STARKVILLE – Jake Mangum admits to having never seen a certain 1986 blockbuster starring Tom Cruise.
But the Mississippi State center fielder played the role of “Maverick” during the eight-ranked Bulldogs' comeback win over Troy Tuesday on “Top Gun” night at Dudy Noble Field.
Mangum drove in three runs including the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth for a 10-8 victory. He finished the game 3 for 5 with three singles batting in the three hole for the first time since high school.
“When Jake Mangum is healthy, he has the best hand-eye coordination of anybody in America,” said MSU skipper Andy Cannizaro. “He gets hits. It doesn't matter if it's right-handed, left-handed, side- armers – it doesn't matter. So when they pitch around Brent Rooker, they're going to have to face him.”
Cannizaro plans to continue to use Mangum in that role while leading off with Ryan Gridley moving forward.
Things certainly weren't going the Diamond Dogs' way early on against Troy. The Trojans posted five runs in the third inning and three more in the fourth to take an 8-3 advantage.
State methodically began chipping away at the deficit with a pair of sacrifice flies by Gridley and Rooker in the fourth and tied things up with a two-run double by Rooker and an RBI single from Mangum in the sixth.
Mangum came through again in the eighth and Cody Brown added an RBI single for an insurance run to complete the Bulldogs' rally.
“That was our 22nd come-from-behind win,” Mangum said. “Some teams in college don't have that many wins total. We fight. This is a grind type of team and it's a lot of fun to play for them.”
Mississippi State (34-19) finished with a dozen hits with Rooker going 2 for 2 with a double and three RBIs. Brown and Gridley were both 2 for 4 with Brown knocking in three and Gridley one.
Trey Jolly pitched 2 1/3 perfect innings of relief to pick up the win and improve to 3-1.
“Trey did a tremendous job tonight of coming in and throwing strikes,” Cannizaro said. “He was throwing his breaking ball for strikes and working ahead in the count. His fastball was down in the zone. He did a great job and it was great to see him pitch like that. I though that was the best he's pitched since against Kentucky about a month ago.”
Riley Self came on to pitch a perfect ninth with a pair of strikeouts to earn his fourth save.
Troy (30-22) had seven hits and lost its first contest to a Southeastern Conference school this season in three tries.
MSU closes out the regular season at home against No. 10 LSU starting Thursday at 6 p.m. on SEC Network.