STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State erupted for a season-best 11-run fifth inning on the way to dismantling in-state rival Alcorn State 27-4 in college baseball action Tuesday night at Dudy Noble Field.
The Bulldogs completed their nine-game homestand with a 5-4 mark, while moving to 20-17 overall for the season. The Southwestern Athletic Conference-member Braves fell to 18-20. M-State has now won all nine career meetings with Alcorn State.
MSU never trailed in the contest after scoring twice in the first inning. The Bulldogs built on a 3-1 lead with three scores in the fourth inning and then sent 15 batters to the plate during the 11-run fifth inning. When the night ended, the Bulldogs had season highs in both runs (27) and hits (24).
In the fifth inning, Jet Butler began things with a double. Cody Freeman reached as a hit batsman. Trey Johnson followed with an RBI-single. Jaron Shepherd drew a walk to load the bases. Jonathan Ogden followed with a run-scoring single through the left side of the infield. Ryan Collins drove in a pair of runs by hitting a fielder's choice which also involved a throwing error.
Connor Powers drew a walk prior to a two-run single by Ryan Duffy. Jet Butler followed with a two-run home run - his second of the season. Freeman then hit a line drive solo shot - his third - meaning the Bulldogs went back-to-back for the second time this season. Johnson reached as a hit batsman and scored on a Shepherd triple. An RBI-single by Russ Sneed capped the monster inning.
MSU grabbed the 2-0 lead in the first inning when Vickerson started things with a leadoff single. Vickerson stole second base, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch. Duffy's eighth home run of the year followed - a massive shot to right field.
Alcorn answered on an RBI-single by Josh Brumfield in its half of the third inning. MSU came right back when Connor Powers drove in Vickerson, who had again singled, with a misplayed ground ball.
The Bulldogs ran the lead to 6-1 in the fourth inning on a sacrifice-fly by Powers - giving the Bulldog first baseman 16 multi-RBI games for the season.
MSU stretched the lead with two scores in both the sixth and seventh innings, before scoring six times in the eighth inning. A solo home run by Kenneth Rowan capped the scoring for the Braves in the seventh inning.
The Bulldogs' 24-hit attack was highlighted by a five-hit, six-RBI night from Duffy. The Bulldog left fielder hit .618 in the homestand, collecting 21 hits in 34 at-bats with 22 RBIs. Butler had a career-best four hits. Johnson added his first three-hit game with the Maroon and White.
Also with multiple hits were Vickerson, Wes Thigpen, Freeman, Shepherd and Ogden.
Alcorn finished with 10 hits but were hurt by four errors. Rowan, Brumfield and Eduardo Gonzalez had multiple hits for the Braves.
Greg Houston (5-0) recorded the win, working two innings in relief of starter Matt Lane, who pitched the first four innings. Chad Girodo, Devin Jones and Corey Collins worked an inning apiece. ASU starting pitcher Troy Williams was tagged for 17 runs in five innings of work, while taking the loss.
M-State returns to Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a road trip to Alabama. The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide play at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. MSU does not return to Dudy Noble Field until opening a three-game league series with Ole Miss on April 30th.