Tyler Whitney Leads Bulldogs to Victory

HONOLULU, Hawaii - Junior lefthander Tyler Whitney held Hawaii to a run on three hits over 6-1/3 innings Thursday night to help Mississippi State (8-1) secure a 3-1 victory and his first pitching win of the season in State's series opener at Hawaii (3-6). It was the first road game of the season for the Bulldogs.

Whitney was impressive in his second start of the season. The Lakeland, Tenn., product blanked UH and faced just one batter over the minimum over the first five frames.

Rainbow designated hitter Shane Hoey broke up the scoreless pitching duel in the sixth inning, greeting Whitney with a solo shot over the center field wall at Les Murakami Stadium. But it was the only run allowed by Whitney, who was touched for just three hits and a walk while striking out five in 6-1/3 innings of pitching, his second-longest career outing.

But the Bulldogs answered quickly following the Hoey home run, plating with two runs in their next at-bat off UH starter Jayson Kramer and adding an insurance marker in the ninth.

Connor Powers beat out an infield single to open the MSU seventh, advanced to second when DH Jet Butler was struck by a pitch, and raced home with the tying run on Ryan Duffy's pinch-hit single to right. Senior catcher Scott DeLoach then followed with an RBI single to right to score Butler and give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead. DeLoach has now driven in a run in five of his last six games.

Powers got things started for the Bulldogs again two innings later, opening the ninth and greeting UH relief piotcher Harrison Kuroda with a single to left. Russ Sneed then drew a walk and Cody Freeman came off the bench to advance both runners with a well-placed sacrifice bunt. Two batters later DeLoach picked up his second RBI of the night with a line drive to center field that scored Powers and put State on top 3-1.

UH, held to four hits by Bulldog pitching, threatened in the final two frames. Bulldog junior Greg Houston followed Whitney on the mound in the seventh and worked around a lead-off hit batsman in the eighth. But in the ninth Houstonran into problems, issuing a lead-off walk followed by a single by UH third baseman Vinnie Catricala. State then turned to senior righty Chad Crosswhite, who struck out the first batter he faced, walked a batter to load the bases, and then got Christian Johnson to ground into a game-inning 5-4-3 double-play. It was Crosswhite's third consecutuive game-saving mound appearance in four outings this season.

Rainbow starter Jayson Kramer (1-1) scattered six hits with two walks and two strikeouts and was charged with two of MSU's three runs in eight solid innings on the mound. Kuroda was charged with a run on two walks and a hit his inning of relief work.

Powers and Luke Adkins each had two hits for State while four Rainbows collected hits, led by Hoey's round-tripper.

The two teams played error-free ball and combined for four double plays, three by the Rainbows.

The Bulldogs and the Rainbows continue their four-game series Friday at 10:35 p.m. (CST). MSU freshman lefty Nick Routt (2-0, 0.64) willstart for State Friday while Hawaii will counter with junior righty Nate Klein (0-1, 4.85).

The game can be heard free of charge on Maroon to the Max and will be picked up in progress on WFCA-FM in French Camp, Miss.

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