Recapping No. 16 MSU’s 16-8 loss to No. 1 Vanderbilt in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium on Saturday.
• The buzz: Few teams have been able to figure out Vanderbilt this year, and MSU (43-17) is no exception. The Bulldogs have now lost four times in as many tries to the Commodores (51-8), who will face No. 2 LSU in Sunday’s championship game. Vandy used a seven-run second inning to set the tone in what has easily been the tournament’s highest-scoring game this year.
• Big inning: Vanderbilt got the second inning going when MSU shortstop Adam Frazier committed a fielding error. After a hit-by-pitch, Zander Wiel drove in a run with a single. Then Vince Conde doubled one home, and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch spelled the end of MSU starter Jacob Lindgren‘s day. A pair of sac flies and two more RBI singles made it a 7-0 game.
• Key stats: Vanderbilt turned two double plays. … MSU committed three errors, leading to five unearned runs. … Vandy was 11 of 23 with runners in scoring position; MSU was 4 of 11. … The Commodores stole four bases.
• Vanderbilt at the plate: The Commodores had 19 hits. … Four players had three hits, including Wiel and Gregor, both of whom had three RBIs. … Vanderbilt added five runs in the fifth for a 13-4 lead.
• MSU at the plate: MSU had 14 hits, the 10th straight game it’s recorded double-digit hits. … Hunter Renfroe had three hits and two RBIs. … Frazier had two hits, and so he finished this week 11 of 22.
• Vanderbilt on the mound: Starter T.J. Pecoraro (4-1) was charged with seven runs (all earned) on 10 hits in six innings of work. He had no strikeouts and walked one. … Jared Miller worked the final three innings and was credited with a save. He allowed one run on four hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
• MSU on the mound: Lindgren (4-3) lasted one-plus inning, barely longer than his previous outing against Vandy, when he went just two-thirds of an inning during a regular-season meeting. He was charged with six runs – three earned – on two hits with two strikeouts and a walk. … State used six relievers, including Daryl Norris and Evan Mitchell. Norris allowed three runs on six hits in three innings, while Mitchell worked one inning, walking his first two batters before striking out the side.
• Quotable: “I thought offensively we took really good swings today and kept putting together innings. But we didn’t put 17 on the board, which is what it was going to take today.” – MSU coach John Cohen
• Bottom line: MSU won’t be able to defend its tournament title, but a little extra rest before the NCAA regionals can’t hurt. Now the Bulldogs await Sunday’s announcement of the 16 regional hosts, and there’s a good chance they’ll be one of those teams. On the whole, MSU has played very well of late, but starting pitching has to be a big concern heading into the NCAA’s.