Gilbert went 5-for-5 at the plate with four extra base hits, including a pair of triples and two doubles. His bid to tie the school record with six hits in the game came up short as he was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning.
Senior James Farris (W, 3-1) was strong on the mound with eight-plus innings of work to earn the victory. The right-hander racked up seven strikeouts and scattered eight hits while allowing only three runs. He attempted to finish off a complete game, but two singles to open the ninth ended that bid.
Arizona (7-7) struggled mightily in key situations during its losing streak, but a two-out rally in the first inning set the tone for a breakout night. Kevin Newman’s double was followed by Gilbert’s run-scoring triple, and Zach Gibbons added a second RBI hit to put the Wildcats on top, 2-0.
Mississippi State (11-6), which dropped the opening game of the tournament to UC Santa Barbara, 8-3, Friday afternoon, cut into UA’s early lead with a run in the second inning.
But it was all Arizona the rest of the way beginning with an RBI single from Gilbert in the third inning to re-extend the lead to two runs.
In the fourth inning, the Wildcats mounted yet another two-out rally. Scott Kingery singled with two outs, then Cody Ramer walked and Newman was hit by a pitch. Gilbert cleared the bases with a three-run double to right field.
The two-out scoring was a theme as the Wildcats outscored the Bulldogs 6-0 in two-out RBI. It was a refreshing turnaround for Arizona, which had been outscored 12-0 in such situations over the last five contests.
The Wildcats kept their foot on the gas pedal with three more runs in the sixth inning sparked by Gilbert’s second double of the night. He scored on Bobby Dalbec’s single and Willie Calhoun added an RBI single of his, before Joseph Maggi knocked in a run with a groundout.
An inning later, Gilbert’s second triple of the evening drove in Newman, and Gibbons later plated Gilbert for a second run.
The Arizona scoring was capped in the eighth on Newman’s RBI single, before Gilbert was hit in his final plate appearance.
Bulldogs starter Brandon Woodruff (L, 1-2) tossed 4.1 innings and was charged for six runs on eight hits. He struck out four and walked four, before turning the game over to Austin Sexton and Vance Tatum the rest of the way.
Sexton allowed five runs on seven hits in 2.0 innings, and Tatum surrendered one run on two hits.
Mississippi State scored its final two runs in the top of the ninth when Tyler Parmenter relieved Farris with runners on the corners. Parmenter threw a wild pitch and walked two batters in the frame, but tallied a strikeout in his full inning of work.
The Hi Corbett Classic continues with two more games Saturday. Mississippi State takes on UC Santa Barbara at 2 p.m. (MST), before the Wildcats play the Gauchos at 7 p.m.