MSU Parlays 11-Run Inning To Win At UAB

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Jason Nappi set a new Southeastern Conference record by driving in 11 runs as the Bulldogs beat UAB 24-10 in college baseball action Tuesday night at Young Memorial Field.

The Bulldogs actually trailed 8-2 before sending 16 batters to the plate in an 11-run fifth inning. MSU then followed its biggest inning of the year with seven more scores in the sixth inning.

By the time the dust settled, MSU had matched a school record by belting six home runs and had a season-high nine extra-base hits in a relatively-easy victory.

MSU completed a two-game season sweep of UAB and also moves to 9-9 overall. UAB, coached by former MSU assistant Brian Shoop, is now 6-10.

For the redshirt freshman Nappi, it most definitely was a joyous homecoming. The Birmingham native became the first MSU player to homer three times in a game since Brad Jones accomplished the feat in a 2004 game at Southern Mississippi. Nappi was 3 of 5 for the evening, hitting a three-run home run and grand slam in back to back at-bats in the fifth inning. The two-homer inning tied the NCAA record and the seven runs were second-most ever in a college game.

In the sixth inninng, Nappi drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk. In the seventh inning, Nappi hit his seventh round-tripper with a two-run shot to right field. His final at-bat in the ninth inning just missed establishing another school standard as he hit a fly ball caught on the warning track, again in right.

For the season, Nappi is now hitting .418 with a team-leading seven home runs and team-leading 27 RBI.

Elsewhere in the Bulldogs' 18 hit attack, Connor Powers hit his fourth and fifth home runs of the season. Powers had three total hits and drove in six runs. Powers' grand slam to dead center field was the big blow in the sixth inning.

Ryan Collins entered the contest midway through and collected three hits in three at-bats with a pair of runs driven in. Jet Butler had a pair of hits and two RBI. Jeff Flagg also entered the contest late and slapped a two-run shot for his first home run of the year.

UAB actually scored six runs in the first inning off MSU starter Chad Crosswhite. The Blazers were starting a strong offensive game of their own, collecting 16 hits. Sophomore shortstop Jonathan Merritt had a career-high five hits and drove in three runs. Merritt also hit his first two home runs of the season.

After the shaky start, Crosswhite worked a scoreless second inning. Tyler Whitney was touched for one run in the third inning. Lee Swindle (2-0) worked the middle three innings and garnered the win. Swindle allowed two hits and one run (earned) with two walks and two strikeouts. Andy Wilson, Michael Busby and Forrest Moore also worked an inning apiece for the Bulldogs.

Blake Huddleston (1-1) took the loss for the Blazers. A designed pitching plan saw 11 different Blazers take to the hill.

The Bulldogs return to Southeastern Conference play this weekend by taking on the South Carolina Gamecocks. The MSU-USC series will be played at Sarge Frye Field in Columbia with games times of 6 p.m. CT Friday, 3 p.m. CT Saturday and 12:30 p.m. CT Sunday.

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