April 16, 2014 4:36:54 AM
STARKVILLE -- John Cohen was convinced Sunday his Mississippi State team couldn't beat a very good junior high team.
Two days later, his team proved they can beat a bottom of the nation college baseball team after registering a 16-2 win over Alcorn State.
The Braves (6-33) were the unfortunate group asked to play an MSU team that was forced to regroup following two embarrassing weekends of play against LSU and Ole Miss. The Bulldogs accomplished what was expected on a cold Tuesday night by scoring the final 13 runs of the game.
The overall conclusion was an evening playing a clearly inferior opponent was needed by a club that hadn't seen much offensive success in the last month.
"We needed to see hits fall no matter who you're playing and we needed to know we can come out and dominate a team when we're supposed to," MSU junior first baseman Wes Rea said.
Rea, who had been marred in a month-long slump at the plate, found two hits and a RBI in the eighth spot of the order. The 270-pound athlete also found success on the base paths as he contributed a pair of runs scored after being involved in two hit-and-run scenarios with Mattew Britton. Britton, who came to the ballpark hitting just .156 got two hits with Rea in motion and allowed the bottom of MSU's lineup to carry the Bulldogs offense.
"It was a good night for our baseball team," Cohen said. "I thought we had some good at-bats and made some things happen on the bases."
Alcorn State (6-33) closed within 3-2 with a single score in the fourth inning. A hit batsman and double by Brandon Ollet ended the night for MSU starting pitcher Tatum. In relief, Sexton was touched for an RBI-single by Christian Hickman.
From that moment, MSU (23-15) clearly made it point to put an incredible upset out of reach by scoring three times in both the fourth and fifth innings. In the fifth inning, Derrick Armstrong stole second with ease and scored on an RBI-single by Rea. Britton followed with a double to left center. Cody Brown connected for a sacrifice fly before Alex Detz closed the scoring with an RBI-double.
In his second career game in the leadoff spot, Brown earned four walks, two stolen bases and two RBIs against a overmatched Alcorn State pitching staff.
"I didn't think they were ever going to pitch to me but I was perfectly fine with talking my walk and put pressure on the defense once I got to first base," Brown said. "My job as the leadoff hitter is to get to first base. Does it matter how? No."
Detz had his second three-hit game of the 2014 season and raised his average 15 points (.220 to .235) by doing so against the Southwestern Athletic Conference opponent.
"I feel like we took better approaches and did some good things at the plate tonight and we needed this to happen," Cohen said.
MSU returns to Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a three-game series at Missouri. The Bulldogs and Tigers meet at 6 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday as Cohen returns to a place he was an assistant coach from 1992-97.
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.
3. Works in Wood exhibit opens today in West Point ENTERTAINMENT