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Friday May 5, 2006No. 21 Mississippi State Takes Opener Against Baseball, 6-2

Starkville, MS

No. 21 Mississippi State (32-15/10-11 SEC) staked senior Brooks Dunn to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and the left-hander registered a career-high 11 strikeouts in tossing his second-straight complete game as the Bulldogs handed Florida (24-24/6-16 SEC) a 6-2 loss on Friday night at Dudy Noble Field. Dunn (8-4) scattered eight hits and did not allow a walk in sending the Gators to their fifth loss in a row. The lefty permitted single runs in the fourth and eighth stanzas.

 

Sophomore Mitch Moreland cranked a three-run homer in the opening frame and junior Jeffrey Rea finished 2-for-3 with a pair of runs for MSU. Florida senior right-hander Bryan Ball (Punta Gorda, Fla.) (4-7, 5.45) will oppose sophomore southpaw Justin Pigott (4-0, 1.23) in tomorrow’s second game at 3 p.m. live on Sun Sports.

 

Mississippi State plated four runs on three hits in the first off sophomore Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.), highlighted by Moreland’s three-run blast. Rea led off with an infield hit and advanced to third on a one-out double by senior Thomas Berkery. Following a sacrifice fly into left by junior Brian LaNinfa that brought across Rea, junior Joseph McCaskill battled back from 0-2 count to draw a walk. Moreland then provided the Bulldogs with a 4-0 lead with his fifth round-tripper over the right-field fence.

 

In the bottom of the second, senior Brad Jones started things off with a double to left and advanced to third on a grounder by senior Jeff Butts. Rea’s second sacrifice fly of the campaign resulted in a 5-0 count for the hosts.

 

Florida put two runners aboard in the third against Dunn but could not push anything across. Junior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) began the frame by being hit by a pitch and junior Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) collected his second hit of the contest with a one-out single into right. After junior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) flew out to the warning track in center to move his teammates into scoring position, Dunn fanned junior David Cash (Odessa, Fla.).

 

Helped by a wild pitch, the Gators narrowed the gap to 5-1 in the fourth. With one down, junior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) singled into right and junior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) followed with his team-leading 10th double just inside of the right-field line. Dunn uncorked a wild pitch to enable Pride to score but the left-hander responded with a strikeout of sophomore Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) and had Petrie ground out to strand Leclerc on third.

 

A two-out RBI double in the seventh by LaNinfa put the Bulldogs ahead, 6-1. Rea and sophomore Edward Easley delivered consecutive one-out singles before Augenstein came through with a strikeout of the dangerous Berkery. After LaNinfa roped his eighth two-bagger to give MSU runners on second and third, Augenstein caught McCaskill looking for his seventh K. The right-hander (7.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 2 BB) worked at least seven innings for the 11th time in his 13 starts but fell to 8-5 with his second-straight defeat. Junior David Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.) threw a scoreless eighth with a pair of strikeouts for Florida.

 

Pride’s third hit, an RBI single with two down in the eighth, pulled the visitors within 6-2. Junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) punched a double to the wall in right center and Pride fisted a base-knock through the left side to drive in his 20th run. Both teams finished with eight hits, with Jeroloman and Pride leading UF with 3-for-4 efforts. The Gators stranded eight runners, compared to five for the Bulldogs.

 

Game Notes

  • Brian Jeroloman had his eighth multiple-hit game, while Austin Pride had his fourth.
  • Bryan Augenstein (8-5) has been involved in the decision in all 13 of his starts this year.
  • The Gators dipped to 2-8 on the road in SEC action.
  • Pat McMahon is now 10-4 against his former squad.

 

-UF-

 

 

 

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