March 25, 2010 10:21:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State baseball team has a thing for the comeback.
For the ninth time this season, MSU overcame a deficit for a victory, this time rallying from a four-run deficit to beat the University of Memphis 7-6 on Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs (12-9) endured a rugged first inning, falling behind 3-1 after a pair of pitching changes.
But solo home runs in three consecutive innings from pinch hitter Jet Butler, Russ Sneed, and Jonathan Ogden brought the Bulldogs within a run before Memphis'' relief pitching crumbled in the seventh.
After starter Ben Paullus exited after six quality innings, Memphis'' Jonathan Jones and Heath Hatfield each saw their first pitch hit the backstop and score a run.
MSU needed the help, as it had only eight hits. Senior outfielder Luke Adkins went 3-for-4 with two triples and two runs scored.
Through the first four innings, Adkins had two of MSU''s three runs.
"It''s hard to string together four hits, we need those walks, forcing errors stuff like that," Adkins said. "(Paullus) was mixing up well. Coach Rock (Memphis coach Daron Schoenrock) over there, he knows us and we''ve all been around, so I''m sure they had a good scouting report. They did a good job throwing with (Paullus)."
Paullus got a no decision in his first shot at a win this season, giving up three earned runs on five hits. He struck out five.
While Memphis'' pitching crumbled late in the game, MSU''s problems came early.
Before the game, MSU coach John Cohen pledged to use eight pitchers and he got halfway through that amount in four innings.
Trey Johnson earned the first start of his MSU career and lasted just 29 pitches after giving up three hits and three runs in the first.
Corey Collins replaced the junior college transfer, but saw his day end in the fourth in favor of freshman Luke Bole.
The revolving door on the mound continued in the fourth after Bole gave up an RBI double to Tyler Huelsing, as senior Greg Houston became MSU''s fourth pitcher in four innings.
"I know that Johnson''s a much better pitcher than what he showed tonight," Cohen said. "He''s got to be able to throw the changeup early and locate that. He throws one belt high that ends up going over the center fielder''s head. He just hasn''t pitched that much, and that''s our fault. We need to get him out there more so he can execute pitches."
Houston entered with a 5-1 hole and a runner on second, but combined with Luke Bole and Chad Girodo, the Bulldogs went three straight scoreless innings.
"I thought Collins was great," Cohen said. "He got ground balls but they just got through holes -- strange holes, like bouncing off glove holes. I thought after we got it under control in the first three innings, I thought we pitched very well."
Girodo''s two scoreless innings earned him his first win of the season. The freshman gave up one hit and struck out one.
Memphis (9-12) came within a run in the eighth before freshman Ben Bracewell recorded the last four outs (two strikeouts) for the save.
MSU returns to the field Friday for the first game of a weekend series against Georgia.
1. New Hope baseball advances in playoffs HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Prep Softball: Caledonia advances in playoffs HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. MSU's Smith anticipates draft call COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Bulldogs land game changer in Newman COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Prep Baseball: Starkville falls in Class 6A playoffs HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS