No. 8 Mississippi State heads into weekend SEC play off an offensive explosion like the Bulldogs haven’t seen in years.     

They batted around in three different innings during its 21-8 victory over Louisiana Monroe on Wednesday.

The Diamond Dogs scored seven runs in the first frame, 10 in the fourth and four more in the sixth to stay perfect in midweek play this season. It was the most runs MSU has scored in a game since plating 27 against Alcorn State on April 20, 2010.

“I just thought that first inning really set the tone for us all night long,” said MSU skipper Chris Lemonis. “We had some really good at bats there in the first.”

Mississippi State (25-5) will try to stay hot as it travels to Tennessee for a three-game series starting Friday at 5:30 p.m. The Bulldogs are tied for fifth in the SEC West at 5-4 with Ole Miss after losing its first SEC series of the young sesaon last weekend at home to LSU.

Texas A&M is first at 6-2-1, followed by Auburn, Arkansas and LSU at 6-3. Tennessee is 3-6 in league play.

Tennessee (22-8) improved to 8-1 in midweek games this season with a 6-2 win over Belmont on Tuesday. The Vols outscored their opponents 69-19 in those games.

All three UT-MSU games will be streamed online via SEC Network+ and the ESPN/WatchESPN apps. UT is 3-6 in league play.

On Wednesday, the Bulldogs  stacked up 19 hits in the contest led by Jake Mangum’s 5-for-6 performance that included a triple, three RBIs and a stolen base. It was the fourth time in Mangum’s career that he has had a five-hit game.

“Jake was Jake tonight,” Lemonis said. “It was just another five-hit night.”

Mangum now has 333 career hits which moves him within two of tying Jeffrey Rea’s school record and is 19 shy of tying LSU’s Eddy Furniss’ mark for the most in SEC history. Mangum currently sits sixth in that category.

Joining Mangum in the hit parade on Wednesday were Brad Cumbest going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and Dustin Skelton going 2-for-3 with a first inning grand slam and finishing with six runs batted in.

Rowdey Jordan and Elijah MacNamee were both 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs apiece while Justin Foscue was 2-for-5 with two singles. Tanner Allen also added an opening inning home run following Skelton’s bases-clearing blast.

ULM had 11 hits on the night and dropped to 11-18 on the year. Warhawks starter Cole Martin (0-3) gave up six runs in the first inning and failed to record an out.

nOle Miss:  Just when it began to look like the Rebels were going to turn things around, Tuesday happened. Playing one of the worst teams in the nation, Ole Miss failed to get anything going, losing to North Alabama 10-6.

“There isn’t a message. We were really bad today,” said head coach Mike Bianco. “Credit to North Alabama, they played really well. It’s a team that’s struggled offensively and we gave up 10 runs and 14 hits. Just a bad day.”

Ole Miss got four of its six runs in the third and fourth off of two RBIs from Greenwood native Thomas Dillard.

Ole Miss stays home this weekend for the first time in two weeks, taking on No. 21 Florida.

The Gators (21-10) are 5-4 in the SEC and are coming off a weekend sweep of Alabama and have won five straight since losing three games to Vanderbilt.

    

nContact Bill Burrus at 581-7237 or bburrus@gwcommonwealth.com.

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