KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Nick Vickerson’s three-run double highlighted a five-run fifth inning as Mississippi State defeated Tennessee 16-5 Friday night in a SEC baseball series opener at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Bulldogs (27-18, 9-13 SEC) improved to 3-5 in league series-openers this season as they pounded out 15 hits for their biggest scoring effort in a 2011 SEC game.
“We took great swings tonight,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “That is the third game in a row where we have swung the bats like that. It’s a good start to the weekend for us.”
It was the sixth loss in a row for Tennessee (22-21, 5-17). The last four losses have seen the winning team score in double figures.
Game 2 is today at 3 p.m. CDT.
Making his first career start, Luis Pollorena (6-3) picked up the win. The sophomore left-hander threw 51⁄3 innings, scattering 11 hits and allowing five runs (all earned). Caleb Reed entered in relief and worked the Bulldogs out a tight spot in the sixth inning. Devin Jones threw the ninth inning.
The Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead in the first on a two-out single by Brent Brownlee but were tied at 2 heading into the fifth. They broke the game open with five runs in the fifth and piled on with six more in the seventh.
Vickerson finished 3 for 6 with a career-high five RBIs and two runs scored. C.T. Bradford (1 for 4), Jarrod Parks (3 for 4) and Brownlee (2 for 6) each drove in a pair of runs.
“We were trying to be aggressive early in the count,” Vickerson said. “Our team as a whole had a good plan at the plate. We did a good job of executing it.”
Both teams finished with 15 hits. Tennessee stranded 14, while MSU left eight men on base.
Tennessee’s Khayyan Norfork and Josh Liles each went 4 for 5. Steven Gruver (6-3) started and took the loss for the Vols.
MSU is scheduled to start junior left-hander Nick Routt (0-2, 3.81 ERA) today, while Tennessee will start sophomore right-hander Nick Blount (1-2, 5.57).