LSU blasts Mississippi State, 17-1

Published 11:33 am Friday, May 20, 2011

In the wild, wacky world of the SEC West, it should come as no surprise that the last-place team laid an unrelenting beatdown on one of the hottest.

Mason Katz and Alex Edward each had a bases-clearing double during a 10-run sixth inning that propelled LSU to a 17-1 victory over Mississippi State in the opener of a crucial three-game series in Starkville on Thursday night.

JaCoby Jones added a two-run homer during the big inning, which gave LSU the 17-1 lead, and Mikie Mahtook hit a two-run shot in the fifth. LSU (35-19, 12-16 SEC) — which has now won five in a row — needs to sweep the series to have a chance of reaching next week’s Southeastern Conference Tournament, while Mississippi State needs to win two out of three to control its own destiny.

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“I’m so proud of the kids for the way they’ve played over the past few weeks, but we still have a lot of work to do,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “We have to get the job done here this weekend if we want to accomplish significant goals this season.”

Mississippi State (33-20, 13-15) had won nine of its last 10 games entering the series, but was mauled in its home park in the opener. The Bulldogs are one of four teams tied for second place in the SEC West. Alabama beat Eastern Division co-leader South Carolina on Thursday to break clear of the pack by one game.

“We didn’t have much energy tonight, and that’s disappointing,” Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. “I know our guys, though. We will have to shrug this one off and come back fighting tomorrow. I know we can put this one behind us and play like we have over the past 10 days.”

LSU starter Kevin Gausman (5-6) allowed one run on four hits, over 72⁄3 innings. He walked one batter and struck out seven.