Playing before a Taylor Park season-best 4,511, the Bulldogs earned a season split with the Golden Eagles, while snapping a four-game losing streak in games played on the Southern Miss campus. MSU had not won here since the 2004 season. The victory marked the Bulldogs' third win in true road games this season.
M-State completes the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 17-9 mark. The Bulldogs are now 22-31 overall, while the Golden Eagles dropped their third straight to fall to 30-20 overall. Dealing a blow to its NCAA tournament hopes, Southern Miss closes the regular season by hosting Conference USA rival Memphis this weekend.
Tuesday's night contest had some similarities to the team's earlier meeting, May 5th in Pearl. In that contest, the Bulldogs led 3-2 in the sixth inning before Southern Miss scored the game's next 12 runs on the way to a 14-3 victory. In the rematch, the Golden Eagles held a 6-4 lead before the Bulldogs tallied 11 runs in a row over a three-inning stretch.
Freshman left-hander Chad Girodo threw the Bulldogs' fourth complete game of the season and the first of his career. Girodo (2-3) allowed 12 hits and nine runs (all earned), with six strikeouts and five walks. Girodo threw 135 pitches and found his second wind in the ninth inning, giving up only a two-out double.
The offense started quickly Tuesday night. M-State's Nick Vickerson lined a 2-2 shot down the left field line over the big Powerade bottle for a leadoff home run. The Golden Eagles came right back when B.A. Vollmuth slapped the first of his two Tuesday night home runs with two outs in the home half of the first inning.
The Bulldogs grabbed a brief 4-1 lead by scoring three times in the third inning. Jonathan Ogden and Nick Vickerson drew back-to-back walks to start the inning. After a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk to Connor Powers loaded the bases. Russ Sneed made it four walks in the inning as his base on balls forced Ogden home. A groundout scored one run while a Ryan Duffy RBI-single plated another.
Southern Miss came right back with four scores in the home half of the fourth inning. Vollmuth's second home run of the game - another monster shot to left center field - started that rally. Mark Ellis drew a walk and Dillon Day followed with a bunt single. After a groundout, Marc Bourgeois drew a walk to load the bases.
A walk to Travis Graves forced in Ellis. A wild pitch plated the game-tying score. An RBI-double by Kameron Brunty placed the Golden Eagles on top, 5-4.
An inning later, Southern Miss stretched the lead with a single score. This time, Ellis connected for his seventh home run of the season - a line shot down the left field line.
The Bulldogs battled back for a tie by scoring twice in the sixth inning. Duffy drew a walk to begin that frame. Jet Butler followed with a double to right field. With a pair of runners now in scoring position, the guests drew even with back-to-back ground ball outs from Wes Thigpen and Ogden.
MSU grabbed the lead with three scores in the seventh inning. Luke Adkins and Connor Powers started the inning with back-to-back singles. After a sacrifice bunt and strikeout, Ryan Duffy lined a triple to center field. Duffy's hit easily scored Adkins and also plated Powers after Southern Miss center fielder Day slipped on the wet playing surface.
Jet Butler capped that inning with an RBI-single through the left side of the infield, plating Duffy.
The Bulldogs added three insurance scores in the top of the eighth, again via a bases-loaded walk. With two outs, Adkins drew a walk and Powers followed with a single. A walk to Russ Sneed loaded the bases. A walk to Jaron Shepherd forced home Adkins. Duffy followed with a two-run single to right field.
Once again, Butler capped the big inning with a three-run home run - his third of the season - to left center.
Southern Miss closed the gap by scoring three times in the eighth inning. A two-run double by Taylor Walker was the big blow in that at-bat. MSU closed the scoring with a Sneed sacrifice-fly in the ninth inning.
The Bulldogs finished with 14 hits. Powers, Duffy and Butler each had three hits. Powers had his 10th three-hit game on the season. Duffy had his sixth game of three or more hits, while Butler had hit fourth game of three or more hits.
Vickerson and Adkins also had multiple hits for the Maroon and White.
The Golden Eagles finished with 12 hits. Joey Archer had three hits, while Brunty and Vollmuth added multiple hits. Cody Schlagel (3-1) - the third of eight Southern Miss pitchers used - took the loss.
MSU closes the 2010 regular season with a Southeastern Conference three-game series at LSU. The Bulldogs play for the first time at the new Alex Box Stadium this weekend with game times of 7 p.m. Thursday, 7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday. The Thursday and Friday games will be shown regionally by Cox Sports, while the Saturday game will be shown regionally by Comcast Sports Southeast.