Georgia Sweeps MSU

ATHENS, Ga. - Athens, Ga. - Mississippi State (32-16, 14-11 SEC) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead Sunday but was unable to hold off Georgia (22-31, 10-17 SEC), which completed a Sunday doubleheader sweep and clinched the SEC weekend series with a 5-3 win at Foley Field. It was Georgia's fifth consecutive series win over MSU and State's fourth setback in five road games over the past week.

The Bulldogs return to action this week, hosting Arkansas-Little Rock Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. before entertaining Alabama in a three-game Thursday-through-Saturday series to close out the 2007 regular season.

State out-hit Georgia 10-8 on the afternoon but could manage but three runs off Georgia pitching. Matt Olson delivered the game-winning hit, a fifth-inning double.

State struck quickly when Jeffrey Rea, Joseph McCaskill and Edward Easley opened the game with singles. Easley's hit drove in Rea and, following a bunt by Mitch Moreland, Brian LaNinfa singled sharply up the middle, scoring McCaskill and giving MSU a 2-0 lead. The rally was curtailed when UGA starter Trevor Holder got Connor Powers to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Georgia tied the score with its first two hits of the game of State starter Josh Johnson. Rich Poythress opened the UGA second with a blast over the left field wall, and in the third Jonathan Wyatt cleared the fence with a solo shot that tied the score at 2-2.

The homestanding Bulldogs forged into the lead in the fourth inning when Matt Olson singled, advanced on a bunt and scored on Travis Parrott's single up the middle. State avoided further damage with a double play, doubling a runner off at second after a line drive was reeled in by McCaskill in left.

MSU answered with a run in the fifth inning. Rea opened the frame with his third single of the game, advanced to second on a bunt and third on a wild pitch, and then scored on an Easley infield groundout that tied the game.

The game didn't stay tied long. Georgia's Jonathan Wyatt singled up the middle, stolen second base, and scored UGA's fourth run when Matt Olson roped a double down the left field line. Georgia added an insurance run in the sixth off MSU relief ace Aaron Weatherford. Luke Stewart opened with a single to shallow left, advanced on a sacrifice bunt, moved to third on a single by Ryan Peisel and trotted home on a Wyatt sacrifice fly to center field.

Holder (2-3) got the win, scattering nine hits and allowing three runs over five innings. Adam McDaniel and Joshua Fields worked scoreless innings in relief, with Fields notching his second save of the day and the sixth of the season.

Starter Josh Johnson (2-3) took the loss, allowing three runs on four hits before exiting the game one out into the fourth inning. Ricky Bowen and Aaron Weatherford gave up a run each in relief for State.

State had several early scoring opportunities. A double play erased a lead-off single by Rea in the third. Edward Easley singled and Mitch Moreland followed with a walk, but the inning ended with Easley getting picked off the bag at second. LaNinfa singled to open the fourth, and Jet Butler laced a two-out double into the right field corner. But Holder struck out Mark Goforth to strand the two base-runners in scoring position.

Rea, Easley and LaNinfa paced MSU with multi-hit plate performances. Rea completed a six-hit series with a 3-for-4 showing that raised his career hits total to 319, third-most at MSU and seventh-most in the SEC.

Georgia plated an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth inning Sunday afternoon to claim a 2-1 win over No. 13 Mississippi State in the first game at Foley Field.

Gordon Beckham reached safely on a two-base fielding error by third baseman Connor Powers and scored the game-winning run on a two-out single by designated hitter Joey Lewis.

Starter Nathan Moreau (5-2) got the win, allowing a run on three hits over six innings of pitching. Junior relief ace Joshua Field retired State in order in the seventh inning to preserve the win and earn his fifth save.

Moreau, the current SEC Pitcher of the Week, struggled early. Jeffrey Rea singled to left to open the game, Joseph McCaskill drew a walk, and Edward Easley singled through the left side of the Georgia infield to plate Rea.

But Moreau retired the next three batters to get out of the first inning and allowed just two hits over the next five frames – lead-off singles by Mitch Morerland and Joseph McCaskill. The top four in the State batting order had one single apiece.

Georgia tied the game in the second inning off MSU starter Justin Pigott (4-5) when Matt Olson cleared the right field fence with his fifth home run of the season. Pigott worked out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth but was unable to overcome UGA in the sixth. He notched his team-leading fifth quality pitching start, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts.

Rea's lead-off single raised his career hits total to 317 and moved him past Steve Gendron (2001-04) into third place on the MSU career hits list and eighth place among the SEC's all-time career hits leaders.

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