Mississippi State 5, Vanderbilt 4 (13 innings)

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Tatum's Walk-Off RBI Single Lifts No. 10 Mississippi State
Past Vanderbilt, 5-4, in 13 Innings

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Craig Tatum's walk-off single with two out and the bases-loaded in the bottom of the 13th scored Matthew Maniscalco as No. 10 Mississippi State edged Vanderbilt, 5-4, Friday, March 14 at Dudy Noble Field in the Southeastern Conference opener.

The Commodores (10-7, 0-1 SEC) grabbed three different leads in the game, but the Bulldogs (12-1-1) answered each time before winning the game in the 13th. MSU's Jonathan Papelbon (4-0) registered the win while Commodore reliever Jensen Lewis (1-3) took the loss. Commodore pitchers struck out a season-high 17 batters.

Vanderbilt took leads into the bottom of the ninth and the bottom of the 12th. Commodore designated hitter Jeff Boutwell singled in Warner Jones to give Vanderbilt a 3-2 advantage. But MSU answered in its half of the inning when Matthew Brinson hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to deep right-center field scored Jeff Butts. The Commodores took a 4-3 lead in the 12th when Worth Scott led off the inning with a home run to right field. It was Scott's second long ball of the season. Again the Bulldogs answered in their frame when Brent Lewis' single through the right side of the infield scored Brad Jones.

Both starting pitchers threw masterful games. Vanderbilt left-hander Jeremy Sowers struck out 11 Bulldogs, pitched out of several jams and ended the day by allowing eight hits, two walks and two earned runs in seven innings. MSU's Paul Maholm pitched a career-high 10 innings and retired 15 in a row and 23 of 24 before Vanderbilt took the lead in the ninth. Maholm allowed only four hits, three runs (all earned) and two walks while striking out five.

Vanderbilt took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning on back-to-back fielder choice RBI by Cesar Nicolas and Boutwell. Warner Jones led off the game with a single down the first-base line. Rucker Taylor then walked and Ryan Klosterman was hit by a pitch to load the bases. That set the stage for Nicolas and Boutwell.

Mississippi State tied the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth on Joseph Hunter's two-run home run over the wall in left-center field. It was Hunter's second home run of the year. It also marked only the third long ball given up by a Commodore pitcher this season.

Game two of the three-game series continues Saturday at 2 p.m. The two teams also play Sunday at 1:30 p.m.



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