Diamond Dogs Roar Past Air Force, 16-8

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State pounded out a season-high 19 hits as the Bulldogs rolled past the Air Force Academy, 16-8, in college baseball action Sunday afternoon.

A Dudy Noble Field crowd of 2,479 watched the rubber game of a three-game weekend series. The teams split a doubleheader Saturday - MSU winning 3-1, before Air Force answered with a 6-4 victory. The Bulldogs improved to 4-3 overall and are now 3-1 in their 14-game homestand. Air Force fell to 2-5.

The Bulldogs erased a 2-0 deficit Sunday with a pair of runs in the home half of the first inning. The hosts then took the lead for good by scoring five runs in the home half of the third inning, erasing a 3-2 deficit. In the end, the Bulldogs scored in seven of their eight at-bats and also notched double digit hits for a seventh straight game.

In the M-State first inning, Mark Goforth and Russ Sneed started things with conseutive singles. Both Goforth and Sneed later scored on a two-run single by Connor Powers. In the third inning, Jason Nappi and Connor Powers again started things with consecutive singles. A sacrifice fly by Tyler Moore tied the contest 3-3. After an infield hit by Jet Butler, the hosts broke on top for good with a two-run double to left center by Ryan Duffy. A two-run single by Sneed capped the big third inning.

In the fourth inning, the Bulldogs increased the lead with a two-run double by Ryan Collins and RBI single by Duffy. MSU extended the lead to 13-5 two innings later on a two-run home run by Nappi, his team-best third of the season.

For the contest, Connor Powers led the offensive attack with three hits and a pair of RBI. Duffy added two hits and three RBI. Collins, Sneed and Nappi each had two hits and two RBI. Butler and Grant Hogue also had multiple hits.

Sneed and Nappi have now hit safely in all seven MSU contests. Through the first seven games, Nappi - a red-shirt freshman from Birmingham, Ala. - is leading the Bulldogs with 14 hits and nine RBI.

Air Force finished with 12 hits. Matt Alexander had three hits and five RBI for the Falcons. Chay Derbigny also had three hits. Addison Gentry and Nathan Carter each added multiple hits. Gentry also drove in three runs for the Falcons.

Ricky Bowen (1-1) pitched the first five innings to earn the victory. Bowen allowed eight hits and five runs (all earned) with two walks and six strikeouts. Andy Wilson, Michael Busby, Jared Wesson and John Lalor each worked one inning in relief. The MSU bullpen allowed four hits and three runs (two earned) the rest of the way. Starting pitcher Jake Petro (0-2) was chased in the MSU third inning and took the loss for the Falcons.

The Bulldogs entertain Arkansas-Little Rock for a pair of midweek games. The Sun Belt Conference member Trojans are presently 1-7 on the 2008 campaign. MSU and UALR will play at 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wedesday. Both games will be broadcast locally on WFCA-FM (107.9). Live video and audio will be available through M2M. The Bulldogs resume the homestand next weekend by hosing the Cadence Bank Classic - a three-game series against Baylor.

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