HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Needing to win four games in two days to win a regional tournament, Mississippi State is halfway there.
No. 2 seed MSU hit three home runs and used a solid pitching outing from Denver McQuary and Peyton Plumlee to put away No. 3 seed South Alabama 7-3 Sunday night in the Hattiesburg Regional at Pete Taylor Park.
After being rained out Saturday, MSU hit the diamond Sunday morning knowing it would have to win four times over two days. Sunday started out on the right foot as Konnor Pilkington was brilliant in MSU's 5-4 win against fourth-seeded Illinois-Chicago.
"Denver and Peyton both attacked the strike zone," head coach Andy Cannizaro said. "South Alabama is very athletic. We made them swing at our pitches with two strikes in the count. It was an excellent team win. At the plate, we got into advantage counts and took advantage. This team keeps battling."
Against South Alabama, the Bulldogs got strong pitching performance from McQuary and Plumlee. McQuary (3-3) allowed two hits and two runs (both earned) over five innings of work, with three strikeouts and five walks.
Plumlee entered with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and got a huge double play ball to snuff that threat for the Jaguars. Plumlee allowed two hits and one run (earned) over four innings of work, with five strikeouts and a walk to earn his first save.
MSU erased a 1-0 deficit with five runs on five hits in the third inning. A two-run home run by Hunter Stovall - his second of the year - gave the Bulldogs the lead for good at 2-1. After a walk to Brent Rooker and single by Ryan Gridley, Cody Brown hit a three-run shot - his eighth of the year.
South Alabama (40-21) scored in the second and fourth innings on solo home runs by first baseman Wells Davis. The Jaguars scored their final run in the eighth inning.
The Bulldogs got insurance scores in the eighth inning on a ground ball out by Hunter Vansau with the bases loaded and in the ninth inning on Cole Gordon's third home run of the season on the first pitch he saw as a pinch hitter.
After collecting 14 hits against UIC, MSU collected 12 more against South Alabama. Gridley and Brown each had three hits, while Stovall had two hits.
Andy Arguelles (3-3) took the loss for the Jaguars. Davis and Paul Russo each had two hits for the Jaguars, who finished with four hits.
State will now turn around and play host Southern Miss on Sunday at Pete Taylor Park, with first pitch set for 1 p.m. CT. To claim the Hattiesburg Regional crown, MSU will have to defeat the Golden Eagles twice, which means after a win at 1 p.m., MSU would take on USM at 6 p.m. CT with a spot in the Super Regional round at stake.
Every game of the Hattiesburg Regional will air live on ESPN3, which can be streamed through the WatchESPN app, ESPN app and WatchESPN.com. All of MSU's games in the will air live on the Mississippi State Baseball Radio Network. They will also be on TuneIn Radio and will be audio streamed live online at HailState.com/Plus.
Tickets for the Hattiesburg Regional are sold out, but some remaining tickets may be made available two hours prior to first pitch of each game at the Pete Taylor Park ticket office.
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