held UGA scoreless the remainder of the game. Crosswhite (7-2) recorded a career-best seven strikeouts and allowed two runs on seven hits over five innings. Lalor pitched a season-longest four innings, blanking the Bulldogs on two-hit pitching to earn his third save of the season.

Georgia jumped out to a 2-0 minutes before a thunderstorm hit the Athens area. Jonathan Wyatt singled past third base and Gordon Beckham followed with a line drive that got past a diving Mark Goforth for a run-scoring triple. Beckham came home with Georgia's second run on Rich Poythress' infield groundout.

Before the Bulldogs could come to bat in the top of the second, a severe thunderstorm soaked Foley Field and forced suspension of play until Saturday.

State cut into the lead when play resumed Saturday. Joseph McCaskill drew a walk, advanced to third on an Andy Rice double and scored on Mark Goforth's groundout to shortstop.

MSU took its first lead of the game at 3-2 an inning later when Brian LaNinfa followed a Mitch Moreland single with his third home run of the season, a towering blast over the Foley Field scoreboard in right field. State expanded the lead in the fifth. Edward Easley laced a double down the left field line and scored two batters later on a first-pitch single up the middle by LaNinfa. The Bulldogs flirted with a big inning in the fifth, the last frame for UG starter Stephen Dodson. With Easley at second base, Mitch Moreland launched a one-out drive to right-center that landed atop the outfield fence, inches shy of a two-run home run. It went for a single, with Easley holding at second and later scoring on LaNinfa's hit.

Moreland went 3-for-4 with a sacrifice bunt to lead MSU's 11-hit plate performance. Easley and LaNinfa had two hits each as did senior second baseman Jeffrey Rea, who raised his career hits total to 316, tying former Bulldog Steve Gendron (2001-04) for eighth on the all-time SEC career hits list and third in the MSU charts.

Georgia totaled nine hits, three by Travis Parrott and two each by Jonathan Wyatt and Gordon Beckham. Ryan Peisel singled to lead off the fifth inning, extending his hitting streak to 18 games.

Georgia starter Stephen Dodson (4-5) took the loss and was charged with all four MSU runs on eight hits during his five-inning stay in the game. Justin Earls and Steve Esmonde combined to shut out State over the final four innings.

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