Five-Run First Gives MSU Baseball Series Finale

LSU's Tyler Hanover
LSU's Tyler Hanover
Hilary Scheinuk
Bill Franques
Bill Franques
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE, La. - Right-hander Kendall Graveman scattered 10 hits over nine innings Sunday and No. 21 Mississippi State erupted for five runs in the first inning to post a 7-1 victory over 10th-ranked LSU in Alex Box Stadium.

The win allowed Mississippi State (15-7, 1-2 SEC) to salvage Game 3 of the weekend series. LSU, which defeated the Bulldogs on Friday and Saturday, dropped to 16-4 overall and 2-1 in conference play. The SEC series win was the sixth straight for LSU over Mississippi State.

The Tigers return to action at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday when they play host to Southern in Alex Box Stadium.

Graveman (2-0) limited the Tigers to one run on 10 hits in earning the complete-game victory. He walked three and did not record a strikeout while firing 106 pitches.

The Bulldogs struck for five runs on five hits in the first inning against freshman right-hander Aaron Nola (3-1), who was making his first career SEC start. Mississippi State collected four doubles in the inning to highlight the uprising.

Nola, however, allowed just one unearned run over his final five innings of work. He was charged with six runs (five earned) on seven hits in six innings with one walk and six strikeouts.

"I can't say enough about the way Aaron Nola refused to give up and he continued to compete at a high level after that tough first inning," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "He demonstrated to me why he's going to be a tremendous pitcher for us with the poise he showed after the rough start."

The Bulldogs increased their lead to 6-0 in the sixth when rightfielder Demarcus Henderson singled, moved to second on an error, advanced to third on a walk and scored on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Adam Frazier.

LSU scored its lone run in the bottom of the sixth when second baseman JaCoby Jones scored from third base on catcher Ty Ross' RBI groundout.

First baseman Wes Rea's solo homer in the eighth accounted for the final margin.

"We had 10 hits today," said Mainieri, "but they weren't the timely hits we had in the first two games this weekend. I told our players after the game that our level of hitting is going to have to improve. You give credit to the opposing pitcher, but at some point we have to take it upon ourselves to generate offense and produce runs."

Mississippi State 7, LSU 1 (Mar 18, 2012 at Baton Rouge, La.)

Mississippi State... 500 001 010  -  7  9  0      (15-7, 1-2 SEC)
LSU...................... 000 001 000  -  1 10  3      (16-4, 2-1 SEC)

Pitchers: Mississippi State - Kendall Graveman and Mitch Slauter.
LSU - Aaron Nola; Kurt McCune (7); Joey Bourgeois(9) and Ty Ross; Jordy Snikeris.
Win-Kendall Graveman(2-0)  Loss-Aaron Nola(3-1)  T-2:13  A-10610
HR MSTATE - Wes Rea (2).
Actual Attendance: 6,424




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