March 17, 2006
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A five-run fifth inning by sixth-ranked Mississippi State proved too much to overcome for Tennessee Friday night, as the fifth-ranked Volunteers baseball team fell by a score of 8-2 in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams at Dudy Noble Field. Tennessee dropped to 14-4 with the loss, while MSU remained unbeaten at 14-0.
Both clubs committed two errors, and the Bulldogs pounded out 14 hits to Tennessee's season-low-tying six.
Mississippi State third baseman Michael Rutledge laid down a perfect bunt single to load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the sixth and set the table for the top of the Bulldogs batting order. State's Nos. 1-5 hitters then combined to drive in five runs on two hits, a pair of groundouts and a fielding error, and Tennessee found itself trailing 7-2.
MSU starting pitcher Brooks Dunn (4-0) picked up the win after giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits with seven Ks to just two walks in seven full frames on the hill. Dunn gave way to Chad Crosswhite in the eighth, and the Bulldogs reliever threw two perfect innings to close out the game.
The Bulldogs scored one run on three hits in the bottom of the first inning, with first baseman Brad Jones providing the go-ahead RBI on a single to right field.
Tennessee's Brian Van Kirk and Tony Delmonico each reached base to lead off the second inning and both advanced into scoring position on a passed ball. With no outs, Cody Brown then plated Van Kirk with a game-tying RBI groundout, and Delmonico scampered home on a wild pitch one batter later to give the Vols a 2-1 lead.
MSU used three consecutive basehits from the top of its batting order to load the base with one out in the third, and Jones then drove in his second run of the evening with an RBI groundout to help the Bulldogs pull even at 2-2.
The sixth inning marked the third frame of the game in which UT put multiple runners on base with less than two outs, but Bulldogs shortstop Thomas Berkery made a fantastic, heads-up play on a line-out by Brown to double-up the runner on third base and extinguish Tennessee's last significant scoring threat.
State tacked on a final insurance run courtesy of an RBI single by Jeffrey Rea in the seventh.
Vols starting pitcher James Adkins left the game after allowing seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits with four walks and six strikeouts through six innings of work. The sophomore left-hander fell to 4-2 with the loss. UT reliever Chase Hardin allowed one run on three hits with one strikeout in the final two innings.
For Tennessee, centerfielder Julio Borbon and designated hitter Kelly Edmundson each saw their respective hit streaks end at 17 and 10 games. Friday's game also marked the third straight contest in which UT's opponent scored at least five runs in a single inning.
The series is scheduled to resume Saturday at 3 p.m. ET, though forecasts are calling for a high chance of rain in the Starkville area.