May 25, 2001
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Enrico Jones hit the game-winning single in the 10th inning to give Mississippi State a 9-8 victory over Kent State in the first game of the NCAA Baseball Columbus Regional in front of 1,194 at Bill Davis Stadium.
The Bulldogs move on to face the winner of the Ohio State-Delaware game at 3:35 p.m. Saturday. Kent State will face the loser of the second game at 12:05 Saturday.
Reliever Brandon Medders got the win for Mississippi State, going 1.2 innings of one-hit ball and giving up no runs. John VanBenschoten took the loss for the Golden Flashes. He gave up 2 runs, including one earned, on 1 hit in 1.1 innings.
Kent State starter Dustin Sampson went 8.0 innings, allowing eight hits and seven earned runs. He struck out nine MSU batters and allowed just two walks. Tanner Brock, MSU’s starter, pitched five innings, giving up nine hits and six earned runs.
Kent State took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Third baseman Phil LoCascio got on base with a walk. With two outs, designated hitter Brady Glass hit a homerun over the left-field wall to give the Golden Flashes the early lead.
The Bulldogs answered in the bottom of the inning, tallying four runs. Designated hitter Jon Knott got on base with a single and scored when first baseman Matthew Brinson followed with a double. Third baseman Steve Gendron then singled for MSU’s third hit of the inning. With two outs, centerfielder Casey Long put Sampson’s offering over the left field wall, driving home three runs.
In the top of the third, the Golden Flashes pulled within one, 4-3. Leftfielder Eric O’Brien opened the half-inning with a double off the top of the left field wall. He advanced to third on second baseman Chris Welsch’s groundout. First baseman VanBenschoten hit a sacrifice fly to plate the run.
Kent took the lead in the top of the fourth. Tom Martin led off the inning with a walk and advanced on LoCascio’s fielder’s choice. Pat O’Brien drove the ball over the left-field wall to put the Golden Flashes up, 5-4.
In the bottom of fifth, MSU second baseman Michael Brown led off the inning with a walk. He advanced on Phillip Willingham’s single and then crossed home plate when Burkley hit into a fielder’s choice. Leftfielder Josh West drove Burkley home with a double off the wall in center. The Bulldogs ended the inning up, 6-5.
The Golden Flashes pulled even in the top of the sixth inning. LoCascio started the inning with a double off the top of the right-field wall and Pat O’Brien followed with a single into short left field. Chris Young came in to relieve starter Brock. With Glass batting, LoCascio scored on a wild pitch. Glass flied out before Young walked Eric O’Brien and Welsch to load the bases. Wooten then came on to pitch to VanBenschoten with two outs. The Golden Flashes’ heavy hitter flew out to right field to end their rally and the inning.
Mississippi State got back in front, as Brown led off the MSU seventh with a home run to put the Bulldogs up, 7-6. The Bulldogs held the lead, retiring Kent in order in the top of the eighth.
The Golden Flashes tied the game and took the lead in the top of the ninth. Kent’s Eric O’Brien tied the game with a leadoff homerun on the first pitch of the inning. Welsch followed with a single. O’Brien stole second and then advanced to third when VanBenschoten grounded out. MSU pitcher Brandon Medders then relieved Wooten. The Golden Flashes’ Welsch crossed home plate following a Dave Mattle single. Medders struck out Martin and LoCascio to end the inning.
The Golden Flashes’ VanBenschoten moved from first base to the pitching mound to start MSU’s half of the ninth inning. With the Bulldogs down one, Goodson led off the inning with a groundout to shortstop. Brown then reached base on a fielding error by first baseman Tom Martin, who had just moved to the infield from right field to start the inning. VanBenschoten then walked Willingham and on the first pitch to Burkley, the runners advanced to second and third on a passed ball by catcher Pat O’Brien. The Golden Flashes intentionally walked Burkley to load the bases. West hit a sacrifice fly to plate Brown and tie the game at eight. With Lewis batting, the runners advanced on a wild pitch. VanBenschoten struck Lewis out to end the inning and send the game to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, Pat O’Brien led off for the inning with a fly-out to center. Chuck Moore, who came in to play right field in the ninth, struck out swinging and Detweiler was called out looking.
Brinson started the MSU half of the 10th inning with a walk. He moved to second on Gendron’s groundout. Kent intentionally walked Maniscallo to bring the double play into effect. Jones, in his only at-bat of the game, hit a single to left to give the Bulldogs the win, 9-8, as Brinson scored.
Kent State head coach Rick Rembielak
“I am very proud of our guys. They kept fighting in the game like they have for the past three or four weekends. We hung in there. We got behind the eight-ball, but we fought back. I’m not worried about them at all. I don’t think there’s anything I can say to them. They will take care of themselves.”
Mississippi State head coach Paul McMahon
“That was a heck of a college baseball game. I am proud of our effort and our will to compete. Kent State put forth a great effort. That’s what a regional tournament is all about.
His comments when the team was down in the late stages of the game…
“I told them to have the will to win. To put it on their shoulders and take the moment.”