April 30, 2011
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Pinch-hitter Brett Whitaker hit the first pitch he saw in the top of the 10th inning to lift the Alabama baseball team to a 5-4 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs in game one of a Southeastern Conference doubleheader on Saturday from Polk-DeMent Stadium. With the win Alabama improved to 27-18 overall and 9-10 in SEC play, while the Bulldogs dropped to 24-17 overall and 7-12 in SEC competition.
It was the first hit of the season for Whitaker, who entered the game without a hit in eight at-bats of the year. Whitaker spent little time in the batter's box as he smashed the first pitch of the 10th inning off MSU closer Caleb Reed over the left center field wall. Reed took the loss to drop to 0-1 on the year. UA closer Jonathan Smart threw the final 2.1 innings of the game, getting the win to improve to 3-1 on the year.
Alabama connected for 12 hits in the first game of the doubleheader, as Andrew Miller paced the Tide with three hits and a run scored. Taylor Dugas was 2-for-5 with a run scored, Brock Bennett was 2-for-5 with two RBI and Josh Sanders was 2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and two runs scored.
MSU had 15 hits in the game as six players had at least two hits. The big day came from right fielder Jerod Shepherd who was 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs. Nick Vickerson also added three hits for the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State struck first, scoring three times in the second inning. The first run came with one out when Shepherd hit a 2-1 pitch over the 374-sign in right center. The Bulldogs added four straight hits to score two more runs.
Alabama got a run back in the top of the third inning when Bennett's single to right field scored Dugas from second base. Dugas singled for the second time in the game and advanced to second don a wild pitch to set up the Bennett RBI hit.
A triple by Miller to open the fifth inning sparked a two-run rally for the Tide. Miller, who tripled for the second time this season, scored on the next pitch when Sanders singled to right field. Sanders made the score 3-3 when he crossed the plate after Brandt Hendricks was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Alabama scored again in the top of the sixth inning to take a 4-3 lead. With runners on second and third and two outs, Bennett's pop up in front of home plate fell out of the reach of MSU first baseman Ryan Collins, scoring Sanders, who doubled for the first time this season earlier in the inning.
MSU got back-to-back singles to open the seventh inning, but after Josh Rosecrans struck out Trey Johnson, Cody Freeman grounded into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play. The Bulldogs tied the score at 4-4 when Shepherd homered for the second time in the game, this time to left-center field to lead off the eighth inning.