BATON ROUGE, La. - Second baseman JaCoby Jones' bases-loaded single drove home the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning as No. 10 LSU rallied to defeat No. 21 Mississippi State in Alex Box Stadium.
LSU, which has won 10 of its last 11 games, improved to 15-3 overall, 1-0 in Southeastern Conference play. Mississippi State dropped to 14-6 overall and 0-1 in conference action.
The teams meet in Game 2 of the series at 6 p.m. Saturday in Alex Box Stadium. Sophomore right-hander Ryan Eades will pitch for LSU, while Mississippi State will counter with junior left-hander Nick Routt.
"I told our players the we can expect that type of game every night in the SEC," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We play 30 games in the league, so we may have 29 more just like tonight's game. The SEC is so competitive and every game is tight and intense; the team that gets the big hit or makes the big pitch at the critical point in the game is the team that's going to win."
Catcher Mitch Slauter's two-out solo homer in the top of the 10th inning gave Mississippi State a 2-1 lead, but the Tigers rebounded for two runs in the bottom of the frame to earn the victory.
LSU third baseman Tyler Hanover led off the 10th with a single against MSU reliever Caleb Reed, and he was sacrificed to second base by catcher Ty Ross. Designated hitter Grant Dozar ripped a double to right field to score Hanover with the tying run.
Arby Fields was inserted as a pinch runner for Dozar, and he moved to third when Reed fired a wild pitch while intentionally walking pinch hitter Tyler Moore. Reed also intentionally walked centerfielder Chris Sciambra before Jones delivered a single into center field to score Fields with the winning run.
Reed (0-3) was charged with the loss as he surrendered two runs on three hits in 0.2 inning with two walks and no strikeouts. LSU reliever Nick Goody (1-0), who gave up Slauter's homer in the top of the 10th, picked up the win with one strikeout in one inning of work.
Starting pitchers Kevin Gausman of LSU and Chris Stratton of Mississippi State were both brilliant on the mound. Gausman threw 122 pitches over 8.2 innings, limiting the Bulldogs to one run on four hits with four walks and a career-high 11 strikeouts.
Stratton fired 137 pitches over 8.2 innings, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and a career-best 17 strikeouts.
"The starting pitchers for both teams were phenomenal," Mainieri said. "I couldn't be prouder of Kevin Gausman and the courage he showed on the mound. His development and work ethic have been tremendous, and it showed in tonight's game."
LSU opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when Sciambra drew a lead-off walk and scored on Jones' doubles.
Mississippi State tied the game in the top of the second when centerfielder Hunter Renfroe doubled and scored on leftfielder Tyler Fullerton's single.
The game remained knotted at 1-1 until the 10th inning. The contest marked LSU's first extra-inning game since June 4, 2010 when the Tigers defeated UC Irvine, 11-10, in 11 innings in the NCAA Los Angeles Regional.
LSU 3, Mississippi State 2 (Mar 16, 2012 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Mississippi State... 010 000 000 1 - 2 5 0 (14-6, 0-1 SEC)
LSU...................... 100 000 000 2 - 3 7 1 (15-3, 1-0 SEC)
Pitchers: Mississippi State - Chris Stratton; Caleb Reed(9) and Mitch Slauter.
LSU -Kevin Gausman; Nick Rumbelow(9); Nick Goody(10) and Ty Ross.
Win-Nick Goody(1-0) Loss-Caleb Reed(0-3) T-2:54 A-10830
HR MSTATE - Mitch Slauter (1).
Actual Attendance: 7,072