STARKVILLE – Mississippi State has made many strides in 2016 by winning seven of its first eight Southeastern Conference series and is currently ranked fourth in the country.
But one aspect that had eluded the Bulldogs on their postseason resume had been an SEC sweep.
MSU was finally able to check that off the list on Saturday by securing a sweep with a 3-1 victory over Missouri.
“It says a lot about our team and how we’re progressing as the season goes along,” said MSU third baseman Gavin Collins. “We’re clearly getting better and cleaning up the little things we’ve done wrong. To get that sweep shows what we’ve been working so hard for.”
The Diamond Dogs slapped out 13 hits on Saturday, all singles, as they improved to 15-9 in league play and 33-14-1 overall.
Collins led the way going 3-for-4 with an RBI while Jack Kruger was 3-for-5. Brent Rooker and Nathaniel Lowe were each 2-for-4 with Rooker collecting the go-ahead RBI with two outs in the fifth inning.
Daniel Brown (3-2) earned the win in relief of Konnor Pilkington. Brown pitched four shutout frames with three hits and three strikeouts.
Brown combined with Reid Humphreys to retire the final 10 Tiger batters in order. Humphreys struck out the side in the ninth to earn his sixth save.
“We had really good pitching and threw a ton of strikes,” said MSU skipper John Cohen.
Missouri (24-25, 7-17 SEC) had eight hits paced by Brett Bond and Shane Benes, both going 2-for-4.
Michael Plassmeyer took the loss after allowing two runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings of relief and fell to 4-5.
The Diamond Dogs hope to take the momentum of the sweep onto the final road trip of the regular season traveling to Troy Wednesday at 6 p.m. en route to Auburn next weekend.
“Every one of these wins pads your resume,” Cohen said. “All these kids know what’s at stake in terms of the postseason. We have goals as a group and most of those goals are still intact and there aren’t a whole lot of teams that can say that. This group does and they want to achieve those goals.”