Starkville, Miss. - Mississippi State jumped out to an early lead and held on to win 7-4 Friday night in the series opener at Dudy Noble Field.
The Bulldogs (19-11, 4-6) came out swinging in the first, scoring two runs to claim an early lead. A leadoff single by Adam Frazier and walk to Tyler Fullerton came back to cost Vanderbilt (12-18, 3-7) starter Kevin Ziomek. After coaxing a pair of outs, Ziomek allowed a two-run single to Wes Rea to put the home team ahead. The Commodores scratched out a run in the third with a two-out RBI-single from Anthony Gomez. However, Mississippi State rallied for four runs in the third to take a commanding lead. Four Bulldog hits led by Sam Frost's two-double did the damage.
Vanderbilt climbed back into the game in the sixth scoring three runs. Riley Reynolds' two-out, two-run single capped the rally after Spencer Navin's RBI-double started the three-run inning. The Bulldogs tabbed closer Caleb Reed to pitch the final three innings with the right-hander turning in three scoreless innings for his seventh save of the season. Kemp and Gomez each had two hits to lead the Dores. Rea led the Bulldogs with two hits and three RBI.
Mississippi State starter Chris Stratton (7-0) earned the win with six innings of work allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits with six strikeouts. Ziomek (2-5) was pinned with the loss after giving up four runs on five hits and two walks in two-plus innings. Freshmen Jared Miller and Brian Miller combined for four innings of solid relief. Brian Miller tossed three innings allowing one run on two hits with four strikeouts.
The Commodores return to action tomorrow afternoon at Mississippi State. Freshman Tyler Beede (1-3) gets the nod for the Dores against Bulldogs' right-hander Kendall Graveman (2-0). First pitch is slated for 2 p.m.