June 4, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 2 seed Mississippi State advanced to Super Regionals with a 9-4 win over No. 1 seed Florida State Sunday night in Game Six of the 2007 NCAA Division I Baseball Tallahassee Regional at Dick Howser Stadium. The Bulldogs, who were a perfect 3-0 in the regional, improved to 36-20 on the season and will face the winner of the Myrtle Beach Regional. The Seminoles, who lost at home for just the sixth time this season, concluded the year with a 49-13 mark.
After one full inning of play, there were three hits between the two teams and they were all home runs. Jack Rye’s two-out, two-run home run over the right field fence in the top of the first inning gave the Seminoles the early 2-0 lead. The blast scored Buster Posey who reached base on a walk. The Seminoles’ lead, however, was short-lived as the Bulldogs ripped two home runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Brandon Turner recorded just his second home run of the season with a two-run homer to left which scored leadoff batter Jeffrey Rea who had started off the inning with a walk. Two strikeouts later, Mississippi State’s Brian LaNinfa went the other way with a solo blast over the right field fence, giving the Bulldogs a 3-2 advantage.
The Seminoles tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the third inning. With one out, Tony Thomas, Jr., doubled to right center and stole third base. He scored on Mark Hallberg’s base hit to left and the score was even, dead even. Each team had three runs and three hits.
Whenever Florida State scored, however, Mississippi State answered and did so in a big way with three runs in the bottom of the third inning. This inning, however, the Bulldogs got some help from Seminole pitcher Danny Rosen. With two out and no one on base, MSU’s Mitch Moreland reached first base when he was hit by a Rosen pitch. LaNinfa drew a walk and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Rosen then hit Joseph McCaskill to load the bases. Russ Sneed and Wyn Diggs followed with base hits. Sneed’s base hit scored both Moreland and LaNinfa. Rosen fell behind on Jet Butler with three straight balls and with a full count, Butler singled back at Rosen and the ball deflected off the pitcher’s mound, scoring McCaskill. It was then that FSU made a pitching change bringing in Matt Fairel who earned the win in FSU’s victory over Bethune-Cookman Friday night. Fairel struck out Rea to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Bulldogs extended their lead to 7-3. With one out, Edward Easley singled to left and went on to score on a double to deep center by Moreland. Mississippi State’s defense was also in top form. In the top of the fifth, Thomas was robbed of a hit as LaNinfa, the Bulldogs’ first baseman, made a dramatic catch jumping high in the air.
Rye refused to let the Seminoles go down without a fight and drilled another home run over the right field fence in the top of the sixth inning. It was Rye’s second home run of the game and 10th of the season and marked the first time this season that he recorded multiple home runs in a game. He pulled the Seminoles within three runs at 7-4.
Mississippi State replaced starting pitcher Josh Johnson after six innings with Ricky Bowen and the Seminoles had something going in the top of the seventh. With one out, Brandon Reichert singled and Thomas followed with walk but the Bulldogs’ defense responded. Hallberg hit the ball to deep right and it went just foul but Moreland, MSU’s right fielder, made a sliding catch for the out. Posey walked to load the bases and Rye, the potential go ahead run, was up to bat. Despite to good cracks at the ball, which went foul, Rye grounded out to second to end the Seminole rally.
The Seminoles didn’t manage any hits in the final two innings while the Bulldogs put their final two runs on the board in the eighth. With one out, Rea, Turner and Easley each singled to load the bases and then Moreland followed suit with a single through the right side, driving in both Rea and Turner.
Mississippi State’s starting pitcher, Josh Johnson, improved to 3-3 with the win. He went six innings and had six strikeouts. Rosen’s record fell to 2-2.