COLLEGE BASEBALL

By School reports

Diamond Dogs rally in the ninth to claim season opener from URI
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State’s Luke Adkins ripped a game-winning single in the bottom half of the ninth inning, capping the Bulldogs’ 9-8 comeback win over Rhode Island Friday afternoon in a season-opening college baseball game.

A Dudy Noble Field crowd of 2,490 watched the Bulldogs kick off the 2010 ledger with a wild victory on an unusually mild afternoon. Temperatures remained in the 50s and skies were clear as the Bulldogs clawed back from a 7-3 deficit and also overcame five errors.

“We did everything defensively to lose the game,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “Offensively, I liked what we were doing. I like what we can do on defense too. However, we need to loosen up. For the past few days, we have been stiff.

“One of the biggest positives is that we never stop competing.”

In the MSU ninth inning, Ryan Duffy battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a leadoff walk. After a pickoff attempt went awry, URI reliever Dan Johnson also walked Wes Thigpen on a 3-2 pitch. A sacrifice-bunt by Jonathan Ogden advanced the runners. An intentional walk to Jaron Shepherd loaded the bases.

After a flyout, Ryan Collins hit a chopper on the infield grass, beating that contact out for an infield single. That hit scored Trey Johnson, who was pinch running for Duffy. Adkins followed with his no-doubt smash past a shallow outfield, scoring Thigpen with the game-winner.

Adkins had a team-best three hits for the Bulldogs. Collins also had a two hits and a team-best three RBIs. Connor Powers, Thigpen and Nick Vickerson each had multiple hits.

The news was not as good for sophomore left-hander Nick Routt. The Bulldogs’ staff ace a year ago, Routt only lasted three innings, allowing seven hits and six runs (four earned). Caleb Reed followed in relief, working a career-best five innings with a career-best seven strikeouts. Greg Houston worked a perfect ninth inning to garner the win.

For Rhode Island, Zoey Angulo and Oliver Palmer each had three hits. Mike LeBel also had multiple hits for the Rams. The top three spots in the URI lineup had eight of the squad’s 13 hits.

A two-run single by Rob DeVeney highlighted a five-run third inning for the Rams.

The Bulldogs slowly battled back with the gap finally being closed with two-run seventh and ninth innings.

The teams resume their weekend series with a 2 p.m. start Saturday. Freshman right-hander Chris Stratton is expected to make draw his first Bulldog start in that contest. The series concludes with a 1:30 p.m. first pitch Sunday.

Rebels fall to ULM 6-5 on opening day
OXFORD, Miss. – Relief pitching proved to be a deciding factor on opening day in Oxford on Friday as relief pitchers took the decisions for both teams on Friday with the Ole Miss (0-1) falling to Louisiana-Monroe (1-0) by a score of 6-5.

It was the first season-opening loss for the Rebels since the 1981 season when Ole Miss fell to Livingston by a score of 8-6.

Rory McKean (0-1) suffered the loss in relief as he allowed four runs on four hits with a walk in 0.1 innings of work. McKean entered the game to open the fifth to relieve starter Drew Pomeranz who turned in 4.0 innings of work and allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Stefan Comeaux (1-0) picked up the win for the Warhawks in relief of starter Drew Garnier, who turned in 4.1 innings of work. Comeaux allowed one run on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in 1.1 innings of work. Garnier allowed four runs on five hits with a walk in five strikeouts in his first start for Louisiana-Monroe.

Matt Tracy and Brett Huber were solid in relief for the Rebels from there, however, holding the Warhawks scoreless over the final 4.2 innings as the pair combined to allow only two hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

“I didn’t think we played that poorly,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “Matt Tracy played very well. He was good on the mound and didn’t walk anybody. They got Pomeranz out in the fourth inning. Their guy was only at forty-eight pitches at that point. He pitched well. They didn’t give us any opportunities so we had to earn them. There were some tough at bats where we made some errors and had some walks. The difference was we gave them that big inning and we didn’t get one back.”

Louisiana-Monroe scored in the top of the first, plating a run on a fielding error at third base with the bases loaded and two outs. A leadoff single from Boomer Blanchard opened the game before Pomeranz struck out Jordy Poche. Nick Wade then walked to put two men on base. Pomeranz struck out Matt Laird for the second out, but a catcher’s interference call with Josh Chappell at the plate loaded the bases.

A fielding error at third on a ground ball from Perry Smith plated the first run for the Warhawks. Kelvin York then grounded out to the pitcher to get the Rebels out of the inning down 1-0.

Ole Miss answered in the second inning when David Phillips came up with a two-out double and then scored on a single from Tanner Mathis to even things at one.

The Warhawks rallied in the third to push back on top 2-1 with a single run off a triple from Laird that scored Poche from first. Poche reached on a lead-off single.

Kevin Mort knotted things at two in the bottom half of the frame, scoring when Zach Miller was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs. Mort opened the Rebel half of the inning with a single and took second when Miles Hamblin drew a walk. Both runners advanced when Matt Smith was then hit by a pitch to load the bases before Mort scored on the Miller RBI.

Louisiana-Monroe then used a lead-off walk to put Laird on before McKean would get Chappell to ground out. The Warhawks then used four straight hits – including a double and a triple – to put together a four run inning that gave the visitors a 6-2 lead.

Matt Smith belted out a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth to cut the score to 6-4 before Phillips hit a solo shot in the sixth to cut the lead to one at 6-5. Ole Miss would get no closer, however, as the Rebels were unable to come up with a final rally down the stretch.

The two teams will face-off again in the second game of the series at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.

USM wins opener

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The No. 21 ranked Southern Miss baseball team opened the 2010 season with an 11-0 victory over Northwestern State Friday evening at Pete Taylor Park behind an offensive explosion and stellar performances on the mound by Todd McInnis and Seth Hester.

“I thought we played every phase of the game the way we are supposed to play them tonight. We ran the bases, handled the bat, played defense and pitched,” head coach Scott Berry said. “Our pitching threw extremely well tonight and it started with Todd (McInnis) setting the tone and Seth (Hester) finishing it off over the final three innings.”

McInnis showed why he was selected a preseason All-American and C-USA Preseason Pitcher of the Year tonight as he completely dominated Northwestern over six innings.

Through the first five and two-thirds he only allowed one base runner, a hit batter, before surrendering his only hit with two outs in the sixth inning. He struck out nine Demon hitters and walked none.

Hester finished off the game with three innings of one hit ball while striking out one, picking up his first career save.

The Southern Miss offense game them plenty of support as well. Adam Doleac led the charge with a two-run home run, two-RBI triple and a sacrifice fly.

Kameron Brunty Joey Archer and B.A. Vollmuth each added in three hits a piece, in fact every Southern Miss starter had at least one hit in the game.

The Southern Miss offense found their stride in the bottom of the first inning putting together a two-out rally started by a Kameron Brunty single. Joey Archer followed with a RBI double before B.A. Vollmuth flared a soft single down the right field line to score Archer.

Adam Doleac capped the innings two-out rally with his first career home run, a two-run shot over the left field wall to give the Golden Eagles a 4-0 lead.

The Golden Eagles added two more runs in the fifth on a two-RBI triple by Adam Doleac to make the score 6-0.

The run onslaught continued in the sixth as Southern Miss sent 10 batters to the plate scoring five runs. Tyler Koelling executed a perfect hit and run after a Travis Graves single to put runners on the corners.

Marc Bourgeois picked up his first career RBI on a sacrifice fly to score Graves. Brunty continued the rally with a RBI double and Archer Followed with a two-RBI single to make the score 10-0.

Doleac knocked in his fifth run of the game on a sacrifice fly to complete the frame and make the score 11-0.

The two teams will face off in game two of the series Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at “The Pete.”