HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Jacob Billingsley allowed one run in his first career complete game, Josh Lovelady highlighted a four-RBI performance with his first home run of the season, and Mississippi State beat Southern Miss 8-1 to force a winner-take-all game late Monday night in the NCAA tournament's Hattiesburg Regional.
Mississippi State (39-25) won a third straight game while facing elimination. The Bulldogs erupted for five runs in the third - four with two outs. One came on a balk by reliever J.C. Keys, who then gave up a three-run homer to Lovelady, making it 5-1.
MSU's Brent Rooker added a towering two-run homer toward center in the sixth.
Billingsley (2-3) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. He threw 124 pitches, scattered six hits and struck out five.
It was the first defeat in the regional for host Southern Miss (40-21), whose starter, Colt Smith (6-2), took the loss after leaving the game in the third.
The start of the game was delayed nearly five hours by rain.