State Falls In Series Opener At LSU, 15-6

BATON ROUGE, La. - Mississippi State could not come back from an early deficit Friday night, falling 15-6 to LSU in Southeastern Conference baseball action Friday night.

The homestanding Tigers kicked a weekend celebration into high gear early Friday night, scoring seven runs in the second inning. This is the final regular-season series in the 71-year history of Alex Box Stadium. Three days of events are planned with the stadium seeing its final regular season contest in Sunday's series finale.

With the victory, LSU improved to 33-16-1 overall and 13-11-1 in conference play. MSU fell to 20-30 and 7-18. The Tigers remain in first place in the Western Division standings, while the Bulldogs were officially eliminated from consideration for the conference tournament.

LSU scored four runs in the first inning Friday night and chased MSU starter Chad Crosswhite during a seven-run second inning. In that inning, Jared Mitchell and Matt Clark each hit two-run home runs for the Tigers. Reliever Andy Wilson was touched for a three-run shot by Ryan Schimpf, extending the lead to 11-0.

The Bulldogs broke up the shutout by scoring three runs in third inning. Ryan Duffy singled to start that inning and came home on an RBI-double by Ryan Powers.

After a groundout, Nick Hardy slapped a two-run home run to left center field - his second round-tripper in three games.

MSU climbed within 12-6 by scoring once in the fourth inning and two more times in the fifth inning. In the fourth inning, Jason Nappi singled, advanced to second base on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI-single by Duffy. In the fifth inning, Hardy and Tyler Moore started things with back-to-back hits. A groundball out by Nappi scored Hardy and Moore later came home on an RBI-double by Jet Butler.

LSU closed out the scoring with single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

The Tigers finished with 21 hits. Mitchell paced the LSU offensive attack with four hits. D. J. LeMahieu and Leon Landry each added three hits. Multiple hitters for the Tigers included Blake Dean, Derek Helenihi, Micah Gibbs and Clark.

The Bulldogs finished with 14 hits. Powers and Hardy both had the first three-hit games of their career. Butler and Duffy had multiple hits for the Bulldogs.

LSU starter Ryan Verdugo worked 4-2/3 innings and was not eligible for the win. Verdugo allowed a season-high 11 hits and six runs (all earned), with no walks and four strikeouts. Louis Coleman (4-0) earned the win in relief. Coleman threw 3-1/3 innings, allowing two hits and no runs, with one walk and three strikeouts. Anthony Ranaudo threw the ninth inning.

Crosswhite (2-5) lasted just 1-2/3 innings, allowing 11 hits and nine runs (all earned), with one walk and two strikeouts. In relief, Wilson threw 3-2/3 innings, allowing six hits and four runs (three earned), with two walks and four strikeouts. Lee Swindle threw 2/3 of an inning, allowing one hit and one walk. Jesse Carver threw the final two innings, allowing three hits and one run (earned), with one walk and one strikeout.

The Bulldogs and Tigers resume their weekend series with a 3 p.m. start Saturday. MSU is scheduled to pitch sophomore right-hander Ricky Bowen (3-5, 6.79 ERA), while LSU is scheduled to pitch junior left-hander Blake Martin (3-3, 5.05). That contest will be shown regionally by Fox Sports Net South. The MSU-LSU series concludes with a 1 p.m. start Sunday.

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