STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State (12-9) struck for four runs in the seventh inning Wednesday night to rally past the University of Memphis (9-12) at Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs trailed the Tigers 5-1 after four innings before staging the comeback.
"I was pleased with our comeback tonight," said State skipper John Cohen. "But we are still a long way from where we need to be. We just aren't making the plays in situations and we are putting too much pressure on ourselves, and that is on the coaches."
Five of MSU's eight hits went for extra bases, including solo home runs by Jet Butler, Jonathan Ogden and Russ Sneed and a school record-tying pair of triples by Luke Adkins.
The Tigers collected four hits and struck for three first-inning runs off first-time Bulldog starting Trey Johnson. Third baseman Jacob Wilson delivered the big blow, a two-run double to the left-centerfield gap.
The Bulldogs answered in the bottom of the first when Luke Adkins legged out a triple and scored the Bulldogs' first run of the game on a Connor Powers single to right.
The Tigers extended their lead with single runs in third and fourth frames. Trey Wiedman, after singling in a run in the first inning, drove in a second run with a single in the third, and in the fourth, Chad Zurcher and Tyler Huesling, the reigning C-USA Player of the Week, pieced together back-to-back extra-base hits for another run and a 5-1 Tiger lead.
State used the long ball to get back into the fray. Jet Butler laced a first pitch blast to right in the fifth, Russ Sneed added a two-out solo shot in the sixth and Jonathan Ogden made it a 5-4 game with a leadoff home run in the seventh. State sent nine more to the plate in frame, adding three more runs on two hits and four walks to take its first lead of the game at 7-5.
The Tigers staged a two-out rally in the eighth, scoring a run after drawing a two-out walk and lacing back-to-back singles. State freshman Ben Bracewell replaced Devin Jones on the hill and closed the door on Memphis, ending the eighth with a groundout and retiring the three batters he faced in the ninth to earn his first save of the campaign.
Chad Girodo (1-1), the fifth of seven Bulldog hurlers in the game, tossed two innings of scoreless one-hit pitching to earn the win. Junior Corey Collins, who followed starter Trey Johnson to the hill in the first inning, scattered four hits and allowed one run in 2-1/3 innings of relief.
UM starter Ben Paullus allowed three runs on five hits in a solid six-inning start for the Tigers. Marcus Barnes (0-1) who followed Paullus to the hill in the seventh ining, took the loss, allowing four runs (three earned) and retiring just one of the five batters he faced.
Memphis out-hit State 12-8, with five Tigers reaching multi-hit status and both Wilson and Wiedman driving in two runs.
Luke Adkins paced State with a 3-for-4 plate performance, including two triples. Butler came off the bench to tally a pair of hits.
The Bulldogs open their 2010 SEC home schedule Friday when State entertains Georgia in a 6:30 p.m. contest.