Picayune’s Pigott pitches well on national stage

Published 10:19 pm Saturday, June 16, 2007

Picayune’s Justin Pigott gave his Mississippi State Bulldogs a chance to win against one of the best college baseball teams in the nation on Friday night in the opening day of the College World Series.

The Bulldogs couldn’t quite pull it off, however.

Pigott, a junior southpaw, took a 4-2 lead into the sixth inning and watched as his infield made a crucial error that could have resulted in an inning-ending double play as third-ranked North Carolina rallied for an 8-5 win in Rosenblatt Stadium.

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The Tar Heels sent 11 batters to the plate against Pigott and two relievers. A fielding error by third baseman Russ Sneed allowed the first run to score. After Johnson tied it, John Lalor hit Reid Fronk with a pitch with the bases loaded to force in the go-ahead run.

Tim Federoff’s sacrifice fly and Dustin Ackley’s two-run single gave North Carolina a four-run lead.

“Big innings will kill you when you have a good pitching staff that you’re trying to fend off,” Bulldogs coach Ron Polk said.

Things might not have spun out of control for the Bulldogs if Sneed had been able to handle the hard, two-bounce grounder Seth Williams sent his way.

“Make that play, and we maybe win the ballgame,” Polk said.

The loss was the first in the NCAA Tournament for Pigott, who had won three straight games over the past two years. He is 7-7 on the season.

Pigott thought his first ever performance in the CWS had its ups and downs

“My changeup was good at times and my slider was good at times,” he said. “I tried to get ahead and I feel I could have gotten ahead more. Just getting behind in the count and then they got runs early and that made a difference.”

Unless the Bulldogs rally for at least a win or two in the next few days, Pigott may have seen his last action of the season for the Bulldogs.