Bulldogs, USM finish off sweeps

Published 12:04 pm Monday, February 21, 2011

Mississippi State was firmly entrenched at the bottom of the Southeastern Conference standings for much of the 2010 season. Through four games of this campaign, it has the look of a champion.

The Bulldogs scored 13 runs in the first inning and went on to blast Lamar 17-2 in the finale of a four-game opening weekend. The Bulldogs took two games each from Lamar and Akron. Their pitching staff allowed only three earned runs in 36 innings, struck out 36 batters and walked 13.

The hitting was almost as good. MSU outscored the two teams 40-3 over the four games. On Sunday, 17 batters came to the plate in the first inning and the Bulldogs scored nine runs before making an out. Jonathan Ogden hit a grand slam in the first, five players finished the game with at least two hits, and Daryl Norris drove in three runs.

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“Lamar is a good team,” Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. “They won their conference and made a regional last year. Thirty games from now, we will look back and realize what we did today. Because of that, I’m very pleased with what we did.”

Southern Miss 6, Eastern Illinois 0

Tyler Koelling went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs, Isaac Rodriguez homered and Southern Miss (3-0) completed a season-opening sweep of Eastern Illinois.

Josh Thompson threw six strong innings for Southern Miss. He allowed five hits and walked one. Josh Rogers and Collin Cargill completed the shutout, and a dominant weekend for the Golden Eagles pitching staff. They only allowed three runs in 27 innings. Sunday’s performance ran the team’s scoreless inning streak to 17.

“Any time you play in Division I baseball it’s tough to keep your guys focused and go out and sweep a weekend, I don’t care who you are,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said.

Alabama 8, Alcorn 1

Tucker Hawley threw five innings of one-hit ball, and David Kindred went 2-for-2 with two doubles and two RBIs as Alabama completed a sweep of Alcorn State.

The Crimson Tide scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to blow the game open. Kindred’s two-run double capped the rally and gave Alabama a 6-0 lead.

Darryl Parks and Jann Butler had two hits apiece for Alcorn, which plays at Southern Miss on Wednesday night.

LSU 9, Wake Forest 1

Freshman Kurt McCune threw six innings of one-hit ball and Mikie Mahtook hit a three-run homer to lead LSU to a victory in the finale of a weekend series in Baton Rouge. Mahtook hit four home runs in the three-game set as LSU opened the season with a sweep.

McCune was the second freshman pitcher to earn a win for the Tigers, following Ryan Eades on Saturday.

Mahtook’s home run in the third inning gave LSU a 5-0 lead, and Mason Katz added another three-run shot in the fifth to make it 9-0.

Tyler Hanover also went 3-for-3 for the Tigers, and Trey Watkins had two hits and scored twice.