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May 29, 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State advanced to tomorrows Regional Championship game with a 6-3 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs (41-20) before 3,994 at Bill Davis Stadium on Saturday. OSUs record runs to 48-12 while MSU drops to 41-20.

The Bulldogs will now play Nebraska Saturday night with the winner playing Ohio State Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Should Ohio State win, they will advance to the Super Regionals, which take place June 4-6. If Ohio State loses Sunday, a second contest will take place Sunday at 4:05 p.m. The Buckeyes drew first blood, scoring once in the top of the second. Jason Turner and Jason Driscoll singled back-to-back to lead off the inning. Matt Middleton then loaded the bases when he dragged a bunt single along the third base line. One out later, Trent McIlvain hit a sacrifice fly to medium-deep right field, scoring Turner to make the score 1-0.

OSU tacked on two more in its half of the third. Tom Durant led off with an infield single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Jason Trott advanced Durant to third with a groundout, Chad Ehrnsberger belted his 15th home run of the season, a high towering drive over the wall in left. After three innings, the Buckeyes led 3-0.

The Ohio State lead increased to 5-0 in the fourth. Joe Wilkins got things started with a double down the right field line. One out later, Mike Lockwood tripled to right center, scoring Wilkins. Tom Durant followed that with a double into the left centerfield gap, scoring Lockwood.

Mississippi State sliced into the lead in the sixth when Chris Curry hit a home run over the wall in right centerfield. After six innings, the score was 5-1 OSU.

The Buckeyes got that run right back in their half of the seventh, however. Turner singled to start the inning. One out later, Middleton slapped a hit-and-run single to left field sending Turner to third. After Middleton stole second, Wilkins lifted a deep fly ball to center that scored Turner to make the score 6-1.

MSU cut the lead to 6-3 in the seventh. Ty Martin led off the inning by reaching on an error. One out later, Cliff Wren singled to put runners on the corners. A balk by Laratta brought home Martin and moved Wren to second. With two outs, Jamie Rock hit a sharp single into left-center, knocking home Wren.

E.J. Laratta went the distance to pick up the win, his 10th of the year. It marked the first time Laratta has pitched a nine inning complete game in his career. Hank Thoms took the loss. The win marks the first time since 1967 that Ohio State has won its first two games of a Regional. That year, the Buckeyes advanced to the College World Series. Sundays game will be the first time OSU will play for a Regional Championship since 1993.

Tickets for Sundays game will go on sale at 11:30 a.m. at Bill Davis Stadium. A ticket for the 1:05 p.m. game is also good for the 4:05 p.m. game if it is necessary.

1999 NCAA Baseball Tournament, Columbus Regional