The early scoring burst was plenty for sophomore starter Todd Nicholas, who faced the minimum over the first three frames before being touched for a run in the fourth. Nicholas loaded the bases to open the fourth when Brian Passons singled up the middle, Kyle Jackson drew a walk and Chris Parker was struck by a pitch. Patrick O¹Rourke¹s one-out sacrifice fly to center field score Passons, but the Bisons' big inning was snuffed out when Jackson was ruled out on an appeal play for having left second base prior to the catch in center field.
In a career-longest five-inning stint, Nicholas, from Deatsville, Ala., gave up one run on three hits and one walk while registering a pair of strikeouts. Jamie Gant, Saunders Ramsey, Brooks Dunn and Robby Goodson each worked an inning of shutout pitching. State pitching combined for six strikeouts, walked one and checked Lipscomb on four hits, two by LU shortstop Ryan Boyer.
Boucher gave up four runs on three hits and struck out three during his three-inning start for Lipscomb (4-9). Matthew Griffith followed Boucher to the hill in the fourth and gave way to David Ayre in the seventh.
A trio of redshirt freshmen came up with clutch hits in MSU's two other scoring innings. Catcher Craig Tatum laced a two-run double to right during a three-run MSU burst in the fifth while Jo Jo Haney singled in two runs and Brad Jones added a two-run double during MSU's five-run spree in the eighth.
Third baseman Steve Gendron went 3-for-5 and Brinson had a pair of hits to join Maniscalco with multiple-hit games.
Mississippi State travels to New Orleans, La., for a pair of mid-week matchups with the streaking UNO Privateers (11-6). MSU and UNO square off in a 6:30 p.m. contest Tuesday at Maestri Field and conclude the two-game set with a 3 p.m. game Wednesday. The Bulldogs then return to Starkville for an SEC season-opening three-game weekend series against Vanderbilt (9-6). That series begins Friday at Dudy Noble Field with a 6:30 p.m. game.
Tuesday night's game at UNO will be carried on the statewide MSU Baseball Radio Network.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 12, LIPSCOMB 1
LU 000 100 000 - 1- 4-2
MSU 220 030 05x - 12-13-0
WP - Todd Nicholas (1-0). LP - Todd Boucher (1-1). HR - Matthew Maniscalco (1). T - 2:25. ATT - 5,808 (paid), 2,168 (actual).