Recapping No. 14 MSU’s 5-3 win over Central Arkansas in the NCAA regional first round at Dudy Noble Field on Friday.
• The buzz: The Bulldogs (44-17) won a game that was filled some both poor and brilliant defense, while Kendall Graveman picked up his first win since April 13. MSU got some timely hitting, especially from the top five in the order. UCA (39-21) lost despite committing three fewer errors than State.
• Big inning: MSU scored three times in the sixth inning, which began with a Sam Frost leadoff walk. He eventually wound up at third with Demarcus Henderson on second, and Adam Frazier‘s groundout scored Frost for a 3-2 MSU lead. Then, with two outs, Alex Detz knocked in a run with an infield single, and Hunter Renfroe scored another when he laced a double past third base.
• Key stats: MSU turned two double plays – a lineout 1-5, and then an unusual 3-6-4 on a bunt, with Wes Rea fielding, throwing to third where shortstop Adam Frazier was covering, and then Frazier threw to first where second baseman Brett Pirtle was covering. … MSU committed four errors, but it’s 3-0 when making that many this year. … MSU was 5 of 9 with runners in scoring position, while UCA was 1 of 8. … Tonight’s attendance was 11,102.
• UCA at the plate: The Bears had five hits. … Michael Marietta had two hits. … Leadoff man Forrestt Allday was pretty well held in check, going 0 for 3 with two walks. … UCA scored once in the ninth and had the tying run at second, but closer Jonathan Holder got a fly ball to end it.
• MSU at the plate: The Bulldogs had 11 hits. … Detz was 3 for 3 with two runs and an RBI. … Pirtle had two hits, as did Rea, who also drove in two runs with a pair of RBI singles.
• UCA on the mound: Starter Caleb McClanahan (10-6) went 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (all earned) on 11 hits. He struck out none and walked two. … Blake Clayton worked the final 2 1/3 innings, allowing no runs on no hits with three strikeouts and zero walks.
• MSU on the mound: Graveman (6-5) went 6 1/3 innings, overcoming a tough early start. He gave up one run on four hits, fanned five and walked two. … Chad Girodo hurled 1 2/3 shutout innings, allowing one run and striking out the two batters he faced upon entering in the seventh. … Holder walked three batters in the ninth and let in a run on a wild pitch, but he also struck out two and earned his 17th save.
• Quotable: “The first inning they did a really good job taking marginal pitches. After that I just decided to try to shove it in on strike one and to see where it goes after that.” – Graveman
• Bottom line: MSU overcame some sloppy play, with those two double plays making a huge difference. Now the Bulldogs face South Alabama (43-18) at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, while UCA faces Mercer at 2:05. Coach John Cohen said he will start senior left-hander Luis Pollorena (6-3, 4.30 ERA) on the mound tomorrow.