March 7, 2014 11:55:18 PM
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State's first games away from Dudy Noble Field weren't close to successful.
The No. 12 Bulldogs lost both games of a doubleheader in the opening contests of the Hi Corbett Classic in dominating fashion.
In the first game of the Friday doubleheader, the bottom third of the California-Santa Barbara (8-1) lineup drove in seven runs to ensure the team's seventh straight win. The Gauchos jumped on MSU pitching in a 8-3 win. Each of the Gauchos' 7-8-9 hitters collected a pair of RBIs and multiple hits on the day. Center fielder Andrew Calica led the way with a 3-for-5 day at the plate, while right fielder Scott Quinlan (2-3 with a stolen base), and Jackson Morrow (2-2) contributed to the offensive explosion. Freshman catcher Dempsey Grover, who entered the game in the seventh inning after Morrow was ejected following a collision at home plate, lined an RBI-single in his only plate appearance.
Reigning Big West Field Player of the Week Joey Epperson continued his hot-hitting ways with a 4-5 day in the leadoff spot. The senior third baseman, who entered the game with the sixth-highest batting average in the country, is now hitting .541 and has collected a hit in every game this season and multiple hits in seven straight.
Mississippi State starter Ben Bracewell (2-1) took the loss after allowing three runs over 5 1/3 innings. The Bulldogs (11-5) bullpen fared worse than Bracewell, allowing five runs in just 4 2/3 innings of work. Senior outfielder Demarcus Henderson (2-for-3) and senior second baseman Brett Pirtle (1-for-4, MSU's only extra-base hit) led the way offensively for MSU.
- Arizona (7-7) also pounded out 17 hits in front of its home fans and scored in six different innings off three MSU pitchers. For Arizona (7-7), Trent Gilbert led the way with an impressive 5-for-5 night and six RBIs including a pair of doubles and triples. Scott Kingery and Kevin Newman each had three hits.
MSU starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff (1-2) worked 4 1/2 innings, allowing eight hits and six runs (all earned), with four walks and four strikeouts. Arizona senior right-hander James Farris (3-1) was brilliant by allowing just three runs in a eight-inning effort. Farris lifted in the ninth inning for Arizona and picked up the win in a 130-pitch outing.
MSU will try to get its first win in Arizona in a 3 p.m. Saturday contest against Santa Barbara when the Bulldogs is projected to send junior right-hander Trevor Fitts to the mound.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
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