March 1, 2008
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Air Force baseball team pulled off one the biggest victories in school history with a 6-4 win over Mississippi State in the second game of the doubleheader, Saturday, March 1, at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville, Miss. MSU won the first game, 3-1.
Mississippi State opened the season ranked 23rd in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll. The Bulldogs played in the College World Series last season and have been to 23 NCAA Regionals in the last 28 years.
In the first game, Justin Pigott pitched seven innings of four-hit baseball to lead Mississippi State past Air Force 3-1 before a crowd of 2,828. Pigott (2-0) threw 97 pitches in seven innings of work. The senior left-hander struck out nine batters for a second straight start. Pigott allowed one run (earned) and only walked two batters. Aaron Weatherford recorded five strikeouts in two innings of relief, earning his second save.
M-State (3-3) scored single runs in the first, second and sixth innings. The Bulldogs scored on a fielding error in the first inning. Russ Sneed had an RBI single in the second inning. Jason Nappi homered in a second straight game with a solo shot in the sixth inning. The Bulldogs bunched together 13 hits but failed to expand the lead, thanks in part to four Air Force double plays.
Nappi finished with a team-best three hits. Mark Goforth, Tyler Moore, Ryan Collins and Sneed also had multiple hits. Nappi and Sneed have hit safely in all six MSU games this season.
Alex Truesdale (0-1) took the loss for Air Force (2-4). Truesdale allowed 12 hits and three runs (two earned) in seven innings of work. Brad Pingel pitched the eighth inning for AFA. Matt Alexander had two hits to pace the Falcons' four hit-attack.
In the second contest, Air Force scored three runs in the third inning for a 3-1 lead. Jake Allen led off the inning with an infield single and Nathan Carter followed with a double to left-center to score Allen. After Chay Derbigny was hit by pitch, Matt Alexander drove in two with a two-out double down the left-field line. AFA manufactured a run in the fifth for a 4-1 lead. Carter led off the inning with a single up the middle and took second on a sacrifice bunt by K.J. Randhawa. After stealing third in double steal with Derbigny, Carter scored on Addison Gentry's ground out. Air Force built a 5-1 lead in the sixth when Ben Ausbun doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Parker Mayo's bunt. MSU scored two runs in the seventh inning, and tacked on another in the eighth, but failed to force the tie. Air Force plated an insurance run in the ninth inning to put the contest away. Allen tripled and scored on Randhawa's bunt.
Chad Crosswhite (0-1) pitched 4-1/3 innings and took the loss. He allowed five hits and four runs (all earned), with two walks and five strikeouts. Nathan Carter and Jake Allen each had a pair of hits for Air Force, which totaled eight hits in the game. Brad Pingel (1-0) pitched three and two-thirds innings in middle relief to garner the win for the Falcons. Jake Petro pitched the final inning, working around a pair of hits to earn his first save. The Falcons turned seven double plays in the game, including three in the 6-4 win.
MSU and Air Force complete their three-game weekend series with a 1:30 p.m. CT start Sunday. The only broadcast available for Sunday's contest will be a free audio stream through Maroon to the Max, mstateathletics.com's premium streaming service. The audio stream will be free of charge to the general public and can be accessed by visiting M2M's Live Events page at start time and clicking on the associated audio icon. Fans are not required to register for M2M to access the stream.