Alabama downs Bulldogs
By By Mark Etheridge/Special to The Star
May 11, 2002
TUSCALOOSA Alabama used three home runs including a pair from Beau Hearod to beat Mississippi State 9-5 Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The the bullpen shut the door as Taylor Tankersely came in and held the lead.
Alabama, a team known for giving up big innings, put a four spot up in the third inning off Bulldog ace Paul Maholm. Beau Hearod led off with a opposite field homer to left.
Hearod had not had an extra base hit since April 10th when he homered at UAB and was in the midst of a 1-12 slump.
Grant Redding followed with a double to the base of the wall. He scored when Allen Rice reached on an error. After reaching on a fielders' choice, McClanahan and Adam Pavkovich who reached on the second Bulldog error of the inning, scored on a two run double by Jeremy Brown.
The Tide added three more in the fourth when Pavkovich laced a two-run double to left scoring Hearod and Redding. Pavkovich scored on a single by Stonard.
MSU would not go quietly scoring two in the fifth and adding another three in the sixth chasing Tide starter Lance Cormier.
MSU scored on a bases loaded double in the fourth by Matthew Brinson that scored two runs. It would have been three runs if not for MSU runner Matthew Maniscalco being thrown at the plate for the final out of the inning.
MSU scored three in the in the sixth. The first came on a bases loaded balk committed by Cormier. The other two came on RBI singles by Robbie Goodson and Casey Long.
Freshman lefty Taylor Tankersley relieved Cormier and after surrendering a walk to load the bases, got Brinson to pop to short.
Hearod tacked on a run for the home team in the seventh with a long homer to left. In the eighth, McClanahan added a monstrous blast over the scoreboard behind the wall in left.
Neither starter pitched well. Cormier got the win improving to 9-2. He pitched five and a third innings giving up eight hits and five runs – all earned. He did become Alabama's career strikeout leader with 275 strikeouts.
Maholm took the loss falling to 8-3. He gave up seven runs with only four earned, in his 3.2 innings of work. Tankersley logged the final 3.2 innings pitching one-hit scoreless ball for his fifth save. In his last outing, Tankersley surrendered the tying run at Georgia before giving up a home run to end the game. Tonight, he was almost unhittable.
Alabama (41-9 18-7) remains a half-game ahead of South Carolina in the overall race two and a half games over LSU in the SEC West race. Mississippi State (28-20-1 11-13) is clinging to a one game lead over Arkansas for the eighth and final spot in the SEC Tournament.
The teams meet in game two of their three game set Saturday at 4 p.m. Tanner Brock (6-4 4.39) will start for the Bulldogs while lefthander Jeffrey Norris (4-0 2.60) will get the nod for Alabama.