Friday, May 21, 2004
» Box Score
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Down to its final out and facing post-season elimination, Miss. State scored four runs in the ninth inning to to claim an 11-9 come-from-behind win over the University of Alabama baseball team in front of paid crowd of 4,532 fans at Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Friday night.
MSU center fielder and eight-hole hitter Joseph Hunter slammed a three-run home run to left center field off Taylor Tankersley to give the Bulldogs a three-run lead and eliminate the Crimson Tide from SEC Tournament contention.
Hunter went 2-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBI to lead the Bulldogs to the win. Designated hitter Tyler Scarbrough led MSU with four hits in the win.
Catcher David Ferazza was Alabama's hitting star once again as went 3-for-5 with two RBI. Ferazza has had back-to-back three hit games for UA and is 9-for-12 in his last four games.
Both teams finished the game with 14 hits.
Miss. State (32-22, 11-17 SEC) remains alive for the final SEC post-season berth. Tennessee can dash those hopes with one more win over Florida in the next two days or with one Miss. State loss to Alabama. The Vols rallied to beat Florida 5-4 on Friday night in Knoxville.
Auburn blew a lead at Arkansas and fell 9-7 to the Razorbacks on Friday night. The Tigers wilL be eliminated from the SEC Tournament race with one more loss at Arkansas or a Tennessee win in Knoxville.
Hunter's three-run home run came one pitch after designated hitter Tyler Scarbrough singled home Brad Jones with the tying run. Alabama left fielder Mark Haske threw a strike to Ferazza at home for what looked like the final out of the game. Jones jarred the ball loose from Ferazza to score the tying run.
The MSU first baseman almost became the second Bulldog to be thrown out at home in the inning. Sophomore Brad Corley led off the inning with a walk and was later thrown out at home by second baseman Allen Rice on a ground ball by Craig Tatum against a drawn-in infield. Thomas Berkery flew out to Haske in left field for the second out of the inning as the junior made a spectacular diving catch down the left field line.
Tankersley (2-5) allowed three runs and three hits in the final inning for his fifth loss of the season. MSU reliever Saunders Ramsey (7-1), who blew a save of his own in the seventh inning, was credited for the win. He allowed two runs and four hits in 2 2/3 innings for his team-leading seventh win of the season.
Alabama (29-24, 10-18 SEC) almost pulled off a dramatic comeback of its own. The Crimson Tide scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take an 8-7 lead.
Ferazza's two-out, two-run double off the base of the wall in left field gave Alabama its only lead of the game.
Sophomore third baseman Evan Bush led off the inning with a base hit to right field and junior first baseman Zac Welch followed with a one-out single up the middle. After a pair of wild pitches by relief pitcher Jamie Gant to score Bush, freshman right fielder Michael McCallister drew a walk.
Gant was replaced after the two wild pitches and walk by Ramsey, the Bulldog's bullpen ace. Ramsey, who had six wins and four saves with a 1.96 ERA entering the game, gave a up a lead off single through the left side to senior DH Carlos Sosa as Welch scored to cut the deficit to 7-6.
After freshman shortstop Greg Paiml struck out for the second out of the inning, Ferazza delivered his third hit of the game, a double into the left field corner to score McCallister and Sosa to give Alabama an 8-7 lead.
The Tide held the lead until two outs in the ninth before Hunter's game-winning home run.
Miss. State took a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning against the Crimson Tide's ace left-hander Wade LeBlanc.
Jeffrey Rea drew a four-pitch walk to open the game and Jones slammed a two-out, two-run home run just to the right of the batter's eye in center field to give the Bulldogs the early lead.
MSU tacked on two more runs in the second inning to take a 4-0 lead against the Tide. Hunter reached on a fielder's choice and came around to score on Rea's double to left field. Jeff Butts, who drew a walk, scored on Steve Gendron's sacrifice fly to right field to put State up by four runs.
Bush put the Crimson Tide on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning with a solo home run to make it a 4-1 game. The solo home run was Bush's team-leading eighth of the season.
Alabama mounted a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth inning, but stranded the tying runs on base as Bush struck out to end the threat.
Paiml reached on a one-out error by Jones and first base and moved to second Ferazza's base hit to left field. Second baseman Allen Rice then popped up to Butts in shallow left field for the second out of the inning. Pinch-hitter Emeel Salem gave the Tide new life with a double down the left field line to score Paiml and send Ferazza to third. Bush then struck out on 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
MSU came back with three runs on five hits off LeBlanc in the top of the sixth inning to take a 7-2 lead. Scarbrough, Hunter and Butts opened the inning with three straight singles to load the bases.
Rea followed with his second run-scoring hit of the game as he singled to center to plate Scarbrough with the first run of the inning. Gendron lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Hunter and Brad Corley's base hit drove in Butts with the third run as MSU built a 7-2 lead.
LeBlanc allowed seven runs and 10 hits in six innings but was not involved in the decision. He also added seven strikeouts to run his season total to 98 strikeouts.
Alabama made another run in the bottom of the sixth inning scoring two runs on three hits to chase starter Alan Johnson, but left the bases loaded when reliever Brett Cleveland struck out Salem on a called third strike as UA left the tying runs on base.
Welch drew a one-out walk and McCallister followed with a two-run home run to cut the deficit to 7-4. Paiml and Ferazza followed with back-to-back two-out singles to chase Johnson and Rice drew a four-pitch walk from reliever Brett Cleveland load the bases before Salem took a called third strike to end another scoring threat.
The series continues on Saturday at 4 p.m. Andrew Walker (4-0) will make his first SEC start for the Crimson Tide. The Saturday game is also Andy Phillips Bobblehad Doll Day at the Joe for the first 1,000 fans in attendance.