STARKVILLE, Miss. - Michael Busby made the most of his first two career at-bats at Mississippi State. A true freshman from Vicksburg, Busby lined a pair of singles, including the game-winner Friday night, as the Bulldogs held off the Tennessee Volunteers, 4-3 in a 12-inning game at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU improved to 17-25 overall and 5-14 in Southeastern Conference play, while Tennessee fell to 24-18 and 10-9. For both teams, it was their longest game of the season.
The Bulldogs needed late-inning dramatics twice Friday night. MSU scored in the home half of the ninth inning to force extra innings. The Bulldogs are now 3-2 in extra-inning games, while the Volunteers are now 5-2.
Aaron Weatherford (2-0) again sparkled in relief. Weatherford threw 2-1/3 innings, allowing only one hit and striking out four batters. The junior right-hander has not allowed a run in 20 innings pitched this season. Opponents are now hitting .063 against Weatherford, including 40 strikeouts.
MSU scored first, plating a lone run in the first inning. Grant Hogue doubled, advanced to third base on an outfield error and scored on an RBI-ground out by Ryan Collins.
Tennessee answered with a pair of runs in the fourth inning and another score in the fifth inning.
For the Volunteers, a walk to Josh Liles and double by Andy Simunic started the fourth inning. A sacrifice-fly by Cody Grisham tied the game. An RBI-single by Kentrall Davis pushed the Volunteers ahead. An inning later, the lead was extended to 3-1 on Shawn Griffin's 11th home run of the season.
In the sixth inning, Ryan Duffy answered that longball with one his own - his sixth of the season.
The score remained 3-2 until the Bulldogs struck in the ninth inning. Ryan Collins ripped a leadoff triple to right center. After an infield popup, Cody Freeman hit a groundball out to tie the game 3-3.
In the 12th inning, Nick Hardy started things with a one-out walk. After a failed pickoff moved Hardy to second base, Jet Butler drew an intentional walk. A full-count walk to Brooks Lewis loaded the bases. Busby then lined an 0-1 pitch through the left side of the infield for the game-winner.
The Bulldogs finished with 10 hits. Sneed and Busby were the lone multiple hitters.
The Volunteers finished with 11 hits. Siminuic had three hits, while Davis and Griffin each had two hits.
Chad Crosswhite started for MSU. Crosswhite worked a season-best seven innings, allowing eight hits and three runs (all earned), with two walks and one strikeout. John Lalor worked 2-2/3 innings of two-hit shutout relief, before giving way to Weatherford.
UT starter Nick Hernandez also worked seven innings. Hernandez allowed five hits and two runs (both earned), with three strikeouts and no walks. Danny Wiltz worked three innings in relief. Joey Rosas (3-2) completed the game and took the loss.
The Bulldogs and Volunteers resume their series with a 2 p.m. start Saturday. MSU is scheduled to start sophomore right-hander Ricky Bowen (2-4, 7.06 ERA), while UT is scheduled to start red-shirt freshman left-hander Bryan Morgado (4-2, 3.22).
The series finale is set for a 1:30 p.m. start Sunday.