MSU Drops Game 1 At USM, 11-7

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A three-run first inning gave Southern Miss the early momentum as the Golden Eagles hung on for a 11-7 victory over Mississippi State in college baseball action Tuesday night.

A Pete Taylor Park crowd of 4,525 (ninth largest) watched a contest between in-state rivals, which evolved into a struggle for both pitching staffs. The two teams combined to walk 16 batters and hit three more. Three balks were also called in the 3-hour, 22-minute game.

Southern Miss started the scoring with three runs in the first inning. Bo Davis opened the half inning with a double and then scored on Brian Dozier's RBI-single. After a groundout, Trey Cuevas drew a walk. After a flyout, Kyle Maxie walked to load the bases. Keith Winstead capped this outburst with a two-run single to right field.

MSU answered with two runs in its half of the second inning. Tyler Moore began the threat with a one-out double center field. Ryan Duffy followed with a hard-hit single to right field. An RBI-single by Jason Nappi scored Moore, while a balk call scored Duffy.

The Golden Eagles came right back, also scoring twice in the second inning, to establish a 5-2 lead. Davis legged out a bunt attempt for an infield single to start this inning. Davis later took second on a wild pitch and scorfed on a double to right center field by Dozier. After a strikeout, a walk to Cuevas chased MSU starter Tyler Whitney. New pitcher Jesse Carver was greeted by an RBI-double from Drew Carson.

Southern Miss extended the lead with five more runs in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 10-2. James Ewing opened the inning with a single to right field. Cuevas then drew a walk. After a groundout advanced both runners, each runner scored on Kyle Maxie's single to center field. Winstead drew a walk and an infield error reached Chris Matesich to load the bases. A wild pitch scored Maxie and Michael Ewing's two-run single capped that inning for the hosts.

The Bulldogs drew closer by scoring four times in the fifth inning. Grant Hogue opened the inning with a double down the left field line. After a groundout, Russ Sneed lined a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Hogue. With two outs, Cody Freeman walked and Jet Butler reached as a hit batsman. Moore then lined a towering fly ball over the left field fence for his eighth home run of the season.

MSU plated its final run in the eighth inning. Jason Nappi singled, Grant Hogue walked and Ryan Collins reached on a dropped third strike. A bases-loaded walk to Russ Sneed forced in Nappi but the Bulldogs could draw no closer.

Southern Miss got the run right back in its half of the eighth inning. After walks to Winstead and Matseich, Michael Ewing closed the scoring with an RBI-single.

Whitney (0-1) started on the mound for the Bulldogs. Whitney lasted only 1-1/3 innings, allowing five hits and five runs (all earned), with four walks and one strikeout. Jesse Carver threw the next two innings, allowing four hits and four runs (all earned), with two walks and two strikeouts. Lee Swindle worked 2-2/3 innings, allowing one hit and one run (unearned), with two walks and no strikeouts. Chad Crosswhite threw a scoreless seventh inning, while Jared Wesson and Andy Wilson combined to work the eighth inning.

Seth Hester drew the start for Southern Miss. The true freshman right-hander worked 4-2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and six runs (all earned), with two walks and no strikeouts. Jonathan Johnston (1-0) picked up the win, working three innings, allowing two hits and one run (earned), with two walks and three strikeouts. Wade Weathers worked out of an inherited bases-loaded situation in the eighth inning and also threw the ninth inning for his first save.

The Bulldogs and Golden Eagles conclude their midweek series with a 6:30 p.m. start Wednesday. MSU then hosts Tennessee for a weekend Southeastern Conference series at Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs and Volunteers play at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

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