After two scoreless innings, the Commodores scored one in the third inning. With one away, Klosterman singled to left field. He was safe at second when second baseman Jeffrey Rea bobbled a shot by Mike Baxter that was a potential double play ball. Warner Jones then collected his 49th RBI of the season with a single up the middle scoring Klosterman.
MSU's Steve Gendron tied it at 1-1 in the fourth when he hit a leadoff home run – his fourth of the season.
The Commodores regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth when VU scored three runs. Worth Scott reached base on a single to left center field and moved to second on a blooper to right field by Aaron Garza. Antoan Richardson singled to right field scoring Scott and moved to second on the throw to home plate. Klosterman then hit a shot just past the second baseman that scored Garza and Richardson.
In the fifth inning, MSU stranded two players on base. Joseph Hunter drew a walk and moved to second on a single up the middle by Jeff Butts. Sowers then struck out the next two batters to retire the side.
VU added two runs in the fifth inning. Warner Jones walked but was picked off at first base. Cesar Nicolas doubled down the third base line, followed by another double down the third base line by Tony Mansolino – the first extra base hits of the game for the Commodores. Scott reached base on an error by Rea – his second of the game – with Mansolino moving to third. Mansolino then scored on an infield hit by Garza.
In the top of the eighth, Brad Corley reached base on an infield hit to the shortstop and moved to second on a balk by Sowers, his first of the season. Craig Tatum hit a standup double to left center field that scored Corley to narrow the Commodore lead to four, 6-2. Jensen Lewis came in relief and walked pinch hitter Brian LaNinfa before forcing Thomas Berkery to ground out to second to retire the side.
Sowers faced 32 batters and struck out eight while walking two.
"I felt confident throwing everything and I worked deep into too many counts which got my pitch count up there in the last few innings," Sowers said. "But I felt that I was able to command my fastball and it had really good life on it today. The defense was unbelievable and (Ryan) Klosterman was fantastic."
Klosterman totaled 10 assists in the contest at shortstop with one putout. His 10 assists are one shy of his school-record 11 which he set last season against East Tennessee State on Feb. 18.
Sowers entered the contest after two consecutive losses as a starter.
"We talked a lot about going out and relaxing and being able to pitch that way," VU Pitching Coach Derek Johnson said. "He did and that was the difference. I think he has been putting a lot of pressure on himself and I don't think he did that tonight."
With two away in the eighth, Richardson hit a standup double down the third base line and scored on a hit-and-run with a single from Klosterman. Klosterman totaled three RBI in the game and totals 22 on the season, including seven in the last two games.
VU out-hit MSU 12-8. VU's 12 hits marks the 27th time this season the Commodores have totaled double digit hits in a game.
Lewis pitched 1-1/3 innings in relief and did not give up a hit while walking two and striking out two.
"It's a role that he's used to from last year," Johnson commented about Lewis's relief performance. "We wanted to give him a fresh look because he had been struggling as a starter. He came out and had a pretty good fast ball and things happened for him."
The series continues Saturday with the first pitch scheduled for 4:05 pm. The first 500 fans will receive a Tim Corbin baseball card.
Score by Innings R H E ------------------------------------------- Mississippi State... 000 100 010 - 2 8 3 Vanderbilt.......... 001 320 01X - 7 12 0 ------------------------------------------- Win - J. Sowers (7-3). Loss - Johnson, A (3-2). Save - None. Start: 7 p.m. Time: 2:25 Attendance: 1013