March 1, 2009
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- Cold weather has never bothered Connor Powers very much.
While playing at Benet Academy in Napersville, Ill., Powers had to play some games in nippy conditions.
With temperatures in the 40s and a wind chill even lower than that, Powers was hot at the plate to lead the Mississippi State Bulldogs to a 10-8 victory against the Nicholls State Colonels in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
"I love this weather," Powers said with a laugh. "You can''t let it bother you. I think I have an advantage over some of the other kids just because I''m from Chicago. This is really not cold at all. I checked the weather at home today and it was like 18 (degrees). I''m used to it."
Powers drove in a career-high six runs with a three-run homer in the first inning, a two-run double in the second and a solo homer in the sixth. It was the fourth multi-homer game for Powers.
He also drove in the first run of the second game as Mississippi State (7-1) won the nightcap 6-3.
"RBIs don''t happen unless your teammates get on base in front of you," Powers said. "They did a really good job of that and I got some pitches to hit in those situations."
The Bulldogs built a 7-0 lead after the first two innings mainly because of Powers'' bat.
"Connor is really in rhythm and even he''s even hitting baseballs hard to the pull side," Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. "He''s really started to see it well."
Even though Nicholls State closed the gap to 8-4 in the fourth, 9-7 in the fifth and 10-8 in the seventh, it could not generate enough momentum to take the lead.
Along with the offense from Powers, Russ Sneed also homered and had two singles for the Bulldogs in the 11-hit attack, while Jet Butler had two singles, Ryan Collins had a double, and Scott DeLoach and Ryan Powers had one single each.
Michael Busby, the third of four pitchers for the Bulldogs, won his first decision of the season. Ricky Bowen, Caleb Reed and Greg Houston also took the mound for MSU.
Bowen only lasted 3 1/3 innings in a starting role and gave up three earned runs on two hits with two walks, hit two batters and four strikeouts.
n MSU 6, Nicholls 3: Freshman Nick Routt went six innings and did not allow an earned run in his second-ever start for the Bulldogs.
Routt (2-0) said the fastball and changeup were working best for him.
"I thought I did pretty good considering the weather," Routt said. "I tried to stay warm and it was fine."
Senior Chad Crosswhite worked the final three innings and did not give up a run for his second save of the season.
Although disappointed that his team was two plays away from earning a shutout in the second game, Cohen knew it was tough to perform in the blustery conditions.
Mississippi State committed three errors.
"It''s all about toughness because when you have a 20-minute inning and you are standing out there with no activity defensively, you''ve got to be tough mentally," Cohen said.
Offensively, the Bulldogs had three hits from Nick Hardy and Connor Powers.
Mississippi State and Nicholls attempt to complete the series today. The Bulldogs are expected to send Tyler Whitney to the mound for the 1:30 p.m. start.