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MSU baseball team completes sweep in Houston

 

From Special Reports

 

 

HOUSTON -- The Mississippi State baseball team used a three-run first inning and a strong pitching performance led by Jacob Billingsley to beat Sam Housotn State 4-1 in its final game of the Shiner's College Classic at Minute Maid Park. 

 

MSU (6-5) completed a weekend sweep to finish its season-opening 11-game road trip. 

 

In three tournament victories, MSU allowed 17 hits and four earned runs in 30 innings. MSU pitchers had 39 strikeouts.  

 

"We pitched well the entire weekend," MSU interim coach Gary Henderson said. "We did much better with our concentration. We have shown this weekend what this team is capable of doing on the mound with focus. Defensively, we were great. Our entire infield was exceptional. We made some great plays when the other team was threatening to score." 

 

In the first, Jake Mangum singled, took second base on an error, and scored on Tanner Allen's triple. With two outs, Hunter Vansau walked. Luke Alexander singled in Allen. A bases-loaded walk to Tanner Poole scored Vansau. 

 

Billingsley (1-0) allowed five hits and no runs in six innings. He walked two and struck out six. Keegan James worked the seventh before being lifted with two outs in the eighth. Cole Gordon faced the final six batters to earn his first save. 

 

MSU plated an insurance score in the seventh when Luke Alexander scored on a wild pitch. 

 

Sam Houston State (7-4) broke up the shutout on a single by Jaxxon Grisham in the eighth. 

 

Poole had three of MSU's 11 hits. Mangum and Allen had two hits. 

 

MSU will play host to New Mexico State at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in its home opener. Tickets for the game, along with all of MSU's home games and some road games, can be purchased throughHailState.com/tickets. 

 

n Mississippi University for Women sweeps Lane College: At Columbus, the Mississippi University for Women baseball team defeated Division II Lane College 4-2 and 9-1 on Sunday at Columbus High School. 

 

The W (7-3) swept the doubleheader to remain undefeated at home. 

 

COLUMBUS, Miss. - Owls baseball defeats Division II baseball program Lane College in doubleheader action 4-2 and 9-1 to advance to a 7-game winning streak and remain undefeated at home. With Sunday's victory, The W season record improves to 7-3. 

 

In Game 1, Drew Williams (3-1) pitched a complete-game six-hitter. He allowed one earned run and struck out six.  

 

RJ Cox led the Owls with two hits. 

 

The Owls took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second. Cox singled and former Starkville High School standout Nick Brooks walked. Former Heritage Academy standout Brandon Jones singled to right center and advanced to second on the throw to bring Brooks and Cox home. 

 

Lane College tied the game in the fifth, but The W rallied in the bottom of the sixth. Damain Benefield walked and Cox and Brooks singled. Jones' sacrifice fly gave the Owls the lead. Leon "Trey" Petite was walked intentionally. Sumpter Bass' sacrifice fly accounted for the final margin. 

 

In Game 2, the Owls used a four-run second to take control. 

 

Will Peters and Damain Benefield had RBIs and former Oak Hill Academy standout Heath Ford had two. 

 

The Owls came back in the bottom of the fourth to score three runs then ended the scoring effort in the bottom of the fifth with two additional runs. 

 

In the fourth, Benefield, a freshman infielder, hit a two-run home run for the program's first home run. 

 

Peters (2-1) pitched five innings and allowed five hits and one unearned run. He struck out six. Brooks pitched two hitless innings. He struck out three. 

 

The W will travel to Jackson, Tennessee, on Tuesday for a second doubleheader against Lane. First pitch is scheduled for noon. 

 

n No. 12 Ole Miss beats Long Beach State: At Long Beach, California, Former New Hope High School standout Will Golsan had an RBI single in a five-run fifth Sunday to lead No. 12 Ole Miss to a 12-1 victory against Long Beach State. 

 

Ole Miss (10-1) had 14 hits to back strong outing on the mound led by James McArthur. 

 

McArthur pitched five scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and struck out five. Through three appearances, the junior from New Braunfels, Texas, has a 0.59 earned run average. 

 

The Rebels scored first in the top of the second after a two-out walk by Cole Zabowski. The Rebel first baseman took second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Cooper Johnson. 

 

Grae Kessinger opened the scoring in the fifth with a single to left field. After a pitching change, Ryan Olenek knocked one off the pitcher to score another run and spark the Rebels.  

 

Nine Rebels had hits and scored runs. The RBIs were spread among seven players. 

 

Ole Miss will play host to Austin Peay at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Swayze Field. 

 

n Southern Mississippi scores season-high 20 runs in victory: At Pensacola, Florida, Catcher Bryant Bowen matched career highs with three hits and four RBIs Sunday to lead the Southern Mississippi baseball team to a 20-4 victory against Nicholls State in the Cox Diamond Invitational. 

 

The runs were a season-high for No. 15 Southern Miss (8-3), which scored in each the last eight innings. It had 16 hits for its second-highest total this season. 

 

"We did what we needed to do after a tough game (Saturday) night," Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. "We looked at this as a weekend series, with an opportunity to come out (Sunday) and win the series, and that's what we were able to do." 

 

Southern Miss went 2-1 in the round-robin tournament at Blue Wahoos Stadium, home to the Cincinnati Reds' AA affiliate. Southern Miss defeated Eastern Michigan 9-4 Friday night before losing a four-run lead and dropping a 9-6 decision to Ohio State on Saturday. 

 

With Eastern Michigan defeating Ohio State 6-1 on Sunday in the first game, the teams finished with 2-1 records in the three-day tourney. 

 

Nicholls State (1-10), which lost 11-5 to Eastern Michigan in 10 innings Saturday, dropped all three of its games. 

 

Sophomore right-hander Cody Carroll pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings in his first start of the season. He allowed two hits and walked one. He struck out two and hit three batters. 

 

"I thought he gave us just what we needed," Berry said. "He threw strikes, commanded the strike zone, and did a really good job." 

 

Sean Tweedy (1-0) earned the win in relief by getting the final two outs of the fifth. 

 

After stranding runners at second and third in the first, the Golden Eagles had six hits and scored eight times off starting left-hander Bryan Taylor (0-3) and reliever Austin Bollinger in the second. 

 

Designated hitter Daniel Keating led off with a single and scored on Bowen's double to left-center field. USM added two more runs on a fielder's choice grounder and a Nicholls State error before third baseman Luke Reynolds' bounced a ball over the wall in right-center field for a runs-scoring, ground-rule double and a 4-0 lead. 

 

With left fielder Jaylon Keys at third and Reynolds at second, right fielder Matt Wallner walked to load the bases. First baseman Hunter Slater forced Keys at the plate for the second out, but Keating ripped a bases-clearing triple to center field and Bowen singled to drive him in for the second time in the inning for an 8-0 lead. 

 

USM tacked on two runs in the third on Wallner's double and Slater's single, added three more in the fourth on shortstop LeeMarcus Boyd's first hit of the weekend, a bases-loaded walk by Reynolds and a fielder's choice grounder by Wallner. 

 

Slater, who exited Sunday's game in the bottom of the third to give Erik Hoard playing time, hit .461 over the weekend with three runs scored and four RBIs. 

 

Casey Maack, who started at second base Sunday. tied his career high with three hits. He crushed a pitch over the left-field fence for his first home run of the season and a 17-3 lead. 

 

Keating, who hit .363 (4-of-11) with four runs scored and six RBIs over the weekend, went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and three RBIs. Reynolds had two hits, scored twice and knocked in two runs Sunday. He has scored 19 runs and has 18 RBIs in 11 games. 

 

Southern Miss will take on Alabama at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  

 

n Alabama bounces back to beat Oklahoma: At Norman, Oklahoma, the Alabama baseball team had a season-high 18 hits Sunday en route to a 13-1 victory against Oklahoma at L. Dale Mitchell Park.  

 

Alabama (10-2) scored three in the third and four in the fourth to cruise to the victory. 

 

"I'm very pleased with today's effort. It was a good team win," Alabama coach Brad Bohannon said. "As bad as we were in all areas yesterday, we were equally as sharp today. I'm hopeful that we can carry this momentum into Wednesday against a very good Southern Miss team." 

 

Eleven of the 14 Alabama hitters collected at least one hit, including eight of nine starters. Six players on offense had multi-hit efforts, with Cobie Vance leading the team at 3-for-4. The junior added two RBIs and scored two runs. Cody Henry and Chandler Taylor had a home run and three RBIs. 

 

Henry, a senior, registered a double and two runs scored. 

 

Junior Sam Gardner (1-0) earned his first career win at Alabama. He allowed three hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out a season-high five. Sophomores Davis Vainer and Deacon Medders and junior Dylan Duarte worked the final four scoreless innings.

 

 

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