Bulldogs take down Missouri
By By Marty Stamper/EMG sports assistant
June 1, 2003
STARKVILLE When Mississippi State's see-saw ride with Missouri ended Saturday night, the Bulldogs' feet were solidly on the ground, while the Tigers were left with their legs flailing in the air.
Thanks to a four-run sixth frame, the Bulldogs posted a 10-5 win in the elimination contest. Heroes for MSU were numerous. Jamie Gant (6-1) came out of the bullpen to throw 6.1 innings to get the win. He allowed only one run, which was unearned.
Matthew Maniscalco went 3-for-6, scoring two runs and driving in three. Steve Gendron went 4-for-4 and scored two runs while knocking in one. Jeff Butts had three hits and scored three runs. Brad Corley also had three of State's 18 hits.
The Bulldogs (42-19-1) advanced to today's finals with North Carolina (41-21) needing two wins to take the regional championship. Game 1 is set for 1:30 p.m. with an "if" game to follow at 5 p.m.
State took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first as Gendron beat out an infield hit and went to second on third baseman Zane Taylor's throwing error. Matthew Brinson followed with an RBI single to center field. Brinson scored when Tiger left fielder Tyler Williams misplayed Corley's fly ball that the wind held up in shallow left field.
The Tigers needed just four batters to take the lead on a three-run homer to left field by Ryan Rollo off MSU starter Jeff Lacher.
Missouri went up 4-2 in the bottom of the third when Lacher balked home Ian Kinsler, who had been hit by a pitch.
Gant entered the game and got Taylor for the third out in a rundown near the plate on an attempted double steal.
The Bulldogs got two-out RBI singles from Thomas Berkery and Maniscalco to pull even at 4-4 in the fourth.
Missouri reclaimed the lead with an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth. Williams reached on a throwing error by Maniscalco and scored on a two-out single by Tingler.
State threatened in the fifth with runners at second and third, but Missouri reliever Andy Shipman came on to get Craig Tatum looking for the third out.
The Bulldogs recaptured the lead in the sixth as they erupted for four runs off five hits and three Missouri errors. Maniscalco, Gendron, and Corley each had RBI singles with Brinson's fielder's choice scoring another run.
The lead grew to 10-5 in the seventh with Maniscalco's triple to right-center scoring Butts. Pinch hitter Joseph Hunter's fielder's choice scored Maniscalco for the 10th run.
Shipman (9-4) got his second relief loss of the tournament, allowing six runs on seven hits.
Missouri finished 36-22.
Gant, who had two relief wins against Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament, gave up five hits and three walks in getting his third win out of MSU's four postseason victories.