June 5, 2004
ATLANTA – Joseph Hunter went 3-for-4, with three runs batted in to lead third-seeded Mississippi State (35-23) to a come back victory over fourth-seeded Jacksonville State (31-29), 7-6, at the NCAA Atlanta Regional on Saturday afternoon in Russ Chandler Stadium. The Bulldogs used a five-run seventh inning and held off a late charge by the Gamecocks to advance to the semifinals of the elimination bracket later tonight.
MSU’s Jeff Lacher (5-6) held the Bulldogs in the game, throwing 8 2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits, six runs, four earned runs and struck out two. Left-handed pitcher Brooks Dunn tallied his second save of the season for the Bulldogs, recording the final out in the ninth inning.
JSU’s Robby Goodson connected on his 16th home run of the season in the bottom of the first inning to give the Gamecocks an early 1-0 lead.
Hunter hit his third home run of the season to left field to tie the game at 1-1 in the fifth inning. JSU’s Austin Stein did not allow the game to be tied for very long as he sent his 13th home run of the season over the right field wall in the bottom half of the fifth inning to put the Gamecocks out in front, 3-1.
In the top of the seventh inning, Hunter singled through the box to score two runs and tie the game, then teammate Thomas Berkery doubled to center field to give MSU its first lead, 4-3. With two outs in the inning, Jeffrey Rea doubled to left-center field to plate two more runs as the Bulldogs took a 6-3 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Scott Smith brought the Gamecocks within striking distance with his ninth home run of the season as the deficit was cut to two, 6-4. Jake Ball followed with an infield single, but Lacher induced a pop out to center field to end the inning as the game headed to the ninth inning with MSU leading by two.
MSU’s Jeff Butts put the Bulldogs up by three for the second time in the ballgame with a double to the left-center field gap in the top of the ninth inning to plate Berkery who reached on a walk as MSU led 7-4.
The Gamecocks’ Goodson homered the second time in the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs to bring Jacksonville State within one, 7-6. Dunn entered the game for the Bulldogs and closed it out with a ground out to second base.
Butts finished with the game-winning RBI for the Bulldogs, ending the game 1-for-4 with a run scored. Brad Corley finished 2-for-3 with a run scored to lead MSU offensively.
Goodson homered (17) twice on the afternoon for Jacksonville State, finishing 2-for-3, with three runs batted in. Haskins, Smith and Ball all ended the game 2-for-4 for the Gamecocks. Right-handed pitcher C.R. Palmer (9-6) was the hard-luck loser for JSU, throwing 6 1/3 innings, allowing three hits, four earned runs and fanned four.
The third-seeded Bulldogs will await the loser of top-seeded Georgia Tech and second-seeded Texas Tech later tonight. The semifinals of the elimination bracket will start at 7 p.m.
Line Score R-H-E-------------------------MSU 0-0-0-0-1-0-5-0-1 7-8-2JSU 1-0-0-0-2-0-0-1-0 6-10-0-------------------------